As both a pastor and professor, the Reverend Dr. Richard J. Shaffer Jr. has had a lifelong passion for serving Jesus Christ and for helping others to discover how they can more deeply follow in faith. Known as Skip to everyone who has known him for at least five minutes, he is a graduate of Drake University and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Following seminary, he served as pastor of a 250 member congregation in Vail, Iowa and as Head of Staff of a 550 member church in Worthington, Minnesota. He grew up in the Presbyterian Church and was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in 1988.
After 17 years as a pastor, Skip was invited to serve as Associate Dean and Assistant Professor of Ministry at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, where he had the opportunity to share his pastoral experience with men and women who were learning to become leaders in the church. He has taught classes in Reformed worship, clergy ethics, and evangelism and mission, as well as several other ministry subjects. His responsibilities at the seminary also included serving as Director of Distance Education and Technology, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, and Director of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning.
Skip states “I am a pastor by call and at heart and have been an academic lately only by God’s great sense of humor. I feel a strong calling to return to full-time pastoral service now, practicing what I have been preaching for these past 12 years, and am extremely grateful to find a congregation in OPC that so closely matches my own sense of mission and faith.”
Skip and his wife, Jaimie, have been married for 32 years. They have two adult children; Tyler, who is a microbiologist, and Hannah, who is Director of Youth and Family Ministries at a United Methodist church in Dubuque. They also have an 8 year old granddaughter, Jenny, and a 3 year old golden retriever named Brinkley.