A church needs to be at least as friendly as a bar

John Ettore: “Faith is the key to getting free from depression, discouragement, hopelessness, purposelessness, and loneliness.”
  • John Ettore: “Faith is the key to getting free from depression, discouragement, hopelessness, purposelessness, and loneliness.”

The Gathering Place Church

9550 Carmel Mountain Road, Rancho Penasquitos

Membership: 300

Pastor: John Ettore

Age: 52

Born: Columbus, Ohio

Formation: Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Assembly of God Faith Bible Institute, Chula Vista

Years Ordained: 24

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor John Ettore: Faith. Life has enough trials to test our faith every day, and so I find that faith is the key to getting free from depression, discouragement, hopelessness, purposelessness, and loneliness, by knowing that God is with you, that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and omnipresent. Without faith, you can’t enter heaven. Those who believe that Jesus died for our sins and that God raises us from the dead shall be saved. Faith is the key to the kingdom.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PE: The reputation of the church. Life is about influence. When the big “C” church doesn’t represent Jesus well, it really disturbs me, because our assignment from Jesus is to be salt and light to the world, to serve the world, to help save and bring solutions and hope to the world. When the church fails the world, when we get off our mission or when we experience moral failures, when we are spokespersons for the church to the world and we don’t do it in love, I think that it diminishes our ability to influence the world for Christ.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PE: I began a Bible study in my living room, and my class was telling me I should go into ministry. I never considered it. So, I remember one morning I was going to get on a plane to visit my sister in Arizona. It was 4 a.m. I got up to pack, and I realized I hadn’t prayed. I got on my knees in my living room and as I knelt the presence of God filled my little one-bedroom apartment. It was so powerful that I was afraid to speak. I felt the Lord say in my heart at that moment that if I did not accept the call to ministry, I would be in disobedience. That moment, I told him yes, and I never turned back.

SDR: What’s the mission of your church?

PE: We’re reaching the world for Christ. There are three things we do under that banner. We love Jesus. I believe that Christianity is Jesus loving us and us loving him back. That’s worship. Second, we love one another. When the church isn’t warm with love it’s a horrible place. What I tell our congregation is that we need to be at least as friendly as a bar.…The level of Christian love should be profound and should shock people. Then, lastly, we love our world. We send missionaries out around the globe, such as to Nepal to help in the recent earthquake to get food and water to victims.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PE: The teaching on heaven and hell is not mine. The Bible is very clear. If it’s not true, then Jesus died in vain; there was no purpose for him to die on the cross, for taking our judgment on himself. The Bible clearly teaches there’s a place called heaven and a place called hell, which is eternal separation from God. Jesus is the only way to the Father. Every individual person must receive Jesus Christ as savior to spend eternity with him.

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Comments

One can have faith without religion. One can be faithful without going to church. All churches have one thing in common and that is to control what you think, say & do and separate you from your money. While some churches/religions do good works most are in the "Jim & Tammy" tradition.

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