5255 Mount Ararat Drive, Clairemont
Pastor: Greg West
Born: Manteca, Calif.
Formation: Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.; Denver Seminary, Littleton, Colo.
Years Ordained: 12
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Greg West: God’s love. First of all, it’s because of His love that He demonstrates grace to us, and if we didn’t have grace in our lives all hope would be lost. One of God’s primary character qualities is love. So, I think it’s the one thing that most of us are looking for in our own lives, and we’re not satisfied until we’ve experienced it and or shared it.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PG: There’s a certain amount of complacency in the church and we’ve grown comfortable, and we haven’t really taken the call of Christ serious in terms of living our lives for the glory of God. We’re typically more concerned about just making our lives easier or happier. One of the things we’re called to do is make disciples, so I have a passion for that, for being a disciple and being someone who follows Christ’s example, teaching, and leadership…. There are a lot of people who would rather be entertained or feel good about where they’re at and who do not really understand the complete call of Christ in their lives.
SDR: Why the Covenant Church?
PG: The Covenant Church was a draw to me in that they have a commitment to conservative Christian values but also have a big heart for social justice. The Covenant Church is definitely strong on meeting spiritual needs. Members of our church have made a commitment to Christ, and we also value where people are emotionally as well. We have a very holistic view of how we approach ministry. We believe that God wants us to take a look at the whole person, not just one aspect and forget about the rest of them.
SDG: What is the mission of your church?
PG: Our mission is “Making disciples….making a difference.” In Matthew 28:18–20, Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations. That’s our call — to make disciples that Jesus has commanded us and involves us in that process. By finding our gifts and talents as disciples we can make a difference in other people’s lives and in the world. By disciples, as good a thing as worship is, we’re not really talking about people who come to church on Sundays whom we would affectionately call “pew potatoes” but about people who are out in the community and in their neighborhoods, locally or around the world, to use what they’ve been given and invest that in the Kingdom of God.
SDG: Where do you go when you die?
PG: Those who have faith in Christ will spend eternity with God in heaven. For those who don’t have faith in Christ, there would be separation from God. I would say such separation will be unpleasant. This is the difference between heaven and hell. I wouldn’t shout it from a soapbox on a street corner, but in conversations with people as we’ve had a deeper conversation, not just a sound-bite conversation. …We’re not a “turn-or-burn” hellfire-and-brimstone church such as are portrayed in the common stereotypical views of Christian churches.