Pastor Andy Nagel: Open to God’s Call for Central Now

Pastor Andy's ministry journey started at a Presbyterian church middle school youth group. That's when his mother had a conversion experience, and the family regularly went to church. Up until then, religion and church attendance weren't a family priority. Andy said at first, he just liked the cool youth group activities, but he began to think more deeply about what Christianity meant. He wrestled with questions about what matters in life and how you live it—against the backdrop of his home in quirky Boulder, CO.

He wasn't thinking about becoming a church pastor when he majored in English in college. But he had an active spiritual life and, through a pastor who had been a missionary, spent a summer in Costa Rica working with a local pastor. "I began to think: I want to do this," he said, "but not as a missionary—the church in America needs help as well."

While a student at Princeton Seminary, Andy worked in ministerial roles at churches and knew it was the right path for him. His first church after graduation was in Maryland. It took several more years before Andy made a connection with Central Presbyterian Church. He met George Antonakos (a now retired pastor) at a national meeting, and George invited him to visit Central and meet Pastor John Schmidt. Andy said he enjoyed the meeting and was impressed with Central, but it wasn't the right time to leave his position. But four years later, he was called to serve by Central as our associate pastor.

His decision was based on the qualities he saw in Central and the collaborative approach to ministry. "There's a strong team approach; everyone is very thoughtful and caring about our mission."

Andy arrived at Central in January 2015 as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Mission. Despite taking on more responsibility when Pastor John retired in 2020, it's still his title. By then, the church had already pivoted to online worship because of COVID and  bringing people back to in-person church and activities. While that was a challenging time, Andy said, "I was impressed with how supportive and caring the congregation was throughout it all."

He continues to develop his spiritual life by often turning to the Bible—selecting Galatians 4 and Romans 8 as significant passages. He reads Christian thought leaders and is participating in a program in spiritual direction. He plans to start a doctoral program at St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute this summer. Outside of church, Andy regularly goes to a boxing gym, follows Bruce Springsteen passionately, and finds time for some favorite shows on Netflix, and sports. He has switched his baseball allegiance to the Baltimore Orioles, but he's still a Denver Broncos fan. Sadly, he has not convinced his three sons, ages 15, 13, and 9, to support the Broncos.

As we move forward after COVID, Andy said he appreciates how Central is flexible and intentional. "I see the staff, leadership, and people open to what God is calling us to do now," he said. "We don't look at how we always do something; instead, we ask how can we do this better or make more of an impact?" He appreciates Central's focus on community—both inside the church and in our surrounding community. "We have lots of potential to do more to increase the quality and health of our community and be a blessing."

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