Vice President for Vocation and Formation and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology
Dr. Bolsinger joined Fuller Seminary as vice president for vocation and formation in March 2014 and as assistant professor of practical theology in July. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1993, Dr. Bolsinger served as senior pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church since 1997. Prior to that he was associate pastor of discipleship and spiritual formation at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood.
What are you especially passionate about in your work, and what led you to this passion?
I'm passionate about preparing Christian leaders for a changing world. After 27 years in the pastorate and five of those years consulting and coaching Christian leaders, a number of leaders shared with me how ill-prepared they felt for how rapidly the world is changing. Pastors and Christian leaders of my age were prepared mostly for a Christendom world that doesn't exist anymore. We need to become the kinds of leaders who can adapt to and be agile enough to bring the hope of the gospel into what Bob Johansen calls a "VUCA" world: volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous.
What has drawn you to Fuller now?
Two things: The vision of Mark Labberton to see Fuller at the forefront of training pastors and other leaders for the new post-Christendom world, and the courage of the faculty to listen to our alums and change the curriculum. While most schools and seminaries are using co-curricular "work arounds" because faculties won't often let go of the cherished commitments of the past, our faculty—at great personal cost and effort—listened deeply, took a hard look at the reality of the world around us, worked hard, and voted to do what faculties all over the country have resisted doing: to maintain the highest level of academic standards and at the same time dedicate themselves to creating the kind of learning that will form the whole person. In my opinion, the faculty that I am joining are heroes. And I am honored to be in their midst and work alongside them.
Now that you've been engaging the Fuller community for a few months, what are you seeing and learning?
I have been overwhelmed by the welcome and enthusiastic response to the vision of Fuller becoming a community that is committed to holistic formation—personal, spiritual, academic, and global—for our vocations as Christian leaders. Students have been eager to tell me their stories, faculty from all three schools have met with me to share their experiences and expertise, the administration is the most prayerful and welcoming team I have ever joined, the staff has taken me in like family. For me, Fuller is coming home—and I am learning again that there is no greater joy than to labor together with true sisters and brothers for a vision that is bigger than any one of us.
What else can you tell us to help us get to know you better?
Mostly, that I LOVE my work, AND I also love not to work. I love to be outdoors. I love to ski, hike, fly-fish, and bike in beautiful places. We have a little place in the middle of Idaho that is where we go to defragment our souls. I love to plan adventures and I love to work in the garden. I love to cook and have dinners with my family. I love my two adult kids who are amongst the most beautiful people I have ever known, and I love doing absolutely anything with my wife Beth who is my true companion and the delight of my life. If I weren't doing this, my other dream job would have been to be a national park ranger.
See Dr. Bolsinger’s faculty profile to learn more about his background and academic focus. You can also find more on our vocation and formation page.