157: Pastor Alvin Vaughn: Former high school and college basketball star at the University of Washington shares his insights on race relations with his former teammate David Koehler and myself.

June 26, 2020

Pastor Alvin Vaughn

As a high school athlete in Seattle, Pastor Alvin Vaughn remembers witnessing the racial divide in the minds of people, even on the basketball court. “I was sitting on the bench, and I saw one of the players of a different color wouldn’t pass it to another guy who was open. It struck me as odd sitting on the bench, saying, why wouldn’t he pass the ball to him. He’s  open. Then I watched another game  and I saw it again and it frustrated me because, Mark, because I am a guy who wants to win, and I’m not a person who sees color and says, because a person is a different color he can’t get the basketball.”

On this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, we talk with Pastor Alvin Vaughn about his past as an athlete, a firefighter, the deep-rooted racial issues in the United States, the ways he has strived to bring people together, and his battle with cancer. “When you’re a team, you are a team. There is no color, no racial divide. You’re one, and we are going to play as one. I always tried to get everybody to play that way, just coming up through the system and fortunately, we had great players who believed the same way I believed, so we had great times.” 

What You Will Learn:

How did Alvin Vaughn transition into Pastor Alvin Vaughn? “I did go to the fire service first, and actually after a while and just began to soul search, and when I began to do that, my dad is a pastor, he was. He passed now. I ended up going to his church and then taking the ministry and it just fit. Helping others. Serving others. That is my heart. Trying to bring people together to build things, to keep things going. That is just the way I was. I was always a person who wanted to be treated fair and also treat others fair.” 

Pastor Alvin Vaughn discusses how his fight against cancer began. “Probably about four years ago, I contracted pancreatic cancer. I went through that. I went through chemo for half of it. I went through surgery and then went through chemo again and then after about a year and a half of that I started feeling better. The chemo subsided. Everything started working normal. Then here just recently, things started happening again to my body.” 

What is currently involved in Pastor Alvin Vaughn’s day-to-day routines for his health? “So, now I’m back taking chemo treatment. I will have four chemo treatments going on. The first one just got over last weekend. But, I’m feeling good. Usually after about three or four days my appetite comes back. My nausea goes away. I feel good. Most people tell me, if you wouldn’t say it they wouldn’t know that I have cancer, or battling it. This is my second round and I just thank God you know for the gift that he has given me.”

What did it feel like to have people galvanized around him in support and pray for him while he has been battling cancer? “People I didn’t even know were religious people sending me shout outs. So, my thing was this, if you are praying for me, I pray this for you, that when you go through your ordeal, because everyone has to go through their ordeal, that you remember the Lord and you ask Him to give you the grace and the strength that you might go through it with the right attitude and with the right mind perspective so that you understand that you aren’t just going through it for yourself. You are going through it to help someone else who is coming through who is struggling.”

How has the George Floyd murder and the police brutality against black people affected him? “Just because I’m the pastor that doesn’t mean I don’t have issues. I still have issues and I’ve got to work on it daily. I’ve got to work on my attitude daily. I’ve got to work on my frustrations. So, things are happening in my life. When I saw these events happen, man, you talk about frustration. Then it brought about a bunch of history stuff that happened to us as we were growing up. It makes you angry. You go through all of these emotions. Then when it is all said and done, I’ve got to get back to the word of God and see what God’s word says about it.”

What advice does he have for people who are angry who are looking to change their mindset? “I just pick up The Word (Bible) now. I get in a place, get to myself, start reading The Word, and let the words minster to me and speak to me because I need to quiet my spirit. If I can quiet my spirit, I can hear from The Lord much better than I can when I’m irate.” 

A Source of Joy

What brings Pastor Alvin Vaughn joy and happiness? “Believe it or not, fellowshipping. What we are doing right now, being able to talk, dialogue, whatever it is. Bringing up old times. That brings me joy to see someone else being helped out. That has always been a joy in my life. Someone going through something. People rallying to help out.” 

Don’t Give Up

During this episode of Finding Your Summit Podcast, the discussion with Pastor Alvin Vaughn also delves into the importance of not giving up on each other and not giving up on God. “Desperate situations call for desperate measures. So, it is important for me as a preacher and a teacher of The Gospel, to tell people, ‘Hold up, man. Hold up. Hold up. God is going to intervene. He is going to help you out. Don’t give up on hope right now. Understand this, when you call on Him and you ask him for direction. Guess what, He will give you direction. He will make your ends meet.”

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