THE SHORT STORY
Steve Korch is a first-generation believer, born in the middle of the boomer years and steeped in the surfer culture of the sixties. He has followed Jesus since his early twenties. Steve is passionately in love with his wife, Ruth, who is a nationally recognized artist. They have three grown children (two married), five grandsons and now ... one granddaughter.
Over a span of twenty years, Steve pastored three West Coast churches in three different denominations. Steve has had the privilege of traveling to Sweden, Vietnam, Israel, Mexico, Siberia, Yucatan, the northern Philippines, Cebu, the British Isles, Denmark, France, Belgium, Canada and the Caribbean. He is a full-time professor at Western Seminary in Northern California, teaching courses in pastoral theology and spiritual formation. Steve is a published author and a gifted communicator who is in high demand as a speaker for church services, camps conferences and retreats.
THE LONGER STORY
Born in 1950, Steve is from the heart of the “Boomer” generation. His parents divorced within a few months after his birth and his father returned to his homeland of Sweden. Steve’s mother remarried soon after that. He has one brother and one sister by his step-father. Steve has two more brothers and two additional sisters living in Sweden. Steve grew up in California, most of those years in the Santa Cruz area. Steve was raised in a fairly common, middle-class home. He was never much of a student. Surfing played a big role in his life during high school years.
After a disastrous first semester of college, Steve joined the Army. It was at this point that he came to grips with the Gospel, and received Jesus Christ as his Savior. His military experience also included a year as a co-pilot in Vietnam. Back as a civilian, Steve returned to college, receiving a B.A. in history from Biola University and both an MDiv. and a DMin. from Western Seminary.
In 1971, Steve met the most beautiful girl in the world and married her the following year. They have enjoyed more than forty wonderful years of marriage. Ruthie is a professional artist and art coach. They have three grown children (two married) and five grandchildren.
After completing seminary, Steve was called to Faith Baptist Church in Lincoln City, Oregon. During his nine years of ministry there, he saw the church grow from the smallest church in town to the largest church in the county. During those years, Steve also served as ER chaplain for the local hospital. In 1987, Steve was called to Fair Oaks Baptist Church in Concord, California, where he served for three years. Then from 1990 to 1999, Steve served as the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in San Mateo.
Steve has had the privilege of traveling to Sweden, Vietnam, Israel, Mexico, Siberia, Yucatan, the northern Philippines, Cebu, the British Isles, Denmark, France, Belgium, Canada and the Caribbean. He is experienced as a tour guide and a missions team leader. He is a full-time professor and Director of Pastoral Training for the San Jose campus of Western Seminary. Steve teaches courses in pastoral theology and spiritual formation.
Steve enjoys exercise in the form of running, biking and surfing (hey, he lives in Santa Cruz). Steve plays guitar, but can’t sing to save his life. His first book, My Soul Thirsts, an invitation to intimacy with God, has made a powerful impact in thousands of lives. More recent books include The Presence and Coming to Your Senses. A couple of new books, The Legionnaire’s Son and The Dream-Maker are expected in 2016. Steve is a creative spiritual leader as well as a gifted speaker and teacher.
A REDEMPTIVE STORY
A major theme in Steve’s life is redemption. For him, redemption is not a theory, but a first-hand experience of God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness. One of the most profound experiences of this occurred when he was a young man in his twenties. He was guilty of a serious moral failure that inflicted pain upon others and shame upon himself. The incident was thoroughly addressed and resolved. “Although I deserved punishment, I received unexpected grace that led to honest repentance and restoration. It was a turning point in my life that has shaped the man I have become.”
In 2007, someone chose to make this incident public in an aggressive attempt to dishonor Steve and to draw attention away from that person’s own moral failings. Even though this incident happened in Steve's twenties, his life was once again carefully examined and found to be genuinely repentant and transformed—an authentic story of God’s redemption. Steve’s wife and family, along with pastors, friends and colleagues, continue to affirm his ministries. They believe his experience, both the distant and the recent, has made him a better man, a better professor, and better pastor in this fallen world.
NOTE: If you have been drawn into this issue by receiving any threatening emails, letters or packets from that individual or his mother, please do not hesitate to contact Steve. He welcomes the opportunity to answer any questions you may have. He can also put you in touch with a host of friends, ministry leaders and colleagues who know the rest of the story and would be delighted to correct the twisted narrative being presented. You may also find it helpful to read this chapter from Dr. Henry Cloud's book, "Necessary Endings," or to watch this video from the Leadership Summit.
THE INSIDE STORY
“Steve is a devoted, loving husband and an excellent father. He is kind, considerate and consistent in all his relationships. His faith in Christ is firm and deeply committed. He is a man of excellent character.” Lyn
“I have known Steve for about 20 years. I have no doubt that our meeting was one of those God-engineered events. At every encounter since then, Steve has been an instrument of blessing, wisdom, encouragement and, at times, challenge in my life. He is my friend, my mentor and my brother in Christ - one who I see following Jesus and striving to be more like Him. Steve is the kind of man I want to have at my side in my journey to try to do the same.” Chris
“For the more than 20 years that I have known Steve, I have observed him to be a Christian man of the highest biblical, moral, and ethical character. I have always known him to be a person of highest integrity in matters of relationships, finances, and gospel ministry. His relationship with his wife Ruthie is exemplary and a model which I have tried to follow.” Peter
“I first met Steve in 1993. As a young believer he and his family took me under their wing. Steve sacrificially invested in me and encouraged me in my calling to ministry. I have been a missionary the past 10 years. During that time, Steve has always made himself available to me for counsel any time I needed it. Steve and Ruthie to my knowledge have never acted in an immoral or unethical manner in any way and certainly not in their dealings with me. Far from it, they are actually the couple my wife and I most look to as caring, mature and strong Christians, from whom we can expect godly wisdom and love. The longer I am in ministry, the fewer people I find I am truly able to see as models for my Christian life. Steve Korch is one of those few.” Garrett
“I have had the privilege of knowing Steve and his family for over 20 years. I have had the opportunity to see every aspect of his life and to know him as a pastor, professor, administrator, partner in ministry and as a friend. During all of this time, and in all of these capacities, I have experienced his life up close. He has lived and walked this journey with the highest level of integrity, ethics and morals. Steve is an honest, truthful, faithful man of character; to his family, his friends, his students, those he works with, and to God.” Hans
“I have known Steve for over 20 years. I came to know Christ 18 years ago through a Bible study that Steve & Ruthie created for those of us who didn't know Christ at the time. It was my first introduction to the Bible and my first introduction to a true Christian family. What has grown out of the first experience from meeting Steve is a friendship which has blossomed through the years in the building of my family and my walk with Christ. Steve has been available to me as a personal mentor in my professional and personal life. Steve's integrity, moral and ethical character are above reproach. He is an inspiration and role model to me as a pastor, father and friend. I am honored to consider Steve my friend and mentor.” Chris
“I have always known Steve to be an upright man both in the workplace and at home. Steve is a man of great integrity and honesty. He always places God at the forefront of every decision and seeks the counsel of wise Christians around him. As a dad and a husband I have not known someone who esteems his family more.” Judy
“I have known Steve Korch as a trusted colleague and close friend since 1998. I can say without the slightest reservation that he is one of the finest people I have worked with in business, higher education or professional ministry, and that I view him as an exemplary leader in every respect. As a pastor and spiritual leader, I know Steve as profoundly committed to his faith and its values. His book, The Presence, attests to his deep understanding of personal devotion to the Christian faith, and his life is a witness to how to live out that faith commitment. I am truly thankful to be able to call Steve a valued friend for the personal interest he has taken in my life and the caring he has consistently shown me and my family.” Michael