Roger VanDerWerken is an ordained minister with the American Baptist Churches, USA.
He grew up on a farm in upstate New York, and graduated from Schoharie Central High School in 1974. From 1974-1975 he was a Rotary Exchange student to the Netherlands. In 1975, he was accepted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduating with honors in 1979. Upon graduation, he served on board two ships: USS SAN JOSE (AFS-7), as Communication’s Officer (1980-1982); and USS RAMSEY (FFG-2), as Main Propulsion Assistant (1982-1984). In 1979, through reading the Bible, and as a result of several profound religious experiences, VanDerWerken became a follower of Jesus Christ. In 1984, he resigned his Navy commission in order to receive theological training at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, earning a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) in 1988. Following graduation he served two churches: Associate Pastor, First Baptist Church of Glenside, PA, (1989-1991); and Senior Pastor, Memorial Baptist Church, Cortland, NY (1992-1998).
In 1998, VanDerWerken reentered the Navy, serving as Chaplain for the following units: 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division (1998-2001); Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton (2001-2004); USS RONALD REAGAN, CVN 76, (2005-2007); Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, CA (2007-2010); and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia (2010-2013). VanDerWerken retired from the Navy on November 1, 2013, after 24 years of service.
From October 2013 to April 2017, VanDerWerken served as Pastor of Discipleship at New Venture Christian Fellowship in Oceanside, CA; and, after a short stint as interim Pastor at the Carlton Hills Southern Baptist Church in Santee, California, became the founding pastor of Breakwater Community Church on August 5, 2017. In addition to the M.Div. from Westminster Seminary, VanDerWerken also holds a Master of Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He has written course curricula for adults on the following topics: an in-depth study of every book of the Bible, archeology, church history and comparative religion. He is also the author of two books: Code of Conduct for Servants of the Most High God (Selah Publishing Group, 2002) and Captain’s on the Bridge: the Book of Revelation from a Military Perspective (Selah Publishing Group, 2007).
Roger and his wife Jacque live in Escondido, CA. They have been married for thirty-four years, and are the proud parents of three children: Christina Fuller of Oceanside, Beth VanDerWerken of Carlsbad, and Jordan VanDerWerken of New Orleans.