Pastor James Wakefield: I am a Utah native and was raised in a devout LDS family. Jesus claimed me when I was 19 and placed me with the Baptists for several years. After a divorce ended 24 years of marriage, I raised three teenagers as a single father. My experience of my own brokenness -- failures in marriage -- gives me great patience and hope with others like me. God can still use us! I rejoice and feel very blessed to be married to Dawn McNulty Wakefield. Dawn is a pediatric physical therapist and she has a great heart for ministry—especially with children. We enjoy serving God together in all that we do. We ski together, dance ballroom together, and enjoy scuba diving together.
God has used me in a number of ministry contexts. I served a Quaker community congregation in Deer Trail, Colorado, and Baptist congregations in Minnesota and Utah. I helped start Salt Lake Theological Seminary in 1984 and served as professor of Biblical and Spiritual Theology until it closed in 2009.
As lead pastor, I gladly share a full range of pastoral duties with Pastors Jeff Tally and Susan Westland. I find my greatest joy serving at Good Shepherd when I see people experience God our Father's great love. We love, because God first loved us!
My family and I are thrilled to be here at Good Shepherd and we look forward to seeing how God will use us in this amazing church. Next to leading the lost to Jesus, I am driven to encourage, empower, and equip the people of God into living out the plans God has for us individually and as a body. I love teaching, preaching, mentoring, and missions. My whole family has a special interest in visual and performing arts, and I also enjoy teaching martial arts. I hope that, together, we will fall more deeply in love with Jesus, be surrendered to and filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, and experience the adventure of God’s kingdom coming and His will being done in us.
I love languages and speak German, Japanese, and English. I love to explore the linguistic nuances of scripture in its most ancient forms. I also enjoy making short cartoons. My wife, Tess, and two daughters, Heather and Claire are the loves of my life!
I grew up outside of any religious influence until I joined the LDS church when I was 17. I struggled to secure my own eternal progression until 2001 when Christ used my husband Rich to walk me to the cross where I found the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Having become a new creation in Christ, the Holy Spirit has given me a passion for evangelism and preaching the good news of the Gospel to anyone who will listen. Therefore, when we are not serving the church or spending time with our family, Rich and I love to ride our motorcycles where Christ uses us to proclaim His grace to the lost and broken we find on the highways and byways of our great nation.
Rich and I have been married since 2002 and we have six children (including our son and daughter-n-law) and three grandchildren. Our son Adrian is deceased and living in heaven with Jesus. His son Michael (21) lives in Salt Lake City, His widow Mary and daughter Brenda (16) live in Omaha. Our son Josiah (37) lives in Clarion, Iowa. Our Son Jake (33) and our daughter Katie (37), her husband Craig and our granddaughter Emilia (6) all live in St. Louis. As Rich and I enter into our fourth year of serving God’s people here at Good Shepherd we look forward to all the great adventures God has in store for all of us.