As a pastor, scholar and thought leader, Walter Kim brings a unique combination of skills to lead the National Association of Evangelicals into the next decade. He is the son of immigrant parents and has lived in major urban centers such as New York City, Vancouver and Boston, in the suburbs of Chicago and Pittsburgh, and in a fading coal town at the foot of the Appalachians. His experience of America reflects the diversity of the country and of the evangelical community.

God used a conversation in a parking lot after watching Star Wars to plant the seeds of the gospel in Walter. A couple of years later, he had an unexpectedly charismatic conversion at a Korean-American Presbyterian conference. This was followed by years of discipleship in white, midwestern evangelicalism, which then ripened in the international reformed theology at Regent College and Park Street Church. Each stage enabled him to enter various denominational streams learning from the best of what each tradition offers.

Walter currently serves as pastor for leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, and will continue in this role as he leads the NAE. He ministered for 15 years at Boston’s historic Park Street Church, a congregation that played a key role in the NAE’s founding. Walter has been a member of the NAE board since 2013 and has presented at NAE events, contributed to NAE publications and served on working groups on a variety of issues, including ethics and church life, racial reconciliation and the politics of sexuality.

He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, his M.Div. from Regent College in Vancouver, and his B.A. from Northwestern University in philosophy and history. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and a licensed minister in the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. Walter is married to Toni Kim, and they have two teenagers.

This article originally appeared in Evangelicals magazine.