Interim Senior Pastor Steve Schibsted

Interim Senior Pastor

First Pres welcomed Rev. Dr. Steve Schibsted, as our Interim Senior Pastor in June 2017. An announcement letter from Session was emailed to the congregation on May 12, 2017. As Interim, Steve will provide pivotal leadership to the church, staff and Session during this transition period as we prepare to call a permanent Senior Pastor. 

Steve is an ordained PC(USA) pastor with more than twenty years of experience working in large, multi-staff churches. Born and raised in Southern California, Steve grew up in a non-Christian home and came to faith in junior high. His first connection to the PC(USA) came when he worked as a youth intern in Santa Barbara. This early ministry experience later led to leadership roles in youth ministries at Mount Hermon and the Director of Youth Ministries in Pleasanton, CA.

Steve received his Master’s in Divinity in 1991 from Princeton Theological Seminary and was ordained shortly thereafter. He then served as Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship at the First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame until he accepted a call to become the Senior Pastor of Bidwell Memorial Church in Chico, CA where he served for 17 years. During his tenure at Bidwell, he led the church through a season of tremendous growth and change. Worship attendance grew from 250 to nearly 1,000, membership grew from 400 to greater than 1,600, and the annual budget increased from $300,000 to $2 million. Steve also oversaw two capital campaigns, raising funds to renovate and expand Bidwell’s facilities. New ministries were initiated both inside and outside of the church, including the launch of a new worship service—held in an old theater—designed to reach out to college students and young adults.

In 2015, sensing a call to a new season in ministry, Steve accepted the role of Senior Pastor at San Clemente Presbyterian Church. While at San Clemente he helped the church navigate through denominational and organizational challenges into a newfound place of stability and thriving.

Steve holds a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. He enjoys cycling and gardening and is known around the Schibsted home for his skill on the BBQ. Unfortunately, he is a die-hard and lifelong Lakers and Dodgers fan. However, on the positive side and due to Leslie’s influence, he has become an ardent Cal football supporter. He and his wife Leslie have two young-adult children, Drew and Allie.

Letter from Steve to the Congregation

May 12, 2017

Dear First Pres,

My heart is filled with joy, excitement and some healthy trepidation as I look forward to my tenure as your Interim Senior Pastor! My head is still spinning over the events of the last couple of months which have brought us to this place. However, I am confident that it is God’s call for me to serve First Pres in this position; I couldn’t be more thrilled with the opportunity. I am eager to get right to work and do what I can to help accomplish all that the Session has outlined for this interim period.

You will learn more about me in the coming months, but I already know so much about you. I have respected the ministry of First Pres for many years, especially your strong and faithful witness in the greater Bay Area. My wife Leslie and I have had numerous connections with First Pres. She attended First Pres during her years as a UC Berkeley student and is very excited about reconnecting with old friends. When I was a youth pastor in Pleasanton we often had joint events with the youth group from First Pres. And I have a number of friends who served on your pastoral and program staff who speak of their years at First Pres with great affection. In addition, I have scoured your website, poured over many documents and spent many hours with your wonderful Interim Senior Pastor Search Team. It will be a privilege to partner with you in ministry.

Our move to Berkeley also marks a new beginning for Leslie as she was recently hired as Assistant Dean of Development and Alumni at the Haas School of Business.Between now and when Leslie and I begin our new jobs on June 19, we will travel to Spokane, Washington to celebrate our daughter’s graduation from Whitworth University and bring her and all her belongings back to California. On the way down to Southern California, we hope to join you at the All Church Conference. We will then wrap-up our life in San Clemente and move up to the Bay Area. Both Leslie and I have lived in the Berkeley area and are so excited to once again enjoy one of our favorite places!

Walking with God is a wonderful adventure, one which is full of surprises and good gifts. I look forward to living the adventure together.

With gratitude and anticipation,

Steve Schibsted