Church of the Good Shepherd

Father George Calvert’s creative process “takes a while to gel.”
  • Father George Calvert’s creative process “takes a while to gel.”

Church of the Good Shepherd

3990 Bonita Road, Bonita

Membership: 200 people

Pastor: Father George Calvert

Age: 54

Born: San Diego

Formation: University of California–Berkeley, Berkeley; Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Va.; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena

Years Ordained: 24

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?

Father George Calvert: It takes me about 15 hours. On Tuesday I look over the Bible passage for the sermon. We have a Bible study in my office for an hour here in my office. I then start looking at various themes that come up for Sunday’s reading in the lectionary. I look at commentaries during the week and on Saturday I write the sermon. I wish I could say I get it done earlier in the week. The creative process takes a while to gel.

SDR: Where is your favorite place to compose sermons?

FG: I compose in my house. Sometimes I lie on a bed and sometimes I walk around. I do a lot of walking and thinking and walking at home. I don’t like composing my sermons at the church because there are so many distractions. There are always phone calls and people coming to ask questions about various topics. I like having some privacy.

SDR: Can you think of a time when you gave a sermon that flopped?

FG: I’ve given up trying to tell when a sermon succeeds. Sometimes I think a sermon is the greatest in the world; but it doesn’t go over as well as I thought it would. Other times, I come to church on Sunday morning thinking it just didn’t come together. Then people tell me it’s the greatest sermon they had ever heard.

SDR: What is your main worry as a member of the clergy?

FC: I’m concerned about people outside the Church. I believe that the Church’s primary task is to help people outside its walls. So we’re trying to do ministries out in the community and we’re trying to pray for people outside the church. We have an active family ministry and Hispanic ministry which help in this effort.

SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you observe or hear about from your congregants?

FC: I think it’s the sin of pride — which sounds like a classic answer. We need to have good self-esteem, but when I use the word “pride” I mean it in a theological sense. In other words, “I can live life in my own way and I don’t need God.” It’s like Frank Sinatra’s old song, “I Did It My Way.” There are a lot of people who can live their lives their way and don’t have to live it God’s way. That’s the sin of pride. It’s as old as Adam.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

FC: We meet God after we die and we are judged. A person insisting on living apart from God is put out of existence. If we want to live with God, then God allows us to enter into heaven. But I believe in order to go to heaven, salvation comes through Jesus Christ. To go to heaven, we need to accept Jesus Christ as our savior. A loving God will allow anyone who wants to go to heaven to accept Christ even after death.

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