Rev. David Rodes (70)
Rev. David Rodes experienced a call to the ministry at age 14. His passion for his call was bolstered by observing the examples set by his father and grandfather, who were both pastors.
“They were love-filled, joyful servants of God,” Rodes said.
His time at Pasadena College was also formative.
“I gained so much knowledge and faith from my university experience,” he said. “I was profoundly influenced by [Drs.] Frank Carver and Reuben Welch. The grounding in biblical understanding and the heart and head aspects of faith came together beautifully in both of them.”
After graduating from Pasadena College, Rodes went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Burley, Idaho; Rupert, Idaho; Ventura, Calif.; and Grandview, Wash., before accepting his current position as senior pastor at Puyallup Nazarene Church (PNC) in Washington, where he has been since 2000. In 2010, he was elected district superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene Washington Pacific District, but he knew his calling was still to his church. He graciously declined the position.
For his congregants, Rodes has been a continual source of inspiration.
“The strength of Dave’s Ventura ministry, to me, was his Bible teaching that was made so practical for us,” said Carroll Holly (61). “He placed a strong emphasis on discipleship, which was another foundation of his ministry.”
Rodes’ commitment to investing in people extends beyond his church members. He is known for connecting with both civic leaders and the disenfranchised. In Puyallup, he has been instrumental in launching a group called the “John 17 Fellowship,” which brings together pastors, youth ministry leaders, and lay leaders for prayer and collaboration. He is perhaps most excited about a partnership PNC has formed with the elementary school three blocks away.
“As a church, we have been able to raise $40,000 to support the families of that school. It’s thrilling to give that to families in need. It’s an amazing relationship we have been able to develop with the public school that allows us to demonstrate Christ’s love in a practical way,” said Rodes.
Rodes is also passionate about Africa. He recently returned from Malawi where PNC is in the process of forming partnerships. It was his sixth trip to Africa after visits to Zimbabwe and Kenya in 1985 (where he was profoundly affected by the East African revival and the message of repentance); Zambia in 1999; Uganda in 2003 (when he went with World Vision to see ground zero of the AIDS pandemic); and two mission endeavors to Mozambique investing in an unreached people group.
Rodes has been a profound influence on others when it comes to prayer.
“The congregation of the people of Grandview proclaim that Pastor Dave taught them to pray and how to pray,” said PLNU’s director of church relations, Ron Fay. “The emphases they learned from him were focused on knowing God intimately and so much so they would know God’s heart and desire to live God’s will.”
“There is a quote from Morris Weigelt of Nazarene Theological Seminary that says, ‘Every time the Lord’s Prayer is prayed, the whole of the universe shifts in the direction of God,’” said Rodes.
Though he has emphasized prayer in his teaching since the mid-1980s, Rodes’ most profound personal experience with the power and mystery of prayer came much later.
Rodes had developed ankle pain in 1984. By 1991, he had to wear orthotic braces that extended up to his mid-calves just to walk.
“Doctors told me I had ankles akin to a 90-year-old that stemmed from an iron disorder,” he said.
Doctors helped Rodes manage the underlying condition, but he remained in braces for 15 years and faced chronic pain daily. He had prayed about the issue and been prayed for many times. Then, in 2006, his daughter Lindsey, who is married to a Nazarene pastor, felt called to pray for her father during a service of healing at a retreat for pastors and their spouses. Starting that night and for the following two weeks, Rodes was able to go to sleep without taking his daily pain reliever. After those two weeks, he attempted to go without his braces for just one day. After all the years in the braces, his ankles and calf muscles were atrophied, but he made it through the day. And then he made it through the next day. Now, six years later, he no longer wears braces; he runs 5Ks and plays basketball with friends.
“Who can explain that?” he said. “I just give praise to God for it.”
Rodes and his wife of 42 years, Lynette, enjoy motorcycle riding. They have four adult children: Chris, Benji, Lindsey, and Aimee. Chris and Benji are both missional pastors. Aimee is a high school senior.
James Bradley, Ph.D. (68)
Dr. James Bradley has spent his entire academic career at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., where he is able to pursue his dual passions of higher education and ministry as the Geoffrey W. Bromily professor of church history.
“It’s been a fulfilling and terrifically satisfying experience,” he said.
Bradley’s love of history was what led him to transfer from George Fox College to Pasadena College in 1966. Pasadena’s strong history department attracted him, and Drs. Tom Andrews and Ray Cook became mentors and role models.
“They had a huge impact on my life,” he said. “They were powerfully inspiring and really set the course for my future. I believe the people we encounter in our lives often leave an indelible stamp on us, and that is something to thank God for.”
After graduating from Pasadena College summa cum laude in 1968, Bradley went on to earn a B.D. from Fuller in 1971 and a Ph.D. in modern European history from USC in 1978.
While he was still completing his doctorate, a rare teaching position in church history opened up at Fuller, and Bradley jumped at the opportunity. He had felt torn between going into the ministry and pursuing a history professorship. At Fuller, he is able to do both, ministering to students while also teaching church history. It is an ideal position for him.
Bradley has worked with both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry students, the latter being mostly mid-career, experienced pastors with great questions and a strong sense of fellowship and collegiality. Assisting Ph.D. students through the process of their research and the supervision of their dissertations has also been very satisfying.
“What I enjoy most is helping to prepare people for the diverse ministries of Christ and His Church,” he said.
“Dr. Bradley is known to his students not only for his academic rigor in the classroom but probably just as much for the devotions with which he begins his classes, sharing what God has been teaching him and through this encouraging his students to be committed to the study of the Word,” said Liz Leahy, Bradley’s former student and a professor of theological bibliography and research at Azusa Pacific University.
Bradley resonates with Fuller’s vision “that ministry and evangelism should be linked with scholarship that moves evangelicals into the academic world in meaningful ways.” He says the ethos of research and the strong focus on ministry are much like what he experienced at Pasadena College.
Bradley’s academic accomplishments have been impressive. He has numerous publications to his name. Among the most influential has been his 1990 book, Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism: Nonconformity in Eighteenth-Century Politics and Society. The book uses quantitative analysis to demonstrate that there was support for the American Revolution amongst nonconformist Protestants in England. On a larger scale, it establishes that there is measurable relationship between religious beliefs and political convictions. He was recognized for his work in eighteenth-century English history with a Festschrift published in his honor on his 65th birthday.
Of the many opportunities for ministry that Bradley has had, one that was especially dear to his heart was coordinating Fuller’s involvement with the St. Petersburg Evangelical Theological Academy in Russia. During the era of glasnost before the USSR fell, Fuller’s president was invited to help establish and collaborate with a new seminary in St. Petersburg. By 1993 Fuller was sending four professors a year to teach two weeklong theology classes each. Bradley coordinated the program from 1993 until 2007. During his tenure, 22 Fuller faculty members participated in the program.
“The enthusiasm for learning, especially in the early years, was exhilarating,” Bradley said. “Under Communism, Protestants could meet for public worship but education was denied, so the students were very eager to study.”
Bradley’s leadership in both academics and ministry, as well as his kind and gentle nature, endear him to students, friends, and colleagues alike.
Dr. Tom Andrews (62), Bradley’s former professor and current colleague and friend, wrote, “In addition to being quite possibly the most productive and accomplished historian to have graduated from Pasadena College, Bradley has placed his servant heart—his educated heart—in the forefront of all that he is and does.”
Bradley and his wife, Diane, belong to First Baptist Church in Pomona, Calif. Diane also works at Fuller part time in the library. They have three adult children, Rachel, Daniel, and Matthew, and four grandchildren.