Ivan Paz was born in Los Angeles but was raised in Fresno, CA. His story is one of ambition and resilience. Ivan grew up living in rough neighborhoods, and after ending up in prison for five years for gang violence, he began to think about three things: forgiveness, social justice, and God’s love. Ivan’s life then took a radically different turn. He decided he wanted to pursue higher education while living among, and working with, residents in inner-city neighborhoods.
Ivan Paz holds a Master’s degree in Theology and a Bachelor’s degree both in Pre-Law: Criminal Justice and Religious Studies from Fresno Pacific University. He wrote an extensive Master’s thesis titled The Myth of Ontological Sinfulness, which addresses the American Evangelical tendency to side with the forces of the criminal justice system over and against the urban poor. This work is available at the Hiebert Library at Fresno Pacific University.
Ivan is on staff with a local, interfaith, community organization that is committed to building cross-sector partnerships which aim at the holistic betterment of Fresno’s disadvantaged neighborhoods. He is also an adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, where he teaches a course called Forming a Community of Mercy, Justice, and Peace for the Masters Degree in the Ministry, Leadership, and Culture program. Ivan worked with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for almost a decade, serving as the co-director of the Pink House–an intentional live-in community / urban leadership training program. He is also the founder of 701 United, a local downtown, community fitness and martial arts gym for teens that seeks to instill / cultivate in them values of faith, fitness, and leadership.
Ivan and his wife, Beth, live and serve in downtown Fresno. Ivan can be reached at email@example.com.