De León Begins Hispanic and Ministerial Role

César De León will begin a new role in June as the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) vice president for Hispanic ministries and director of ministerial and evangelism efforts. De León will be coming to the NPUC from the Central California Conference headquarters in Clovis, Calif., where he has directed the ministerial and evangelism departments for that region since 2011.

While he will help support the efforts of nearly 400 pastors in more than 500 congregations across the Northwest, De León's specific focus will be on evangelistic opportunities and what has become a significant growing edge of NPUC membership — Hispanic outreach. His position as vice president will include administrative-level responsibilities as well.

“I am delighted that Dr. De León has accepted our invitation,” says Max Torkelsen, NPUC president. “His track record of successful ministry leadership and his passion for the mission of our church speaks for itself. I am confident the Holy Spirit will be powerfully present in his efforts here.”   

De León brings a rich tapestry of education and experience to these new responsibilities as a departmental director, pastor, and marriage and family therapist. He holds a doctorate in marriage and family therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., a master’s degree with the same emphasis from nearby Loma Linda University, and a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in  Berrien Springs, Mich. He obtained his undergraduate degree in theology from Walla Walla College in 1983. His wife, Carolann, who is working on her doctorate in clinical pastoral counseling, also has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

Pastoral work was the focus of De León’s early ministry experience. He was a pastor in Pendleton and Hermiston, Ore., Holland, Mich., and in the Fresno and Salinas/Gilroy districts in California. After training as a marriage and family counselor, De León served 1994–2002 as associate youth pastor and pastoral counselor at the La Sierra Spanish Church in Riverside, Calif., and 2002–2011 at the Hispanic Church in San Jose, Calif., as senior pastor, marriage and family therapist, and pastoral counselor. During his tenure in San Jose, the church grew from 740 to more than 1,300 baptized members.

The De Leóns have two college-age sons: Zachary, 20, and Jonathan, 19. They hope to physically make the transition to the Northwest sometime this summer.

“My wife and I are grateful to God for the opportunity to serve Him in the Northwest,” says De León. “My first home here in the U.S. was in the Oregon Conference. The Lord opened doors for me to go to Walla Walla College, so this is like coming back home. We ask for your prayers, that we will be invested with God’s Spirit to see His vision and carry out His mission.”