Rev. Dr. John C. Whitaker

Senior Minister


Pastor John Whitaker has been the Senior Minister of Church of the Cross United Methodist for over twenty years.

Pastor John loves to preach and teach people of all ages. Each week he leads three different chapels for the World of Love childcare, an outreach ministry of Church of the Cross. Pastor John established the Board of The Lost and Found Transitional Ministry of Dayton, Ohio, which provides housing for ex-offenders (Garfield House) and housing for victims of sex trafficking (HavenHope). Pastor John has been a Spiritual Director for the Greater Dayton Emmaus Community and has delivered all five clergy talks. He is also a trained Stephen Ministry Leader.

Spiritual Development

Pastor John has experience in various streams of Christianity including the waters of contemplative, evangelical, charismatic, holiness, social justice, and sacramental life. Pastor John is a member of an Emmaus Walk share group, a clergy cluster group, has a spiritual director, and meets regularly with a spiritual friend in shared study and prayer. John utilizes the disciplines of spiritual reading, Sabbath, contemplative prayer, journaling, retreat, and listening to God through dreams in his daily life. John is deeply interested in personality theory and is certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. He uses this instrument in relationship counseling, teaching, in the community, and vocational counseling.

Pastor John has led numerous mission trips to Mexico designed to improve the living conditions for pastors and update churches of the Iglesia Metodista de Mexico. In 2008 Pastor John led a trip to the Holy Land with 20 participants from Church of the Cross. Recent mission trips include Tanzania, Guatemala, and medical mission work at a clinic in the mountains of Nicaragua.


John lives in Kettering with his wife of 36 years, Mary Lynn (a Hospice nurse). The Whitakers have three grown children—Rebekah, Rachel, and Michael. John is an avid birdwatcher and enjoys art, music, and reading. He also is thoroughly enthralled with his grandchildren. 


 With wife, Mary Lynn, upon receiving Doctor of Ministry degree in 2013.

With wife, Mary Lynn, upon receiving Doctor of Ministry degree in 2013.

Pastor John is an ordained Elder in the West Ohio Conference and holds the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Divinity degrees. He is also a recent graduate United Theological Seminary earning the Doctor of Ministry degree. His doctoral project was entitled The Choice for Community: Spiritual Formation to Increase Congregational Awareness Regarding Cultural Entrapment to American Individualism. The doctoral work examined individualism as a deterrent to building true Christian community. Individualism is a social construct that prioritizes the individual over the group. Self-reliance, privacy, and independence are natural outcomes of this belief system. On the other hand, spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others. Thus, spiritual formation leads naturally to Christian community, relationships that reflect the oneness of the Trinity. Pastor Whitaker is also a graduate of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation Program entitled Clergy Spiritual Life and Leadership: Going Deeper. This program encourages the exploration of contemplative life.