Paul Pastor (Writer and Author)

Paul J. Pastor had no idea what he wanted to do when he began his freshman year, but his passion for God’s Word had instinctively led him to Multnomah.

“I craved fuel for my imagination,” said Pastor, MU’s 2014 Distinguished Young Alumni Award Winner. “The Scriptures fuel, inform and ground you like nothing else can.”

Now the 2008 graduate is informing and challenging countless Christians through his gift of writing. Pastor is associate editor of Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal, an iconic magazine for pastors and ministry leaders. He’s also the editor of PARSE, Leadership Journal’s blog, which provides insight and analysis on ministry and culture.

Although PARSE made its debut in January 2014, it’s already attracted strong attention, including being listed as one of the top 10 ministry blogs in the world by the industry standard list.

“That was a pleasant surprise!” Pastor said. “But my personal metric of success? Simply to highlight stories, conversations and resources that I'm personally intrigued by. If we publish content that’s interesting, good for the soul and a little out of the norm, I think we've succeeded as a publication.”

‘Someone who wants to make the world a different place’

Pastor’s job requires a heavy dose of artistry, and he credits MU with cultivating his vision.

“Multnomah is great for a creative person; someone who wants to make the world a different place,” he said.

And Pastor is making the world a different place, one article at a time. Boiled down, his job is about stories — finding ones that matter, crafting them well and convincing people to read them.

“I work to tell stories that challenge the way we currently think about things and pull our hearts toward the margins, where I’m convinced Jesus spends most of his time,” he said.

Pastor lives in his hometown of Portland, Ore., but the search for good stories has taken him to Israel, Palestine and all across the U.S. He’s sat in offices, churches, pubs, coffee shops, art galleries, auditoriums, living rooms and hotel ballrooms.

“I’ve talked with anonymous sources, big-name pastors, rural ministers, authors, culture-makers, church planters, professors, musicians, artists, missionaries, parents, global evangelists, abolitionists, entrepreneurs, the failed, the successful, the wise, the foolish and various combinations of all of the above,” he said. “I love it.”

‘A pen instead of a pulpit’

Pastor will officially accept the Distinguished Young Alumni of the Year Award during a special chapel, hosted in the JCA, on October 21 at 10 a.m. Michelle Peel-Underwood, Multnomah’s director of alumni relations, said Pastor’s passion for the Lord and love for the Word are key reasons he was selected.

“Paul’s journey has been awe-inspiring,” Underwood said. “He lives intentionally, depends upon the Lord and carries insight into how the truths of Scripture inform our daily living.”

Pastor said he’s deeply honored to receive the recognition.

“This award is an affirmation of the path I've chosen and an encouragement that my work is making a difference,” he said. “As a student, I had a professor and mentor, Domani Pothen, say she thought my calling was to ‘steward God's Word for God's people.’ This confirms that I'm discovering what that means for my life — I’m just stewarding the Word with a pen instead of a pulpit.”