Get to Know Becca Bateman, DPC’s new Associate Pastor for Education and Family Ministries

It was a joyous moment following the August 29 worship service, when DPC members voted to extend a call for Becca Bateman to become our Associate Pastor for Education and Family Ministries. In this role, Becca will serve members of all ages, offering her guidance, faith, and experience in developing programs and building relationships.

Becca Bateman, Sandra Shinkfield Photography

The vote to approve Becca’s hiring came amidst a whirlwind weekend for she and her family, who traveled to Doylestown from their home in Southern California. That Saturday, Becca participated in a special Meet & Greet event, during which she met many DPC members and answered questions from Matt Rizk, moderator of the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. On Sunday, prior to the congregational meeting she delivered a heartfelt, well-received sermon, and later joined staff and youth leaders for ice-cream.

Before all of this, however, Becca took the time to sit with us (via Zoom) to tell us more about herself. Below is that conversation from late August.

Good morning Becca! Let’s start from the beginning. What led you to become a pastor?

I grew up going to a church that had multiple pastors with varied backgrounds. And when I was thinking about what I might want to do when I grew up, they nudged me – and so did my parents. They said, ‘you’re good at teaching, and speaking in public, and you like languages, you like history – you even like try to semi-counsel your friends into helping them make better decisions and such’ – so it’s just one of those things where a pastor just needs to be a Jack or a Jill of all trades and it didn’t seem right that I would just be a teacher in a school district – which would be wonderful and amazing but maybe not hit on all of the things that I had a passion for. So it felt like there are jobs that maybe match – but pastor kind of encompasses all of them.

In your view, what gives a church the ability to grow in membership, but also to thrive as a body of faith?

People talk. So a church can have all its banners and have flashy, pretty colors, have a long trajectory of good programming, but what really gets to it is word of mouth and invitation; and asking people ‘would you be a part of my church? I know there’s something really great that I’ve found there and I want you to engage in that too.’

Tell us more about what you hope to achieve and how you will go about that.

I will be focused on learning about all of the different people, and where they come from, and why is it that they have made DPC their home. What stands out about it to them? And to help really solidify that as we’re coming back from this COVID and being away. I really want to take a season of learning and understanding – hearing what people really have wanted. If they were going to answer the question ‘How is the church a place of spiritual formation for you?’ I want to help cultivate that as part of their life journey and their story.

Online worship and digital ministry offerings continue to serve as a meaningful ways of participating for those juggling hectic schedules or those evaluating the COVID situation. What are your thoughts on the ever-changing landscape of church life?

Technology definitely can’t erase or take place of meeting in person, but it certainly has been a great stopgap. It can be something for really busy families, where they can just stop in (online) and be a part of something, when they can’t leave home. I definitely understand that if you’re a busy parent, you’ve got to get home from work, get dinner on the table, and you’ve got to finish homework or whatever you need to do – it’s much easier to participate in life and the church community, especially in the middle of the week, if you can just hop on a one-hour Zoom. But then you’ll eventually see those people later on to increase that connection.

This role as Associate Pastor for Education and Family Ministries is one that deals with people of all ages. What will be your approach in connecting with our members in these different stages of life?

My creativity, I feel, has helped me capture the minds and hearts of the youth and children; but that is something that adults also really crave – especially younger adults. With the older adults, I also really love to challenge their thoughts and their spiritual formation and their practices. Of course, they have heard these stories before and many could teach their own Bible classes and spiritual formation classes, but I want to really help them find a way for them to also nourish the lives of other people. To have that intergenerational piece to it is a huge opportunity that I’m really excited about – helping to connect the generations.

You were involved with children’s ministries prior to starting your own family, so has becoming a mom changed the way you work as a pastor?

I definitely have a test lab now (laughs). I’ve always loved children and been curious about their development and their processes and now having had children I can actually see how these can be halted at different ages. You can’t expect a preschooler to do something even at a first-grade level, whereas before I would’ve thought, ‘oh they’re just young children,’ or you can lump all elementary-age people a little bit together – and that just isn’t true. So I can see the developmental nuances a lot more. And this approach creates a program that my own children will thrive in, and make them want to come to church. I want that to be something that they want to do; that they care about; that they want to see their friends there and have those relationships, and have that tradition be a part of it.

Throughout this process, you’ve talked about your love of soccer and your involvement with the sport as a youth and in adulthood. We heard that cooking is another of your hobbies. Is that correct?

More so I like to eat (laughs). Yes, I like to eat and I like to cook. My husband Mike grew up with kind of a bland palate and he picked up cooking from some of his uncles. He just started falling in love with it and found out he was good at it. He really follows the exact – to the T – what the recipe says. I more just like to dump things in a make a medley. I don’t really measure. That’s a huge difference between us. One of the dishes I’ve been cooking ever since I was younger, during college, was just something my mom cut out of a magazine. I think it was something Oprah recommended. It was just pasta, chicken, and broccoli. And I was so young that I didn’t understand the differences between wines – and I just grabbed this thing called red wine vinegar, which is very different than actual wine (laughs). But I just loved the flavor and the taste. It was just really easy and delicious and I have made that at least once every other week for the past 15 to 20 years of my life. It’s definitely a go-to in our house.

To hear more from Becca, we invite you to watch the recording of her recent Meet & Greet event below.