Westmont Magazine Pastor in Training
Rory Graham ’08 Came to Westmont to Prepare for the Ministry
Recruited as a football player for the Army and Navy Academy, a private high school in Carlsbad, Calif., Rory Graham ’08 expected to play college ball. But when he started thinking about the lifestyle of a football player at a secular school, he realized it didn’t support his long-term goal: becoming a pastor.
To help him consider all his options, a counselor dragged Rory to a college fair, where he met a representative from Westmont. “We had a conversation about spiritual things,” Rory recalls. “When I heard about the environment at Westmont, I realized that it fit well with the lifestyle of a pastor.”
As a result, Rory decided to enroll at a school with no football program. Instead of an athletic scholarship, he received a Cultural Diversity Award and a Westmont grant.
“Westmont is more than I expected,” Rory says. “I knew I would get a top-notch education, but I didn’t know the spiritual impact would be so great. I feel the presence of God on campus, and that beats playing football at a big school!”
“My vision is to bring my generation back to worshipping Jesus Christ as Lord,” he says.
The grandson and great-grandson of pastors, Rory felt a call to the ministry early in his life. But as he grew older, his faith waned. Then halfway through high school, he attended a summer camp that changed his life.
“A youth pastor really got through to me,” he recalls. “I realized I had the ability, personality and genealogy to be a pastor and I knew that God was calling me to the ministry.”
After graduating from Westmont with a degree in religious studies, Rory plans to return to his home in Oceanside, Calif., and begin an outreach to students at Palomar College and CSU San Marcos.
“My vision is to bring my generation back to worshipping Jesus Christ as Lord,” he says. ‘The gospel is like a baton that has been passed down through the ages, from Paul to Timothy and all the way down to Dwight Moody and Billy Graham. I’m getting ready to take the baton and run with it.”
Rory tackled a challenging academic load as a freshman and took Hebrew. “I want to read the Old Testament in the original language,” he says. “I plan to take Greek too. Westmont has really stretched me academically. I have never worked so hard.
“The professors are so knowledgeable and they care about the students,” he says. “There is so much community and accountability on campus. It’s a nurturing environment.”
Rory told the North County Times he chose Westmont “to study under some of the brightest Bible scholars in the world.” The paper ran a story about his first semester on Jan. 3, 2005.
As a high school student, Rory led Bible studies and started a chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that became the biggest club on campus. He teaches a Bible study every Wednesday at Westmont and volunteers at Juvenile Hall three times a week, tutoring, leading a worship service and hanging out with kids.
“I’m excited to spend three more years at Westmont,” Rory says. “The students take service very seriously, and that inspires me. I want to do everything unto the Lord.”