Witmer to Retire in September, 2017

September 28, 2016

After twenty years of dedicated service to Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Timothy Z. Witmer, Professor of Practical Theology, will retire in September 2017. He will be transitioning to full-time pastoral ministry at St. Stephen Reformed Church (PCA) in New Holland, PA, a church that, by God’s grace, he led from the UCC to the PCA.

"I'm deeply grateful for the leadership of Dr. Witmer in our practical theology department. He has faithfully served our students for nearly two decades," said provost and executive vice president Dr. Jeffrey Jue. "Dr. Witmer has set for us an unwavering example of how to care for the flock of Christ at St. Stephen Reformed Church. I wish him all the best as he transitions to full-time pastoral ministry."

As a long-standing member of our faculty, Dr. Witmer has filled many roles at the seminary. Dr. Witmer joined the teaching staff of Westminster in the Fall of 1997 as a part-time Lecturer in Practical Theology. He was appointed to the voting faculty as a full-time tenure track Assistant Professor beginning in July, 1999. His responsibilities included being Director of the Doctor of Ministry program and the Director of Supervised Ministry (which he retitled Mentored Ministry).

He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002. The Philadelphia Presbytery of the PCA installed him in his role as teacher at the seminary on February 28, 2003. Dr. Edmund Clowney preached at the installation service on “Preaching Christ in the Power of the Spirit.” It was Dr. Clowney’s last visit to campus before he went home to glory.

On November 29, 2006 he was inaugurated as Professor of Practical Theology. His inaugural lecture was entitled “Seminary: A Place to Prepare Pastors” which surveyed the history of ministerial preparation in the United States and conveyed his passion to see students receive holistic training for pastoral ministry.

In 2006 he was given the responsibility of Director of the M.Div program. He initiated a process of conducting exit interviews of all graduating M.Div students. He was also appointed as Faculty Homiletics Coordinator in 2006 and authored “Preaching at Westminster” which includes the Core Values in Preaching. These were endorsed by the faculty and board and continue to be the track followed by the homiletics courses at the seminary. As Faculty Homiletics Coordinator he has also planned and presided at the Annual Preaching Conference for the past dozen years.    

He was elected by the Faculty to serve as their Moderator in Fall of 2010 and served in that role until 2015. He has served as Coordinator of the Practical Theology Department since 2002.

In 2010 his book The Shepherd Leader was published (P&R). It has since been translated into Korean and Chinese, and will soon be available in Russian. This was followed by The Shepherd Leader at Home in 2012 (Crossway), which has also been translated into Korean. His latest book, Mindscape: What to Think About Instead of Worrying (New Growth), was published in 2014.

He was ordained as a minister of the Gospel by the Mid-Atlantic Presbytery of the PCA in 1979 and served as Associate Pastor at Springton Lake (formerly Berith) PCA (1979–1986), Crossroads Community Church (1986–2014), and currently as Pastor at St. Stephen Reformed Church (2015–). 

As he anticipates retirement from Westminster, Dr. Witmer is looking forward to devoting more energy to his pastoral ministry and spending time with Barbara, his wife of 41 years, their three children and seven grandchildren.

Dr. Wither served WTS well as a mentor and shepherd. While I am thankful to God for his ministry with us, I am excited for him for this opportunity. 

Dr. Charles Dunahoo, Chairman of the Board


"Dr. Witmer served WTS well as a mentor and shepherd," says Chairman of the Board Dr. Charles Dunahoo. "While I am thankful to God for his ministry with us, I am excited for him for this opportunity."

Our community wishes Dr. Witmer all the best as he finishes his last year at Westminster and enters this new phase of ministry. We are deeply indebted to Dr. Witmer for the enthusiasm, steadfastness and wisdom with which he ministered to our students, staff, and faculty for so many years.


The picture directly above is of St. Stephen Reformed Church. In the opening picture, vice president for advancement Dr. David Garner stands to the left of Dr. Timothy Witmer at a recent visit to the church.