Welcome  Jake Putich!

After Mike Ball stepped down in August as Director of Student Ministries and Brooke Larson so admirably and successfully stepped up during the interim, the search committee for the position has been diligently working to find the next person to spiritually lead and guide our youth. While the COVID-19 pandemic may have moved our meetings and interviews to Zoom, it did not stop us from finding an exceptional candidate in Jake Putich. Jake has the experience and personality to build and grow our youth ministry, as well as create our campus ministry with nearby colleges and the college students in our congregation. The search committee was unanimously impressed and truly believe he is a one-in-a-million candidate; while the pandemic brings a lot of uncertainty, we knew if we waited until things returned to normal it was unlikely we would find someone of his expertise and character again. We are delighted Personnel and Session agreed that while our timing may not be perfect, God’s timing always is.

 

Jake feels particularly called to youth ministry; as a teenager, he became involved in a large youth program after having been raised without a strong church connection and truly began to feel at home in church. He knows how important formation is in youth ministry, actively working to make sure his programs grow and develop faith in Christ as opposed to only being “fun” without substance. Jake believes Gen Z feels the weight of the world’s problems on their shoulders, and enjoys creating the bridge between their faith and the social issues facing them. His ministry focuses on the whole family, equipping parents as well as youth to grapple with issues of faith. 

As Canon for Young Adult & Family Ministry at St. John’s Episcopal Church, he worked closely with USC to grow a compline service that regularly attracted 40-50 attendees, as well as hosted a regular theology social hour. He holds a M.A. in Theology from Talbot and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen; in 2018 his paper “Apocalyptic Convivence” was presented to the Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Social Analysis program at the American Academy of Religion. He and his wife Nikki have a 4.5 year old daughter Liora, who keeps them busy and entertained.


While it may be awhile before we are able to worship together in person, there is still much to be done! Jake will work with Brooke to begin meeting families and students, both in groups and individually. Online Sunday School and social activities will continue, and there will be future opportunities for our church family to get to know Jake. We remain very grateful to Brooke, who has done an exceptional job leading our youth in the interim; Jake starts with a much stronger program due to her leadership.


Thank you for your prayers and patience during this search; we are excited to begin this new chapter of youth ministry at WPC starting Monday, May 4.