"One of the greatest privileges of being a pastor is that we are invited into the personal lives of the people we serve at very private, often very intimate moments. Joining the family circle for births and deaths, weddings and funerals, anniversaries and other celebrations, means that we not only represent the church, but are ambassadors for Christ as well. Even in larger congregations, most ministry begins on a very personal level.”
As both a pastor and professor, the Rev. 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 congregations in Vail, Iowa and Worthington, Minnesota.
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.
“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 full-time pastoral service now, practicing what I have been teaching 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 two adult children, Tyler and Jason. Jaimie works as the circulation supervisor at the University of Dubuque Library. They also have an 8 year old granddaughter, Jenny, who effectively runs the household, and a lively golden retriever named Brinkley.