LPC Director of Development Tom Sasser spends his time “advancing the dreams of Life Pacific College” and enjoys living the dream. Interview by: Rod Light
LPC Director of Development Tom Sasser is living the dream. He spends his time “advancing the dreams of Life Pacific College” and wakes up each day anticipating that every conversation will be an opportunity to make history in some small way.
Tom is responsible for building strong relationships on behalf of LPC with alumni, corporations, businesses, and the community. “Nearly every day I meet with individuals who deeply desire to leverage what God has entrusted to them to advance the Kingdom,” he says.
His history with LPC goes back to his days growing up in a Foursquare church. Tom selected LPC for his undergraduate studies and he is convinced that his education as a LIFE student prepared him well for ministry and Christian service in the marketplace.
We asked Tom about his personal experience as a student, alum, and now staff and supporter of Life Pacific College.
LPC: Tell us how you chose LPC for your undergraduate studies.
TOM: I had a deep sense of calling to ministry from a very young age and as a Foursquare kid, LIFE Bible College was the place to go. So many of my mentors and nearly all of the spiritual leaders I looked up to at that time had been educated at LIFE.
There was so much I did not know, but I was confident that an education at LIFE would prepare me to be well prepared for a life of ministry. Dr. Van Cleave, Dr. Amstutz, Dr. Eno, Dr. Furlong, and Dr. Middlebrook were the theologians of our movement. The opportunity to study under them was an unbelievable opportunity. LIFE Bible College was simply the best possible choice for me.
LPC: Describe your professional and ministry experience since graduation.
TOM: That is an interesting question. I hold a much different perspective on the word “ministry” today than I did as a young adult in my collegiate years. Today I understand ministry as a “vocation,” not simply a job or title.
My vocation is tied to the depth of my soul and I will forever pastor regardless of what I do to make a living. That being said, the last 30 years have been spent serving in both the pastorate and in various roles in the business community. I have had the privilege to serve with some of the most amazing people in these three decades and believe that every transition has prepared me for what I do today.
Today I spend my days advancing the dreams of Life Pacific College and the students that attend here by developing strategic partnerships with donor and friends of the college. Nearly every day I meet with individuals who deeply desire to leverage what God has entrusted to them to advance the Kingdom. It is an honor to walk alongside these individuals as we discover how the mission of Life Pacific College might be a part of what God is calling them to.
LPC: Summarize a few of the ways LPC has prepared you for life.
TOM: I believe there are two ways to look at the goal of a higher education. The first is that education prepares you to enter the work world prepared to make a significant contribution and to provide for yourself and a family if you should have one. The second is, that a good education should prepare you for life as a whole.
LIFE did both for me.
I was definitely equipped to serve the local church by my studies. Furthermore, the focus on personal discipleship among likeminded Christians was an amazing incubator for personal growth in my life with Jesus. I have had the privilege of continuing my education in both business and theology. This opportunity has definitely expanded my skill set, but nothing more completely wrecked me for Jesus like those early years at LIFE. I will forever draw upon the experiences and lessons I learned as a student in Echo Park.
LPC: Share some of the reasons you enjoy working with donors and alumni.
TOM: As the Director of Development I wake up each day with a belief that every conversation I have is an opportunity to make history in some small way. Our college has witnessed some glorious moves of God, we have educated some amazing leaders and God has used our graduates to shape the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Over the past 90 plus years this institution has experienced what I call historical pivot points.
In these seasons of time our leaders have navigated the change necessary to ensure that we continued to be a vital part of God’s mission of grace. I believe we are in one of those seasons today and I am thrilled to be a part of it. My dream is to expand our network of partners in such a way that finance is never an obstacle to giving our very best to our students and the calling God has placed on their lives.
LPC: Why do you believe LPC is a worthy investment?
TOM: Leadership is key to every advance in every sector of society and life. This assumption is supported in the scriptures repeatedly. In each instance when God wants to do something in his people and the world around them he calls a leader to execute his plan.
In the next decade 60% of our pastors will reach retirement age. If Bill Hybels is correct when he says, “the local church is the hope of the world,” then we have some work to do. The work that LPC is doing is essential to the future of our Church. In each of our churches the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed and demonstrated.
Each of us have been graced with gifts, time and resources that we are called to steward and I believe that LPC is a worthy investment of those things God has entrusted to us.
Interviewed by Rod Light, M.A., an ordained Foursquare minister, LPC adjunct professor, and Communications Coordinator for Foursquare Missions International.