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Originally published in the fall 2023 Update Magazine.

Those who have sat in a service with Dr. Jim Schettler (Bible ’79) have seen him practically leap to the pulpit, eager to share the promises from his Savior. And over his 45 years of ministry, his messages have marked spiritual moments in listeners’ lives. Whether pastoring, teaching, or traveling across the country, he has appreciated every opportunity to joyfully share what the Lord has laid on his heart. “You go where the Lord wants you,” said Dr. Schettler. And, like many alumni, he saw God begin shaping the trajectory of his life while attending PCC.

Dr. Jim Schettler teaching
A Desire to Serve

When Dr. Schettler arrived at PCC in 1975, it was a little-known Christian college—one with a small student body dedicated to honoring the Lord. As Christian service ministries and Campus Church opportunities became available, he quickly “caught the spirit” and got involved in any way he could. “I got here, and I just loved serving the Lord,” he said. He soon switched from speech to studying Bible. “By my second year, I knew I wanted to be in ministry.”

Dr. Schettler held a variety of student leadership positions that prepared him for becoming a pastor. Throughout his college career, he served as a floor leader, the Pi Kappa Cougars collegian president and vice president, Mission Prayer Band chaplain, and Student Body president. “Those opportunities fed my passion for service,” he shared. “I do not have a [specific] day that I was called to preach, but the Bible says, ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart’ (Psalm 37:4). As I’ve served the Lord, He just gives me another desire—I go, ‘Well, that must be God’; I’m willing to do whatever God wants. The door is open, and I want to go through it.”

Leadership and Ministry at PCC

After graduating college, Dr. Jim Schettler traveled for two years as a PCC representative, preaching two to three times a day at Christian schools, summer camps, and churches. After his first year, he married Marilee (Elementary Education ’80), and she joined him for the second year. “We didn’t know where we were going to go at the end of [the] two years traveling,” he explained. They made plans, and for six months, they lived in a kibbutz in Israel with Baptists for Israel Institute. “Serving with the Israelis formulated my entire ministry from that point on. We came back, and I was youth pastor of Campus Church for 7 years, then I became interim, and then pastor for 18 years.”

The time Dr. Schettler led Campus Church included engaging messages, memorable illustrations, and shared memories that students, staff, faculty, and community members of that time reminisce about today. Students regularly quoted phrases and slogans that were reminders on having the right attitude when dating, refusing to gossip, keeping a clean testimony, and following God’s will.

“Oh, what would we ever have done without Pastor Schettler?!” said Tina Boles (Early Childhood ’00). “Pastor Schettler’s sermons were always right on target, useful, and packed full of wisdom. Even if I can’t remember all of the titles or points of each message, the memories of sitting in the Dale Horton [Auditorium] amongst all of my classmates, being fed the Word of God by a man who so evidently loves the Lord and so strongly desires to share that with all of us, is a warm memory.”

Even those who knew Dr. Schettler as a college student were encouraged by his ministry at Campus Church. “Jim was my floor leader my freshman year. I remember his sense of humor!” shared Rod See (A.S. Printing Program ’81). “His genuine compassion and heart for the Lord shined through in all that he did. I have cooked steaks for the Men’s Steak-Out ever since he introduced that ministry to the Campus Church. I remember him meeting with us in heartfelt prayer before each one.”

Following the Lord’s Leading

Since 2011, Dr. Jim Schettler has been teaching modular classes on the Bible, counseling, and youth ministry at a California Bible college. When classes aren’t in session, he spends the rest of the year in full-time ministry, “equipping and encouraging the saints across the country.” He enjoys nothing more than helping bring others to an understanding of biblical truths. “I love to see people’s faces when I’m speaking and know I’m connected with them,” he shared. “Seeing the Word of God received in people’s hearts, and then lived out—that’s the most exciting thing. You’re teaching them something from God’s Word, and they go, ‘You know what? I can do that! I understand now.’”

Dr. Jim Schettler

In spring 2024, Dr. Schettler will join his PCC family for Legacy Bible Conference, one of the events celebrating the College’s 50th school year. He’s excited to be included in the celebration. “The people of Pensacola Christian College were the tools that God used to form me in my life, my walk with the Lord, and my ministry,” Dr. Schettler said. “They were my mentors, my prayer warriors, my friends who we laughed with, who we cried with—everything!”

Dr. Jim Schettler is encouraged by how he’s seen God continue to work in his own life and in the lives of others. “One of the great joys that I have as I travel all over the country and all over the world is coming across our graduates that have stayed faithful. And, you know, the longer I live, it’s not about abilities and talents. It’s just about being faithful,” he shared. “Stay faithful to the things of God.”

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