William Hurtado has been working with children, youth, and families for over 20 years. He is a non-profit worker for family discipleship with Highest Education. Previously a respite worker for families in poverty, an inner-city outreach director, and a youth pastor, and an orphan advocate, William now works to inspire others toward passionate Christ-centered living. As a Love and Logic® certified facilitator, ordained Adventist minister, and Director of Highest Education, William trains parents and designs experiences for families to grow toward their best potential. William has a B.A. in Communication and an M.A. in Youth Ministry, and lives in Vancouver, WA with his wife and two children.
William’s early years were overrun with family brokenness and insecure attachments. Born in South America to parents who worked in Adventist ministry–William’s father was a pastor and his mother an elementary school teacher–William did not realize how bad his parent’s disconnectedness was. By the time William was five years old, his family had moved to Escondido, California; by age eight, William’s parents divorced, leading to paternal abandonment. William, with his mother and brother, moved to Riverside, CA where he and his brother attended La Sierra Elementary school. William’s mother struggled with poverty as she raised him and his brother. Now in his adult years, William’s traumatic childhood experiences allow him to relate with family woundedness and loss.
At age 16, William’s mother remarried and moved to Sweet Home, OR. The Pacific Northwest became William’s true home, especially as he “stumbled into grace” there, experiencing true surrender and conversion. His new friendship with God led him to attend Laurelwood Academy in Gaston, OR, where William learned how to live missionally.
After being “undone” by the Holy Spirit to join the ministry, William joined a theology program abroad and then moved to Andrews University, MI, to continue his studies. There he became the student Outreach Director, and through God’s grace, William facilitated the development of the biggest outreach endeavor the university had known called the Benton Harbor Street Ministries. Every Sabbath over 100 students mobilized into the intercity streets to minister to the poor. During the summers, William also co-directed FLAG Camp–a day camp that ministered to over 100 kids daily. These experiences prepared William to specialize in outdoor and outreach family events.
After receiving a B.A. in Communication in 1997, William joined the university staff through the Center for Youth Evangelism. He developed and managed Giraffe University, the North American Division youth leadership training program at the time. William also co-authored a book through AdventSource called Seven Principles for Youth Ministry Excellence. After receiving a Masters degree in Youth Ministry, William moved to the Washington Conference and became Assistant to the Youth Director. There he resourced youth workers with training and vision to reach out to youth in their communities. Local church trainings and youth publications emerged; and the annual Public School Retreats William led tripled in size.
In September 2000, William married his wife Shelley, and together they moved to Puyallup, WA, where William and his volunteer team developed a strong local church youth ministry. William developed GameStation, a youth rec center where William fed non-Christian kids and encouraged them to give their hearts to Christ. Some youth did give their lives to Christ, and their baptisms were remarkable.
In 2007 William was given the opportunity to live on beautiful Orcas Island, where he began raising his family as he pastored two island churches. From there, God called him to Milo Adventist Academy in Days Creek, OR, to become their pastor and chaplain. God planned for him to be there for just one year, so that he could, with others, help the school reimagine and reconnect to its potential.
In the Fall of 2012, William and his family joined the Southern Adventist University campus church in TN. William pastored hundreds of youth and trained families to disciple their children. He led out in successful mission trips and day camps. It was during that time that William accelerated the development of his ministry vision, Highest Education, as a platform to train parents and teach character formation through adventure and service trips.
In 2018 William accepted a position with International Children’s Care (ICC) as a Public Relations associate and orphan advocate. This role allowed him to move back to the Pacific Northwest and to eventually focus on both orphan advocacy and family discipleship with highesteducation.org. William transitioned to full-time member-supported ministry for family discipleship in 2022. He is excited to enhance your family faith journey as you seek to bring them closer to Christ.
Philosophy of Leadership
William believes leadership works best through teamwork, empowerment, and guidance by the Holy Spirit. These three elements are the core of his leadership philosophy. Ministry is not about him or corporate agendas; it’s about what God is doing through him and other people. Facilitating a culture of empowerment and ownership is key.
Spiritual Gifts & Leadership Style
William is an encourager. His leadership style is consultant, emphasizing personhood, synergy, vision, and servanthood. William is a facilitator and developer with a choleric sanguine personality.
Click here to see William’s professional CV.