The Fields: A Church without Walls

Contact: PO Box 131131, Carlsbad, 92013; 760-602-0722;

Membership: 300

Pastor: David Fandey

Age: 46

Born: Torrance

Formation: California Polytechnic State University, San Louis Obispo; Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, La Mirada.

Ordained: 16 years

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

Pastor David Fandey: I once heard a pastor answer this question this way: when asked how long he takes on a sermon, he said that it takes a lifetime to prepare each sermon…. A sermon is like giving birth to a child: there’s a lot of effort, a lot of prep, and there’s a lot of you in it — and after you’ve given it, you say, “Wow!” and it’s there, whether it’s ugly or beautiful — and hopefully not stillborn.

SDR: Can you think of a sermon which was stillborn?

PF: It’s not unfamiliar territory for me to preach my heart out and walk away feeling that I didn’t communicate well or there was so much more I wanted to say and couldn’t get it out, and sometimes on my way home, I’ll tell my wife, “Boy, that sermon sure sucked today. It just bit it. It was terrible.” And I believe the Holy Spirit uses my wife… She’ll look me in the eye and say, “Yeah, David, it’s all about you, isn’t it?” Now, that might sound harsh, but really they’re loving words, because she’s right. It’s about God and His word, and He will accomplish what He wants to do, even if it’s speaking through a donkey. That’s encouraging to me.

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

PF: It’s usually some form of idolatry. We are placing a higher value on something other than God and His glory and kingdom. It’s a putting of something else on the throne of our hearts other than God…and when we serve any other god than the God of the universe it’s going to come out in ugly ways.

SDR: What is “a church without walls”?

PF: The Fields tries to take this good news that God has entrusted us with and live both the proclamation and the presence of the gospel. It has to be spoken but it’d better be lived — because no one is going to follow Jesus if His followers live like hell. Without walls means we live the gospel out in the workplace and community. In those places we are the presence of the gospel.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PF: Deep at our core, all of us, including the atheists, have a desire to know where we came from and where we’re going. Those are the two bookends of life that really define what this life is about. So here’s the answer: we were created by God for relationship with God — and that was by God’s design. Sin and rebellion from God enters in and separates all of humanity from God and there’s a penalty for that. But God has initiated the solution to this problem of separation from Him: He sent His son to die in our place and pay the penalty for our sins. If we accept God’s solution, we spend eternity in a restored relationship with Him in a place He’s called Heaven. If we reject God’s solution, He gives us what we wanted: separation from Him for all of eternity. He’s called that place Hell.

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