Pastor turns in badge for Bible

Will Sawkins

Morgan Hill’s Community Christian Church (305 W. Main Ave.) is a
young church that is already making an impact on local residents.
Will Sawkins, the new associate pastor who joined the staff in
September, will surely increase the effectiveness of the church’s
ministry due to his extensive experience in two widely different
fields.
Morgan Hill’s Community Christian Church (305 W. Main Ave.) is a young church that is already making an impact on local residents. Will Sawkins, the new associate pastor who joined the staff in September, will surely increase the effectiveness of the church’s ministry due to his extensive experience in two widely different fields.

Pastor Sawkins grew up in South San Jose, graduating from Leland High School. His parents were both involved in Christian ministry. As a youngster he learned from his father, the senior pastor of South Valley Christian Church (which merged in 2007 with Los Gatos Christian Church to form Venture Christian Church, one of the largest congregations in Silicon Valley).

Coming from a clergy family, it’s not surprising that Sawkins would become a minister, but two events occurred when he was an 11th-grader that led him to recognize God’s call:

– While riding with some friends in the back of a pick-up truck on the back roads of Morgan Hill one rainy night, Will was flipped out of the truck bed and only avoided serious injury by grabbing the tail gate at the last instant.

– That summer he fell 30 feet into two feet of water while climbing in Kings Canyon and walked away with only minor injuries.

After this he asked himself why God spared him from serious injury or death and what his purpose should be, he decided that he wanted to be a Christian influence in the lives of young people.

Sawkins took general education classes at community colleges in the San Jose area while working part-time. In 2000 he graduated from San Jose Christian College with a bachelor of science in Bible theology and youth ministry and joined the staff of South Valley Christian Church, first as an intern and then as youth pastor.

He continued serving that congregation for 12 years, ministering to hundreds of teens who passed through the programs he was responsible for. One of the aspects he most enjoyed was seeing teens gain an independent faith, practicing their Christianity because of their own conscious decisions rather than through family traditions.

As a pastor, he had contact with many families where a parent was in law enforcement. He saw they were good people who brought their faith into difficult but important jobs. In 2008 Sawkins began thinking about a law enforcement career for himself. When he saw an advertisement for the San Jose Police Department, he decided to take the written and physical exams for admission to the police academy with no special preparation, leaving the results to God’s will.

He passed both, and within six months entered the academy, becoming a sworn officer and serving for two and a half years until he was recently laid-off due to the city’s budget problems.

Pastor Will sees similarities between his work as a policeman and as a pastor:

– Both deal with people in crisis

– Both can involve “hard conversations” with people handling difficult issues

– Both deal with applying Biblical principals to real-world situations.

Sawkins found skills developed in the ministry useful in defusing critical situations. For example, when a hostage crisis resulted in the suspect being shot with a stun gun, Sawkins was able to comfort the suspect’s teen daughter and get her statement. Another time a 17-year old drunk punched him during an arrest, but Sawkins’ calm reaction ended the confrontation with no additional violence and an apology from the teen.

Pastor Will is enjoying his ministry at Community Christian and hopes the youth programs will become a blessing to all the city’s families. For information about Sunday School and other youth opportunities call the church at (408) 779-4914.

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