Scott McGinnis, a former counselor at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, found himself back at his old stomping grounds in Glendale this spring, nearly 30 years after attending the Grandview Presbyterian Church's Children's Center Preschool.
Standing inside the sanctuary in front of an assembly of people, including friends and family, McGinnis was ordained and installed as the newest pastor of the church, with which he had established a connection when he was a child.
It was the proud culmination of a process that began eight months prior, he said, when he first preached during a service at Grandview in October. After submitting a resume to the church in January, he received word April 18 that the church officials had chosen him as pastor. Since his installment, the reverend has enjoyed every moment in his new position, he said.
"Being a children's center alumni and having grown up in the church, I really like Grandview's vision to have a church family to be a part of and raise their kids," McGinnis said. "I help with the preschool chapel. Pastor Scott the kids call me. It's been fun to see friends from high school and reconnect with them and their kids in the program. It's fun to be available as their pastor."
McGinnis said he always thought God had something special planned for him. After his schooling in Glendale, McGinnis studied history at UC Santa Barbara. He then taught English in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in Central Asia before deciding it was time to respond to God's calling and attend Regent College in Vancouver. There he earned his master of divinity with an emphasis on church history in spring 2000.
McGinnis felt Regent College helped him prepare to serve God not only in the church, but also in the marketplace. After graduating, the new alumnus joined the team at Dudley & Associates, a national executive search firm that works in a variety of industries.
The company had a vision to help people get to the next step in their careers, which fit into McGinnis' plan to serve God's people. From summer 2005 to winter 2008, McGinnis went from assisting part time in Pasadena to leading a research department and teaching consulting assignments from start to finish with the firm.
It was a job McGinnis called demanding but rewarding.
"So many people thanked me," he said. "One person would thank me for the job, and I'd make a lot of other relationships. I enjoy helping people and their families. With the next job in their careers, they're providing for their families too."
Following his stint with Dudley & Associates, McGinnis moved on to Vanguard University of Southern California, a religious college in the shadow of the Orange County Fairgrounds.
At Vanguard, he continued to help other career-minded individuals. As a graduate admissions counselor, McGinnis got a chance to work with college students and help them achieve their dreams after school.
Although he said he enjoyed his job as a counselor, McGinnis was looking for a chance to preach in fall 2009. And when he got the opportunity at Grandview in October, he immediately became interested in the church's vacant pastor position.
"I always appreciated Grandview and grew up just a few blocks away," he said. "[The pastor position] presented a wonderful opportunity to equip people to use gifts at Grandview in the marketplace, school, higher education or at home. I want to encourage them to equip people to serve God or use their gifts wherever they're at."
The goal became a reality in May, and McGinnis celebrated his ordainment with the church's congregation both during the service and afterward at the worship concert featuring live music by James Beauregard. A musician in high school, McGinnis has worked hard to get more concerts at Grandview and said he is always trying to find ways to promote fun with the children in the church.
McGinnis' main goal, however, is to keep the strong community growing at Grandview, which has continued for 85 years. He wants to continue to develop church families and Sunday families, so they can enjoy the same childhood he had in Glendale in the '70s.
"The enjoyment I had of having a church family [while] growing up and seeing my friends' parents' model the same values that my parents had and values I now have. To see that modeled in a church family is my desire at Grandview," McGinnis said. "We have fantastic people here that have been teachers in the schools and worked in all the businesses. They want to see this be in some ways a church for their grandkids or neighborhood kids to be a part of."