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Pastor Rob, with wife Cathy outside the First Baptist Church,
is the Senior Pastor at the church.

ROB PATTERSON: Pastor's ministry extends from Galt to the Ends of the Earth

By Kim Borgwardt

Pastor Rob's personal slogan 'From Galt to the Ends of the Earth, From the Ends of the Earth to Galt' could be used to describe his ministry.

He and his wife Cathy came to Galt in 1996 when he accepted the call as Senior Pastor of
First Baptist Church. Since he doesn't have an Associate Pastor Rob has to depend on volunteers providing leadership roles. "There are a number of highly gifted people making themselves available to help with the load."

Though the congregation is small, there are fewer than 200 members, it remains vital and active. Contrary to what others might think, "we're not an old folks church, we have a real strong, vibrant seniors ministry." To prove his point the pastor told me, "our oldest member is 96 and she's still a wonderful contributor to the ministry."

The seniors aren't the only ones who help keep the spirit alive at First Baptist, "we are a multimedia church service, we have a full band at both services with teens playing in the band and even preaching."

Music is a major part of Pastor Rob's ministry, a talented singer/songwriter he recorded a CD in 1998 titled To the Ends of the Earth.

For more information about First Baptist or Pastor Rob's music visit their web site at or attend one of their services at 653 A Street in Galt, California.

Patterson is currently the church's music leader, a role he'll willingly relinquish to someone else should they choose to step forward.

Twice a week
First Baptist Church hosts a guitar circle, Monday from 4 to 5 p.m. and Friday from 7 to 8 p.m. This event is free and is open to the community, anyone can come and observe or bring their guitar or other acoustic instrument and play along. "It doesn't have to be church-based music" he said.

When the pastor found out that only two of his members are native Galtonians he told the congregates, "God has brought you here from the ends of the earth." They indicated that "they're here and they want to do something in Galt."

What they've done is followed their pastor's lead and gotten involved with the other churches in the community. They 'share their kids' and take turns having
Vacation Bible School.

The Patterson's four children, 14-year-old Joseph, 13-year-old Jerry, 12-year-old Daniel and 9-year-old Mary have attended youth activities at other churches and gone to their worship services. "The children enjoy the differences and grow to appreciate that the differences have purposes."

Rob stressed "I love our local churches, part of my passion is to help churches of other denominations." He was one of the clergy members who participated in the ecumenical service at St. Christopher Parish during their open house ceremonies.

Every Tuesday he attends the pastor's luncheon meeting at Shepherd of the
Valley Lutheran Church.

He also volunteers as a Police Chaplain, a program that was started locally by Pastor Tim Stevenson of
Horizon Community Church. Pastor Tim is the Senior Chaplain and he rotates monthly shifts with Pastor Rob and Pastor Larry Brand of River of Life Celebration Center. They assist the police with death notifications and are able to stay with the families to help comfort them, something the officers are not able to do.

"I have great teachers in this area with the pastors and policemen," Patterson remarked, "I've learned a lot from them."

Another passion of Rob's is missionary work. Teenagers from the congregation, inspired by his desire to help others, have given up their summer vacations to go on mission trips to
Mexico where they've helped a local community.

When Rob was a seminary student he took his first overseas missionary trip to
Indonesia. In April First Baptist Church was invited to preach the gospel in Estonia along with over 40 other Baptist churches from the United States. Pastor and Cathy were among the 11 members of the congregation who accepted the offer of the missionary trip. The church will be sending a team to Kenya in January 2001.

The one event that profoundly affected his life was the death of his mother when he was five years old.

His father worked in radio and then became self-employed; his job entailed collecting money from pinball machines and jukeboxes and involved traveling within a 100-mile radius of their hometown of
Coldwater, Michigan.

During the 1950s and '60s he was a record producer for little country-rock acts and Rob would accompany him.

After his wife died he hired a housekeeper to come in and make breakfast for his five children and get them off to school. His work hours meant getting home later at night but in spite of that all his children managed to do well in school.

When his father's second marriage didn't work out Rob said, "I missed the parent generation entirely, but my grandmothers were there to fill the void."

With his father gone Rob and his siblings began running wild in the streets, "but we were never caught." Because he showed promise as a student a teacher took him aside and tried to help. He was encouraged to enter a public speaking contest that a vocational educational club called DECA was sponsoring and ended up winning Student of the Year in Michigan and attended the nationals in Florida.

Rob vented his creative energies by being in a band in junior high school and acting in the Community Theater. These talents are ones that he has brought with him to the pulpit.

His father remarried again just before Rob entered middle school; his new stepmother was a Christian and she became a witness to him.

At the age of 26 he surrendered himself to Jesus, before that he was living what he called 'a double life'.

He met Cathy in college and they were married eight months later.

Cathy is a stay-at-home mom and also tutors in the
HOST program at Fairsite School. She plays flute, drums and guitar and accompanies her husband in church and at funerals.

Rob has a Masters of Divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree from there.

His ministry began at the House of Prayer - Church of God in Christ in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he was the only Anglo in the African-American fellowship. He was baptized by Pastor Ezell Plair and served as an unordained deacon.

Before coming to Galt he was the pastor at Snyder Lane Baptist Church in Rohnert Park, California.

Pastor Rob and Cathy now consider this area their home and the First Baptist congregation their family, "I bought a house here in Galt intending to stay."