MEET OUR PASTOR
Rev. Dr. Tim Neustifter
Dr. Tim Neustifter, who was appointed to St. Paul's in 2012, comes from a broad background of ministerial experience. He has previously pastored four congregations in Albuquerque, New Mexico and seven in Louisiana since his ordination 1991. He has also held several staff and volunteer chaplaincy positions in NM and LA area hospitals and police departments.
Family relocations required by the ministry have been part of Tim’s life from its beginning. He was born the son of a Federal Bureau of Prisons chaplain, and lived in Illinois, Colorado, West Virginia, and Kentucky before moving to Texas where he attended Garland High School. He is a 1982 graduate of United Methodist related McMurry University, Abilene, TX, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He received a Master of Theological Studies degree in 1987 and a Master of Divinity degree in 1991, all from Perkins School of theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. In 2004, he received a Doctor of Ministry degree: his project focused on spiritual transformation through financial stewardship.
In 1990, while still in seminary, Tim joined the USAF as a Second Lieutenant Chaplain Candidate and received assignments in Maine and Texas during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He received Ecclesiastical Endorsement from the United Methodist Endorsing Agency in 1994 and became the Protestant Chaplain for the NM Air National Guard until transferring to the LA ANG in 2002. Chaplain Neustifter played significant roles as part of the guard’s response efforts during 9/11, and when he assisted Los Alamos, NM residents displaced by the Cerro Grande Fire and LA residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, and Isaac. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal twice, the Humanitarian Service Medal, the LA Commendation Medal, and three LA Emergency Service Medals for his ministry during and following these storms. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 2007 and, following a deployment to the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyz Republic in 2011, became the Wing Chaplain for the 159 Fighter Wing.
While he supports the work of the Extension Ministries of the UMC and treasures cooperative work among ecumenical and inter-religious faith groups, Tim is most enthusiastic about the work of the local church, where his focus has always been on strengthening the ministry of the laity. As a life-long student of leadership, particularly servant leadership, he has mentored laity, staff, and clergy into taking more authoritative positions of leadership in the local church. He takes seriously the ministry of administration, relating that “When the temporal affairs of a local church are in order, then the most effective ministries of witness, nurture, and outreach can be provided.” Tim is also a trained and seasoned Transitional Intentional Interim Minister. In this capacity he enjoys aiming congregations toward optimal functioning in ministry by providing effective pastoral leadership and by encouraging a collaborative leadership environment shared among clergy and laity.
Tim and his wife Linda Beth of 22 years share a blended family that includes Linda Beth’s daughter Angela and two grandchildren Adam and Willow, and Tim’s son Karsten. Tim enjoys studying the life and leadership lessons of the astronauts of the 1960’s space programs, model rocketry, vegetable gardening, hiking and camping.