575 Juniper Street, Chula Vista
Pastor: Luis Mendez
Born: Tijuana, Mexico
Formation: San Diego State University; San Diego Church of Christ Missionary
Years Ordained: 15
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Luis Mendez: Hope. God promised us that we can live an abundant life, a life with purpose and a life which enjoys a deep and meaningful relationship with God. I believe that people are empty without God. But we don’t realize that we need Him and we go after many different things to fill the void in our soul and our lives. Only Jesus can fill that void — and I speak from personal experience. To me, that is the greatest news and best hope we have. I’m passionate to help people discover this hope.
SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?
PM: Many people don’t understand the truth about God and too many settling with just a minimum. I don’t see people going to church or reading their Bible as anything more than another activity to do once a week. But when you really focus on God, your life changes, you change, your family changes, and your relationships change.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PM: Soon after I became a Christian when I attended San Diego State, I realized I loved helping people to become disciples of Jesus. So the opportunity came to be a missionary in Mexico — my wife and I prayed and God made it obvious to us — in Tijuana. The main reason I became a minister is because I love God and wanted to serve Him full time. It is the most exciting and fulfilling life I could have.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PM: There’s a scripture I really love in Thessalonians 2:8 where St. Paul said he was delighted not only to share with other Christians the gospels but also their lives as well. So the mission is building a family of believers for God and His purpose. At the same time, we’re in a mission to build families, change lives, and serve our community and the poor.
SDR: Where’s the strangest place you’ve found God?
PM: There was a time in my life and I was going through some difficult times. I graduated as an engineer but [was] having a hard time getting a job…. As I was praying, the phone rang, and when I answered, God answered my prayers with an amazing job. I thought, God can hear you in even the darkest corners and most difficult times. It always reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 34:18, which states that “God is close to the broken-hearted.” I learned from this experience that, in the strangest places and most difficult times, God can find you and is close to you.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: Either you go to heaven or you go to hell, based on your knowledge of God and your relationship with God. That’s why I feel that we as Christians have a responsibility to teach people about God and to help them to understand why we’re here on Earth. I’d rather tell the truth so people understand they need to be concerned about their spiritual salvation, about where they go after they die, and about how to find out the truth and go after it while there is still time.