Sierra Lutheran High School alum gets call to serve

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That moment when the boss calls to offer you your first job, your first real job, is a memorable one. So just imagine how Taylor Negrete felt when he not only got a call, but The Call, from The Boss.

The longtime northern Nevada resident, who was born in Carson City and grew up in Minden and Dayton, recently experienced the duality and poignancy of all this when he received his first Call to serve the Lord as Worship Pastor at Selma First Baptist Church in Selma, Calif., and in the process becoming the first alum in Sierra Lutheran High School history to become a pastor.

“The day I was ordained, the board of the church gathered around me and prayed for me. I remember feeling like it was surreal. It was one of those moments I had longed for and dreamt about,” Negrete recalled.

“Since I was little, my answer to any career question was always to be a pastor. I remember seeing pastors growing up and being in awe of them. That same kind of awe that kids have when they see police officers or firemen. As I got older, that passion and answer never changed.”

It was preordained in the eyes of many at Sierra Lutheran that Negrete, a member of the Class of 2014, would one day be theologically ordained, having earned the unqualified respect of his peers and teachers that ultimately garnered him the Christi Lux, Light of Christ Award, his senior year.

“Taylor was definitely a spiritual leader on campus and very gifted musically,” SLHS Principal Dr. Tami Seddon recalled. “In fact, he wrote a song called “Turning Pages” that the seniors sang at graduation.”

Serving his brothers and sisters in ministry has always had spiritual and literal meaning to Negrete, who has followed his father, Jack, and mother, Cheri in the family business, so to speak. Both his parents were instrumental in planting Lifepoint Church in Minden, which has grown to become one of the largest evangelical churches in the area, and then later Centerpoint Church in Dayton.

“My parents had a huge impact on my decision to pursue ministry and serve the Lord,” Negrete said. “They exemplified the type of life I want to live and the type of legacy I want to leave. I have seen my parents be in ministry my entire life and have seen first hand the blessings that followed due to their faithfulness.”

After graduating from Sierra Lutheran, Negrete went on to William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with a minor in Theology, where he received rich opportunities on campus and in the community to further his passion for worship ministry, but not without some early trepidation.

“I remember first getting to Jessup and I saw all of the amazing musicians and I remember being so discouraged,” Negrete said. “But little by little, God continued to give me opportunities to use my talents to glorify Him. I decided to listen to who He has called me to be which allowed me have these opportunities.”

Those opportunities included substantive growth experiences that included being a part of the university’s chapel band and serving various churches in the Sacramento area with music ministry that led to his most significant undergraduate growth as Worship Director at Lincoln Christian Life Center in Lincoln, CA.

“My biggest mentor was Pastor Bill Rath from Lincoln Christian Life Center,” Negrete continued. “Pastor Bill gave me my first ministry position as Worship Director and is still a very close friend.”

“He showed me the ins and outs of what it means to be a pastor. We experienced amazing highs and got through some tough lows, but through it all, he taught me what it truly means to be a leader.”

The tutelage not only grew Negrete, personally, but the church as well, with Negrete’s involvement helping the number of parishioners grow from 40 to 110 people during his tenure.

“During this time, I had the opportunity to actually take what I was learning in college and actually put it into practice. The things that I dreamt of doing God gave me the opportunity to do.”

It was eight months later, after graduating from William Jessup a semester early, that Negrete, received that seminal Call for his first pastorship as Worship Pastor at Selma First Baptist Church, working alongside his father, who became the senior pastor there a year ago. The opportunity represented the realization of a lifelong dream.

“My wife and I began praying to determine if it was God’s will and His call for us to also move to Selma to help,” Negrete explained. “After many confirmations, God made it clear that we were supposed to move from Sacramento to the Central Valley.

Now, standing in that place of service and influence that he longed for, Negrete has welcomed new experiences in ministry, and sees an even broader understanding of church work that often goes unnoticed.

“I oversee worship ministry, and I also have been given opportunities to give sermons. I am enjoying the opportunity to grow as a leader and continue developing my pastoral skills.”

“...There is so much that happens (behind the scenes). Every service or event you go to is both extensively prayed over, prepared, executed and then discussed/debriefed. Lots of practicing, meeting, and researching that goes into the many facets of ministry to be able to reach the most people for Christ.”

In a time when church attendance has seen a decline, particularly with young people, Negrete recalls the critical impact Christian education had on his upbringing, and the need for the Church to trust its rising pastors.

“I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to attend a faith-based high school. I wish I could go back to the old Taylor in times of high school frustration to remind him of how blessed he was to attend a school that cared so deeply about his faith.”

“I think that my biggest advice to the Church is to invest in the millennial generation...The truth is, this new generation of leaders is eager to be used. I get that having young eager pastors or volunteers can be intimidating, but we need experienced pastors to take us under their wings and to allow us to learn from them,” Negrete explained.

“I encourage experienced pastors to think about the people who believed in them, to think about the things that they tried that people shook their head at, to give young pastors the opportunity to learn so we can be equipped to continue to build the next generation of believers.”

And possibly have more on Call than on call waiting.


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