Pastor Profile Kalvin Cressel
Name: Pastor Kalvin “KC” Cressel
Church: Greater Mt Sinai MBC of Compton since 1995
Education: Cal State Dominguez Hills; interdisciplinary studies
Occupation: Senior Special Agent for the US Department of Justice
Family: Married 30 years to First Lady Pam Cressel; father of a daughter who is a lawyer and a son who plays college football; and three adopted children, including one who now attends an art institute in Spain.
Q: How did you become pastor of Greater Mt Sinai?
A: The church has been in existence for over 50 years. I grew up in that church as a young man. I later became the minister of youth.
While I was in special agent training in Georgia, I got a call from the founder’s wife and my wife and they told me that the pastor was leaving. I said, “Oh my Lord, what are we going to do? We’re not going to have a pastor!” And the former first lady said, “We do have a pastor. You are.” I said, “I can’t be a pastor I’m a special agent! That would require a whole lot of work.” And she said, “You are the one we want.” When I came back I told the church “I don’t know if it’s going to work out, but I’ll do the best I can.”
Q: When did you receive the call to ministry?
A: It was during a time in which I had made a commitment to the Lord. I got married young and my wife and I were both trying to get through college together. I said “Lord if you allow me to get through college and get my degree, I’ll surrender the rest of my life to serving you.” Sure enough, after I made that vow to the Lord everything turned around in my life. My wife and I both graduated with our bachelor degrees together, and that’s kind of how our life has been since then. We’ve done everything together.
Right away I made myself available and open to the Lord’s leading. It was so vivid and so real and I remember just being restless. I couldn't sleep at night and I heard an audible voice saying “Kalvin feed my sheep.” I said, “Yes, Lord, I hear you.” I began to pray and I opened up the Bible and the word took me directly to Peter’s call from Christ after He rose: “Peter do you love me? Feed my sheep.”
That was confirmation for me.
Q: What is your approach to preaching?
A: I’m a combination of many different styles. I’m a fun pastor—a teacher and preacher. For instance, I preached a message dealing with the movie Frozen. Depending on the crowd I’m dealing with, I use things they can relate to.
Q: You mentioned you are a special agent by trade—how did you become a federal agent and what does your job entail?
A: While I was in school I was working for the U.S. Custom Service as a mail clerk. That's where I started and I advanced from there. With my bachelors degree I was able to get into the federal agency. I was able to get a job as an intelligence officer and later on I became a special agent. Likewise, my wife was working for the Internal Revenue Service and moved up.
There is a joke I like to share: I either convert them or I convict them—because as a federal agent for the government I am tasked with overseeing the ethics and the morals of the federal system and the department of justice. I make certain that the officers and the agents and the employees of the FBI, DEA and the ATF are operating within the laws. I investigate them. I also do undercover assignments. A couple of years ago I was handed this big case where they put me in jail in a federal prison in Florida.
Q: How do you balance the time between your full time career as a federal agent and a full time position as a pastor?
A: Time management. It’s difficult to do everything and give it your fullest. My wife and I both have these full time careers and both of our jobs are very demanding. Balancing that along with the ministry and a family—it takes doing things ahead of time. We have to prepare in advance. We have to make sure that whenever we have any down time we take advantage of that. But also, because we work hard we play hard. We do things like travel together and plan ways to get away to relieve some of the pressures in life. In actuality I wear both hats well.
Q: With a daughter who is an attorney and a son who plays college football, what is your secret to raising successful children?
A: First of all we have a strong faith in God. We have always leaned and depended on the Lord wholeheartedly and we have instilled those same values in our children. Our children all know the Lord and all enjoy life. We exposed them to all types of training programs and the finest college preparatory programs; we gave them all types of opportunities to succeed. They were able to travel and do things. We always tried to find out what they were most interested in and gear them more towards that.