Tamala P. Kelly ’09, M.Div. ’14
When Rene Colon ’14, M.Div. ’16, walked into the building on Mission Center Road, he realized he had been there before, though it seemed like another lifetime ago. Bogey’s Night Club once stood at the very same address—it had been a place of partying and excess that Colon knew well. Now, it was a place to train pastors and professional leaders to impact the world for Christ.
“It blew me away,” said Colon, a native of Brooklyn, New York. “This place was transformed just how my life was transformed.”
It was at that location, Azusa Pacific’s regional campus in Mission Valley, that Colon would take the next steps in his pastoral and ministry career, earning a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and Master of Divinity under the mentorship of professors like Tony Baron, D.Min., Psy.D.
Known for his inimitable laughter and gift for understanding and connecting with others, Colon describes his role in ministry as anything but traditional. At Creative Flow Arts & Entertainment, Colon works alongside founder Tamera Hill to further the organization’s mission to harness the power of the arts for community education and engagement around social issues. The nonprofit is currently producing a film about human trafficking in San Diego.
Colon, a retired Navy veteran, sees creative media playing a critical role in reaching today’s audiences with a faith-based message. “People don’t go to church like they used to,” he said. “You walk into a room right now and everybody in that room is on their cell phone. If you’re not going to get them to church, then you need to bring the church to them.”
Bringing the church to the people also means showing up for families in their darkest hour. At the San Diego Compassion Project, co-founded by Tasha Williamson, Colon provides pastoral leadership to come alongside families of homicide victims with long-term support and services. “When you’re able to do that for families that can’t afford funerals, that cannot afford memorials, to let them know that there’s community around them—that’s the heart of Christ,” said Bishop Terrell Fletcher of City of Hope International Church.
And Colon knows, perhaps better than most, that the right message at the right time can be a powerful and transformative force in the life of someone who is grieving, hurting, or searching. Count on him to be there, making sure they hear it.
“If you’re not going to get them to church, then you need to bring the church to them.”