14069 Ridge Hill Road, El Cajon
Denomination: nondenominational Bible-teaching
Pastor: Jack Forness
Born: Olean, NY
Formation: St. Bonaventure College, St. Bonaventure, NY; National University, San Diego
Years Ordained: 15
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Jack Forness: I don’t write them out, per se. They’re usually made up of a loose outline of notes. My sermons are expository, which means I will be going through a large portion of scripture, verse by verse, and commenting on them as I go. I would say I’m spending anywhere from 12 to 15 hours a week preparing. A lot of it is praying about it and mulling it over.
SDR: Can you think of a time when you gave a sermon that completely flopped?
PJ: The cool thing about preaching from the Word of God is that you simply go on to the next verse. God’s Word says that God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). I could stand there and read the Bible to them, and I know they’re going to be blessed. You’re always on solid ground that way. It’s not like I’m trying to pull some cat-in-the-hat trick; I’m just preaching the Word of God.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PJ: I think the thing I stay most clear on is that I’m caring for the sheep, that I’m listening to what God wants for them, listening to what their concerns are, so there’s a responsiveness on my part. The longer I serve as pastor, the more aware I am of being a shepherd, of leaving the 99 and looking for the one. I think it’s very easy to miss people. You can end up absorbed in one conversation with one person, and someone who’s less present than others is left out. This is my concern — that the people who aren’t as forthcoming don’t get ministered to.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PJ: Beats me. Seriously, that sounds like a flippant answer, but at one point I decided to be obedient. I believed God wanted me to do this, and so I did. I wanted to please God and be in His will. At the time I was one of the owners of a very large real estate firm in San Diego County. So, God opened the door for the church and opened the door for selling the business, and I just walked through the doors.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PJ: East Valley Christian Fellowship exists to show the love of Jesus Christ to our community and beyond. We go about that through the verse in Acts 2:42, which speaks of studying the Word of God, of prayer, of fellowship, and of communion in the Lord’s Supper. Along with that, we’re reaching out to the community, both locally and globally.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PJ: What do you believe about Jesus Christ? If you believe that He is your Lord and Savior and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, you will go to Heaven. If He’s not your Lord and Savior, then you’re not going to Heaven. You’re going to Hell.