New Seal Beach Church Pastor Aims to Reach All Residents

Steve Williams, who will be installed Jan. 13, also hopes to restart the church's food bank program.

It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor; Steve Williams says he has something you need.

The 63-year-old Long Beach resident - who will be installed as senior pastor at Grace Community Church of Seal Beach on Sunday – hopes to reach out to all members of the community in the new year.

For Williams, a 1971 graduate of Cal State Dominguez hills, one of the challenges of being a minister in Seal Beach is showing relatively affluent citizens they still need Jesus.

"People (here) are pretty much self-sufficient,” Williams said. “Generally speaking, they have what they need. And so people a lot of time don’t focus on their spiritual need. ... People may have a nice house and a nice car and there’s nothing wrong with that stuff. (But) they still have a spiritual void.”

Williams said he’s also hoping to help those who have material needs.

As senior pastor, he plans to continue the ministries of Grace Church – which has been in Seal Beach since the '40s --  including building houses for the poor in Mexico, supporting Precious Lamb Preschool, a preschool for homeless children and families, and the Long Beach Rescue Mission.

In the coming year, he also hopes to restart a ministry that ended -- the church’s food bank.

“There are people in Leisure World living on a fixed income that don’t always have enough to go around," Williams said. 

He added that people in some local service jobs who are “not really doing all that well” could also benefit from some free food.

Williams was voted into the position by the congregation Dec. 9 and was selected to fill the spot of former pastor Donald Shoemaker, who retired as senior pastor in January 2012.

Williams has been serving as an interim senior pastor since then.

Williams says in 2013, they’re planning to do a complete remodel of the children’s ministry area.  

“It’s kind of in need of a makeover,” Williams said.

Williams completed his master of divinity degree at Talbot School of Theology in 1996 and became an associate pastor of the church that same year.

In 2010 he received his doctorate from Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, IN.

How will he reach out to those who don’t share his faith?

Williams said he can show them reasons to believe, but thinks the best way to reach people is bringing them into the community and letting them “experience genuine Christian community and love.”

“I’m not against defending the faith … (but) a life that’s well-lived as a Christian is a much stronger apologetic than some philosophical discussion,” Williams said.

Grace Community Church was organized as “First Brethren Church” in Seal Beach in the early 1940s, and is affiliated with the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

Williams will be installed as the new senior pastor during a 6:30 p.m. service Jan. 13.

The service will take place at 138 8th St. in Old Town.

Williams Facts

Family: Wife Trish, daughter Elizabeth and son John

Age: 63

Hobbies: Surfing in San Onofre, keeping tropical fish and creating stained glass art.

Words to live by:  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. "

Bob Wriedt January 14, 2013 at 07:07 AM
Thanks for the article on Pastor Steve. But the names of his kids are wrong here (I think those are his grandkid's names). His daughter is Elizabeth and son is John.
John Crandall January 14, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Hey Bob you were totally right. When adding the fact from my notes, I accidentally added the grandchildren's names instead of Steve Williams's children. I've fixed it. Thanks so much for the heads up.


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