7 Questions with Eddie Pate – California Southern Baptist Convention
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7 Questions with Eddie Pate

Eddie Pate
Director of the Kim School of Global Missions at Gateway Seminary
There are few in California Southern Baptist life who are wholly respected and loved by everyone in California. Eddie Pate, however, is one of the very few who fit the bill. If you know Eddie, you love Eddie. Formerly, the Pate family served as IMB missionaries in the Sudan. Today, Dr. Eddie Pate is a professor of evangelism and the Director of the Kim School of Global Missions at Gateway Seminary. His passion to be an evangelist and tell the saving story of Jesus is evident to everyone he comes in contact with. As he puts it, "I just want people to hear about and love Jesus."

What book(s) are you currently reading/What podcasts do you listen to?

I have a long commute, but I mostly listen to audio books and not a lot of podcasts. I do listen to the Jeff Iorg Leadership Podcast, and I like listening to Alyssa Childers' podcast. She is a great apologist. As far as books, I'm reading several right now. We are taking some students to the Panama Canal so I'm reading through "Panama Fever," by Matthew Parker and "Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Latin America," by Paul Freston. I also just finished reading a book about Crazy Horse and Custer, and another book called "Rebel Yell," about Stonewall Jackson. My podcasts and books are all kind of eclectic, I guess."

Pepsi or Coke?

If I go back to my time in North Africa (referring to his years living in Sudan) in 1993, one could not find any Coke products because the word on the street was that Coca-Cola was owned by a Jewish Corporation. Additionally, though, I did grow up drinking Pepsi.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Or, what verse are you meditating on right now?

I try to read the Bible through every year… But I have had Matt 6;33 on my desk forever. If I’m being honest, I often find that I am not usually the smartest guy in the room. I’m more like the Forrest Gump in the room. I’m a lowly DMin who is surrounded by a bunch of PhD’s… But, when you seek first the kingdom of God, doors open, and things just happen. I worked with guys in Sudan who planted 120 churches. I didn’t know what I was doing; things just sort of happened. I didn’t necessarily seek that goal. We don’t need to seek those other things if we seek first the kingdom of God, they happen to you. It says it right there, ”they will be added to you.”

What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?

I think throughout my early life I always wanted to meet Simon of Cyrene, the one who carried Jesus’ cross. It’s interesting because his kids show up later in the New Testament too. I would also like to meet Caleb. I’m interested in that guy. I mean, he was old when they enter the land, there in the West Bank, in Hebron, but he still had the energy to take the land … it’s a great story!

What has been an evangelistic tactic that has worked best for you?

Listening and asking questions. I like hearing people’s stories and then taking that information to probe and ask a gospel-focused question. It takes time, but you have to get a little information to get into a gospel conversation. That’s my style. It’s what we are encouraging our students at Gateway to do. Just the other day, I was in an uber in New Orleans with a man named Mohammed. In that setting, I already have some context. We got to talking about Jerusalem and I’m asking, “Are you a Muslin and whatnot?” No matter the style. Listening and asking questions is a great thing to do. It helps determine the next approach. Work? Apologetics? Sin? The next steps are set to share the gospel when we know more.

If you could start over with a completely different job from the one you have right now, what would it be? Or – When you were in high school what career had you imagined you would be in right now?

My aptitude test said I was going to be a forest ranger and I did always enjoy backpacking in the Sierras when I was a kid, but if I could go back and do anything else, I would go back to being in a village in Northern Sudan in Cairo. I like doing whatever I’ve done. I worked at two funeral homes when I was in college. I would do that. I’m just a happy guy. I have been so blessed to have 3 incredible tenures: as an IMB missionary, at Gateway Seminary, and as a pastor in a local church. it hasn’t always been easy but, what a blessing to be able to do three unique things, and I’ve loved every minute.

When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now, and why?

Rock of my Salvation. In a world that has no stability, it’s so good to wake up every day knowing that your faith is built on that Rock, on the person and the work of Jesus Christ. It’s the only thing you can trust. It’s the only thing that is solid and true in this world. He is the Way to Truth and the Life…. And the Rock of our salvation.