Who Is the Undercover Pastor?

Undercover Pastor

Undercover pastor?  Seriously? OK, I admit it. I mostly picked the name because it sounded cool. It’s not that often that I’m really undercover, but I find that the experiences I have had as a pastor and the training that led me to there have a significant effect on the way I see the world. “Pastor Steve” comes along wherever I go. It’s like they say, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Being a preacher and a Christian affects what I write, what I do, and who I strive to be.

I am a pastor. From 2003 when I graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary to 2011, I pastored Trinity Presbyterian Church in West Sacramento, California. The church was/is on a journey of transformation, which was sometimes lots of fun and sometimes very difficult. But we walked together and walked with God during both kinds of times.  When I left there in 2011, I began helping as an unofficial pastor at the church my family attended as well as doing fill-in preaching for a number of small- to medium-sized churches in Northern California.  That gave me somme breadth of ministry experience as got to know those churches and their contexts.  Most recently, I have been serving as an interim assistant pastor at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, California, which is a congregation of approximately 1,100 members.  Working in a large church has been helpful.  I’ve learned a great deal about the systems and structure required and what works and doesn’t work.

I am a husband father. I have been blessed with Eleanor, who I believe is the best possible wife for me.  Together we have three wonderful children. Having a family gives me a different perspective on life and on God.

I am a software developer.  I am a former system software engineer and software development manager. I worked for two strong (at the time) companies developing software and systems and later leading a team of developers.  I was good at it, but it wasn’t my calling. Sometimes I miss it. That comes out from time to time in my blogging. It was easier to see what I had accomplished, the financial compensation was great, and I got weekends off (much of the time). Getting a chance to see what a well-run company can look like and what a badly-run company can look like (in some cases the same company at different times in its life) helped me to strive for excellence on the business side of running a church, which in many ways looks like a small business.

I make apps. I didn’t actually give up software entirely.  In 2010, I started writing apps fro Android-based smartphones (and later tablets).  WhitneyApps, my “company” (it’s technically a sole proprietorship) creates apps to make people’s lives better, richer, and more fun! We also  added the Looking Upward Apps label for Christian apps – a chance to combine both sides of my experience and training.

I hope that gives you some insight into what I mean by the different parts of my life that affect what I write. There are more, of course, but that will do for now. Enjoy the blog!


Steve Whitney