Where’s the Dean Now? Catching Up with Dr. James Lewis

 In All Church of God, Central, CHOG, Colleges & Universities

By Carl Stagner

A tender heart, sage wisdom, and smile that will light up a room make for a combination of characteristics impossible to forget. Certainly, Rev. Dr. James Lewis is far more than these immediate impressions, yet such traits have a way of making indelible marks that transcend the individual lessons taught, tests administered, and methods of ministry carried out. Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry at Anderson University from 2014 to 2016—and having served as associate dean for seven years before that, among numerous other roles that stretch farther back—Lewis stepped back from the broader Church of God spotlight several years ago. Unwilling to step back from ministry, however, Dean Lewis has re-engaged in service in a setting both sweet and keenly familiar.

Many who know Lewis well know he’s been serving as senior pastor of South Park Church of God in Houston, Texas, for the past six years. Not everyone knows, however, that this man whose life was spent in central Indiana for the two-and-a-half decades actually started out in Texas.

Rev. Dr. James W. Lewis

“I’m a native of Texas,” Lewis explains. “I was raised and educated in Houston. After completing my bachelor of science in math and an MBA in finance from Texas A&M University, I moved back to Houston, where I worked as a CPA for a large international auditing and tax company. During that time, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior! My life has been an exciting journey of faith ever since.”

Under the pastoral leadership of Rev. Dr. Carl T. Crawford, Lewis and his family lived their spiritually formative years. South Park Church of God, where Lewis is pastor today, was their home church then. It was also there where Lewis accepted the call to vocational ministry. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was first on the agenda, followed by the PhD program at Duke, but in the early 1990s his chapter at Anderson University began. In both Texas and North Carolina, Lewis found opportunities to gain experience in local pastoral leadership in the Church of God.

Pastor Lewis speaking at South Park on Easter 2023.

“I was granted a dual appointment both to the undergraduate Bible, Religion, and Philosophy Department (later named the Department of Religious Studies) and to the School of Theology (later named after merger the SOTCM). I taught several courses over my tenure in the undergraduate school and the SOTCM in the areas of Christian ethics, theological ethics, Liberal Arts Seminar, Christian ministry, Christian understandings of Christian experience, Christian theology, reconciliation, African American history in the American context, and Christian spirituality, etc.”

While in Anderson, the Lewis family devoted time and talent to the building up of their local congregation, Sherman Street Church of God. Lewis also stepped into the role of interim pastor for six months when the need arose.

“After my official retirement after twenty-four years from AU in June 2016, I had no idea what my future plans would be,” Lewis admits. “So, it is full circle that I find myself back to where my ministry pilgrimage began—the South Park Church of God, Houston, Texas.”

South Park Church sign

Sadly, Dr. Lewis’s beloved wife Barbara passed away less than a month before his present position at South Park Church of God began. Lewis testifies that he misses her greatly, but God’s grace has sustained him. “I love ministry in the local church,” he continues, “and I am passionate about ministry in our community and in the great city of Houston. In this season, I am content and convinced that I am where God has called me to be. I feel so very joyful and extremely blessed.”

Truly, little has changed about Rev. Dr. James Lewis. The leadership, mentorship, teaching, and ministry of the former seminary dean produced a lasting impact on the lives of countless students while serving at AU; the difference today is only location. God’s work with Lewis at the helm of South Park Church of God ministry has been revealed in persons joining the congregation—and bringing with them valuable gifts and leadership skills for service. Opportunities for partnership to make their city a better place are being seized. Congregational worship is marked by its authenticity, energy, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. And Dr. Lewis is actively hearing and responding to the exciting adventure upon which the Lord continues to lead him.

Learn more about the Anderson University School of Theology and Christian Ministry at www.anderson.edu/theology-christian-ministry. Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

Feature (top) photo: Rev. Dr. James Lewis stands left of center in the lineup of seminary faculty in 2014.

Start typing and press Enter to search