Faculty and General Editor, College of Theology
Dr. Alfaro is a Phoenix native of Latino descent. He has an MA in Biblical and Theological Studies (‘02) and a Ph.D. in Theology (’08) from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. He is an ordained minister (Church of God, Cleveland, TN) and pastor of New Day Church in Phoenix.
“In my late teens, I perceived God’s call on my life to full-time ministry… I love becoming a part of the great story being written by God in the life of our students.”
Who am I and how did God lead me here?
My family immigrated to the US from Mexico in the early 80’s, which explains my love for music, TV and pop culture of that era. I was raised here in Phoenix in a Pentecostal home and went to church 4-5 times a week.
In my late teens, I perceived God’s call on my life to fulltime ministry. My academic pilgrimage began at a small Bible Institute and ended at Fuller Seminary where I completed a PhD in theology. All of my life I have been connected to a small local Pentecostal church, but I always fled from pastoral ministry.
It wasn’t until I completed my doctoral program that I responded to God’s call to plant a church. Five years ago my wife, Miriam, and I planted and currently continue to pastor, New Day Church, which is primarily a Spanish-speaking congregation though recently we began to celebrate English worship experiences. In light of this, I am very passionate about equipping and resourcing bi-vocational pastors and leaders.
What do I enjoy most in the College of Theology and in my ministry?
I love becoming a part of the great story being written by God in the life of our students. Last year’s commencement was very special for me because I felt the joy of seeing a small group of students I’ve taught since they were freshman graduate. These students took Christian Worldview with me when I was a brand new professor, and now, four years later, they completed an educational program with some courses I teach, write and revise.
They will become pastors and leaders in the community, and perhaps look back at their years at GCU and see them as an important learning and spiritual experience for their ministries. Just like I look back fondly and appreciate my undergrad professors who were patient with me and inspired me to do great things, my students will go on and accomplish far more than I ever could. This is how we build the kingdom of God.
What advice do I have for my theology students?
Stay connected to a local church. What you learn from the books and the classroom is very important, but learning to apply that knowledge in practical ways within your local church and community adds another level of experience to your education. Besides, the church and church people is where and with whom you will be working.
The more you get involved in the life of the church now, the greater your understanding of the culture within it will be and you will be ahead of the game when you graduate. In a certain sense, your studies will become a great resource for church service and your ministry experience will feed into the papers you write providing you with the best of both worlds.