David Pan (潘延政)- Associate Pastor, Mandarin Congregation

Since 2009, Pastor Pan has served at CBCOP to lead the newly planted Mandarin Congregation. From 2005 to 2008, he acted as the Assistant General Secretary of the Chicago Chinese Christian Missions. He received a Master of Art in Theology from Wheaton College. He also has a Master and Ph. D. in Material Science from the University of Delaware. He worked at Argonne National Labs for 23 years before taking the call to be a full time minister.

He and his wife Marisa have three children. During his free time Pastor Pan enjoys reading good Christian books. He loves music and singing in the choir. After a heart attack in 1991, he gave up tennis and other sports. Now he walks in the park or on the treadmill in his leisure time.

Tell us a little bit of the beginnings of the Mandarin Congregation and where it is today.
Pastor Fung and a few others, including Wing Cheng and Pattle Pun, started a Mandarin ministry around 1983. The ministry continued under the leadership of Pastor Man and Hannah Ho. Worship services were conducted in Cantonese with Mandarin translation that was not an attractive format for Mandarin speaking people. Therefore, a separate Mandarin Sunday service began in September 2009. The Mandarin congregation quickly grew from 20 plus people to 40 plus people.

The number of Mandarin speaking people in the Chicago land area is growing rapidly. Historically, immigrant workers primarily filled the church but highly educated people and working professionals have become a larger proportion now. To further reach outside the local community we have begun to establish satellite fellowship groups in areas about 15-20 minutes away from the church.
Why did you feel a desire to minister at CBCOP in particular?
I sensed a clear calling from God for me to minister in CBCOP. I left CCCM at the end of 2008 because I always knew that pastoring a church was something God wanted me to do and He had been preparing me for many years. I contacted Pastor Man in January 2009 to see if there was an opportunity to serve. The Church Board immediately approved a temporary six month appointment from March to August 2009. Mandarin worship was to start in September 2009. My appointment was going to be temporary because CBCOP had already identified another candidate who was graduating shortly. Due to extenuating circumstances surrounding visa issues this candidate had to withdraw. I did not plan for this to happen but felt that God’s hand must be at work here. After a few months of affirming progress with the Mandarin ministry, the Church Board asked me to consider the assistant pastor position on a full time basis.
You have a unique path to becoming a pastor. Can you describe your experience and how it will help you minister to the Mandarin speaking community?
I agree. My path to becoming a pastor is not usual and has really helped me reach people. My spiritual journey and secular experience seem to enable me to connect Biblical passages to everyday living. Often, I get feedback from people telling me that my messages are relevant to their lives and reveal God’s truth. Most of the new comers in the Mandarin congregation are young scientists. They respect people with my kind of background and experience.

I spent many years at Argonne national Laboratory in the area of energy system development from 1976 to 1985. My work included nuclear power, magneto-hydrodynamic power and nuclear-coal co-generation. Besides the technical aspects, my experience in this period exposed me to a very broad view on the strategy of meeting global energy needs. From 1985 to 1991, I worked in the Naval Systems Division of the FMC Corporation, starting as a principal engineer and ending as a technical area manager. My responsibility was to develop enabling technology for the company to win large international, naval weapon contracts. Afterwards, I returned to Argonne National Laboratory in 1991 and stayed there until 2004 when I decided to answer God’s call and entered Wheaton College for my master’s degree in theology.

Through my work I have learned how to work with many different kinds of people and study science with a God perspective. My work experience has opened up my mind to many areas of God’s creation. I have especially developed a much deeper understanding of the book of Genesis which I would love to share with you.

Last, I am a family man. I have a wife and three grown children. I understand the challenges and joy of being married and having a family. All of these experiences help me through God, to minister to the Mandarin speaking community.