Monday, 9 January 2012

The Short Bio I Sent to the CRC

My name is Eric Cepin. I was born in Tucson, AZ. When I was six, my family moved to Miami, AZ where my father became the principle of Miami High School. A few years later, my parents felt called to go to seminary. They moved the family to Winona Lake, Indiana where they trained under Larry Crabb and Dan Allendar to become biblical counselors. After graduation, my father moved the family to Fayetteville, NC where he served as pastor at a small Bible church. After a short time in North Carolina, we moved back to Tucson, where I attended Rincon high school and met my lovely wife, Susan. Since then, Tucson is where I've lived other than a short stint taking classes at ASU during college. When I was four years old, my mother says that I jumped up into her lap and told her that I wanted to become a Christian. Even though I don't remember this conversion experience, I know for sure that my training to become a pastor started during those early years in Tucson when my mother and I would pray for all my friends who didn't know Jesus and when I would sit in the hallway of my parents' home with a bowl of popcorn to listen to my dad lead his weekly Bible study. While my heart was turned toward God as a young child, I also struggled with a paralyzing fear that affected most aspects of my life. This fear had such an impact on me that by tenth grade I had no friends, spent a great deal of time isolated in my bedroom, and had a D average in school. At the beginning of my junior year in high school, God took hold of my heart through conversations with my mother and with the youth pastor at the Evangelical Free church we attended. It was at this point that I first owned my faith in a way that enabled me to stand against my fears. With God's help I turned my grades around, started a prayer group at school, developed friendships, and spoke openly about my Christian beliefs with friends and teachers. In college, I started a prayer meeting with a handful of people which blossomed into a college ministry of about sixty. In the context of this group, Susan and I began dating and I started getting my feet wet as a leader. Shortly thereafter, I headed to Grand Canyon University in hopes of finishing up my elementary education degree. I decided that I didn't want to be an elementary teacher and transferred to ASU to pursue a psychology major. In college, I discovered that I had a language-related learning disability and wrestled to complete all the requirements. It became increasingly evident to me that I didn't belong there. In 1996, just a few classes short of my degree, I returned to Tucson to marry my wife, Susan, and take a job as a Mental Health Counselor in a geriatric psychiatry unit. During the early years of our marriage, Susan and I were mentored and trained by the pastor who married us. We helped in his college and singles ministry and took over leading it upon his departure to plant a church. This ministry became vibrant and mission-oriented, but it struggled to exist within the structures of a very traditional church. In 1999, the leadership sent us off with their blessing to do the ministry at hand. In the year 2000, I met Rod while working for an Evangelical Presbyterian church which had graciously taken our ministry under their wing. Due to extenuating circumstances in each of our communities, we sensed that God was calling us to plant a church together. In July of 2001, the Village church was planted. That same year, my daughter, Ashton, was born, and then my son, Elliott, four years later. As the Village nears the eleven year mark, I find I'm a pastor of a beautiful little church which has seen God work in absolutely stunning and humbling ways.

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