Q&A with Jim Pulizzi

Jim Pulizzi is just about to finish up his first month as City Church’s new Director of Children & Families. To help you all get to know him a little better, we asked him a few questions…

What led you to pursue the Director of Children & Family position at City Church…as opposed to anywhere else in the world?
Both my wife and I hold a special place in our hearts for Virginia. I grew up in Chesapeake, and Susan was living in Roanoke before we met. As I left Virginia to study at Covenant in St Louis, I began praying that the Lord would lead me back to Virginia after I completed my studies. Richmond is a wonderful city, and we are so thankful that this is where God has called us to ministry. Not only do we get to minister to children and their families, but we get to do so in a place like City Church.

What are you excited about as you take on this new position? What are you nervous about?
Great question! I am excited to be a part of what God is doing here in Richmond in the lives of children and their families. I am looking forward to getting to know this community and to encourage families with the power of the gospel. This is no small task, and I am definitely nervous about it! As a younger guy, I know that I don’t know everything, and never will. Thankfully I can walk along side of other who are also trying to figure it out as we look to Jesus.

Who/what have been the biggest influences in your life (in any respect–intellectually, spiritually, personality-wise, etc)?
My own family for sure has been a big influence on me and has shaped me into who I am today. I was also involved with YoungLife for several years and met some wonderful people and gained some great mentors who showed me what following Jesus looked like. There are probably too many influences to name, whether it is from my Younglife days, time in seminary, or friends and family. I have been greatly impacted most recently by the work of Tim Keller, James K. A. Smith, Bernard of Clairvaux. I really appreciate the magical story telling of Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling as well…I think that they do a wonderful job of showing how regular, seemingly insignificant folks, can have a huge impact in the world around them.

What part of town do you live in?
We are living in Westover Hills.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Chesapeake, VA.

What were you like in high school?

I will admit that in high school I was a bit of a nerdy and goofy guy. I was a goodstudent, but somehow failed calculus…hopefully this calling doesn’t involve too much advanced math!

I was on the debate team, as well as involved in school government stuff. I liked to joke around with my friends, go to the movies, and hang out with a smaller circle of friends, some of whom I still am very close with even 12 years after graduation.

What did you do AFTER high school?
As I said above, my family played a huge part in shaping me into who I am today. My father was a career Navy man. And so after high school I enlisted in the Navy for about six years. I worked in signals intelligence, cryptology, and information warfare. My first duty station was Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where I deployed on submarines off and on for three years. I then went back home to Norfolk, VA where I served on an aircraft carrier and deployed for the better part of a year in support of operations in the Middle East in that same specialty. Once I got out of the Navy in 2010, I went to school at Regent and then Covenant.

How did you meet your wife?
My wife, Susan, and I met at a YoungLife camp in New York called Lake Champion. I was bringing a group of high school students for the week and she was serving for the whole month on the camp staff. We hit it off, started dating long distance while I went to seminary in St. Louis, and then we got married in January of 2014.

What does a typical weekday look like for you?
A typical weekday for me usually begins with meeting someone for coffee or breakfast, heading into the office and having a time of morning prayer and a time of studying God’s Word. I then move on to answer emails, return calls, etc. Then I begin to work on other things….I am still getting to know all of you, as well as the needs of City Church. So right now this is a lot of prayerful planning of what ministry to children and families will look like this next year. My wife and I are also having dinner with families several times a week as well.

What does a typical weekend look like for you?
Since I have discovered Mrs. Yoder’s donuts at the farmers market…I am hoping my weekend will involve that deliciousness more often than not. We have been going around Richmond discovering parks where Hannah, our 14 month old daughter, can play and have fun. I will ride my bike around if it’s cool enough, brew up a batch of beer at home, and just take some time to enjoy my wife and child. We have lots to discover still so we look forward to trying out new restaurants as well as museums, parks, and getting to know our neighbors.

What are some of your favorite books?
This is a hard question…there are so many good books out there! Far as the Curse is Found by Michael Williams as well as has been a game changer for me ever since reading it back in 2012. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is something that I didn’t read until I was in my twenties, but I have come to really appreciate the grand scale of the story Tolkien tells in those pages. I am a sucker for good spy novels and histories of the Cold War, so I really love Le Carré’s and David Hoffman’s works. Harry Potter is a constant favorite as well; the novels are great and the audiobooks are fantastic for long car rides.

What are some of your favorite foods? Favorite restaurants in town?
I don’t know if I can fairly answer the favorite restaurant in town yet…but I do love a good burger. We went to Carytown Burger and Fries the other day and that was pretty delicious! I enjoy all sorts of food, but especially pizza, ice cream (of course two things that are super nutritious), and good microbrews.

What type of music to do you listen to?
I have been trying to get into classical and jazz, but have no clue about either of those types of music. I probably listen to too many audiobooks or podcasts (West Wing Weekly and Radiolab mostly) to keep up with the newest music out there. I usually find myself listening to Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab, Taking Back Sunday, M83, Sigur Ros, Hammock, and the like more often than not.

Any big plans for the summer?
After moving from St Louis, we are excited to get to know Richmond and we don’t have any big plans now that we are here and close to family again.

How can the congregation be praying for you and your family as you enter into your work here at City Church?
We would appreciate prayer during this season of transition. I want to establish good rhythms and habits in order to care for the families of City Church, as well as for my own family. We have already gotten to meet many of the neighbors on our street, but please pray that we would continue to foster those relationships and that they would develop into friendships.