Meet our Pastors & Leadership

Dr. William J. Carl III

Dr. William J. Carl III

(205) 933-1830

Bill Carl is a second generation preacher. “Like most people, my faith journey is not a straight line from point A to point B. I was wary like all PKs of ever going into ministry. But, as they say, if you want to make God laugh, just tell God your plans!” Bill grew up in Oklahoma watching his father’s church grow to full maturity. “It was the lay people in that con- gregation—Sunday School teachers, youth directors, and the choir director in addition to family members—who helped wa- ter and fertilize my faith.”

Initially a music major at the University of Tulsa, Bill realized he couldn’t make it the rest of his life on an “inherited faith,” changing direction to study religion and philosophy. “My mentor in seminary, George Buttrick, modeled how to be intellectual, spiritual and pastoral all at the same time.” Bill went on to teach at Pittsburgh and Union seminaries, where he learned from students and colleagues how deep faith can be when, “We open ourselves to God’s presence in our midst.”

Bill served as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas for 22 years. “Members of that congregation influenced my faith as well as those I met on the mission fields in Taiwan, South Africa, Korea, Russia, India, Mexico and China. Friends I made preaching at camp meetings in Georgia and African-American churches in Dallas and Pittsburgh taught me that God has a multi-faceted approach so diverse and invigorating it nearly takes your breath away. My weekend on a Walk to Emmaus reinforced that feeling. My wife Jane and our two sons have also inspired my growth in the faith.”

For the last ten years, Bill has served as President of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. “The joy of new faith on the faces of young students keeps me going with humility and confidence. I’ve seen myself at Pittsburgh Seminary as pastor to the community. A little over a year ago, as part of healthy succession planning having completed my goals, I sensed my call was coming to an end. Almost immediately I began to re- alize God was calling me back to the parish. It is this ongoing rhythm from classroom to sanctuary that has marked both my ministry and my life. Then out of the blue came the wonderful folks from IPC! The past few weeks meeting with Independent Presbyterian Church’s PNC reminded me that God is rarely through with us—God always has something for us to do.”

“God only knows what will come next,” says Bill. “But, it’s better not to anticipate because when we do we’re usually wrong! For that reason, I have always trusted in the Sovereignty of God and let God take care of the rest. Sure, we stumble and fall along the way, but God always picks us up and gets us going again, and for that I am eternally thankful.”

Bill’s better half, Jane Carl, is just as enthusiastic about this call to IPC. “I am so excited to think that Bill and I will become part of your Independent family for the coming years. It is still very hard to process that we actually know what the next chapter in our life will be. And, it seems so right. God really does provide and surprise. We are very grateful and pleased that the next chap- ter appears to be titled ‘Life at IPC.’ Surely God’s hand is guiding the process along. I will have all of you and IPC in my prayers as we move ahead. I know that you will keep Bill and me in your prayers as we prepare to move to your community to do God’s work with you. I look forward to deepening our friendships as part of the IPC family, working together for the Glory of God.”

“As a servant of the Church, I believe in Jesus of Nazareth, who came as God among us, ‘the Word made flesh,’ to confront and comfort, to chal- lenge and forgive.”

“My faith and my whole life have been a reflection of the pattern of belonging, believing and behaving. As a preach- er’s kid and the son of deeply faithful parents and grandparents I was bap- tized into the faith as a living example of John Calvin’s prevenient grace by being loved into God’s kingdom long before I could ever comprehend any of it intellectually or spiritually. I have spent my life living into what began at my baptism, which is after all the sac- rament of belonging. I am and always have been a servant in the Church of Jesus Christ experiencing at every mo- ment this rhythm of belonging, believ- ing and behaving.

I believe the front line of ministry is not the church building but wherever lay people live and work trying to fig- ure out how to follow Jesus. The church building is where we ‘equip the saints for ministry’ in the world. The question is not “What are we doing on this church campus, but what is God doing out there in the world and how can we get in on it?”