6301 Birchwood Street, Allied Gardens
Pastor: Daniel L. Hagmaier
Born: Union City, PA
Formation: Florida Bible College, Hollywood, FL; Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA; Columbia Theological Seminary, Atlanta, GA
Years Ordained: 20
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Daniel Hagmaier: With preparation, it’s got to be a good 12–15 hours. I’ll write a manuscript, distill it down, and put it into outline. Then, on Saturday, I’ll walk down to Balboa Park and back downtown and go over my transition points and my stories so when I get there Sunday morning I don’t use notes and I’m ready to preach.
SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
PH: John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” I would want God to know how much we appreciate his love for us. God sent his son to die for us to give us life and so we could be redeemed and forgiven.
SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PH: I think one of the big concerns for me is that our mainline denominations have taken in some good new members over the past couple years but overall our mainline denominations are dying. We have to pay attention to the millennials coming up. As you know, they are changing the world and they’re going to continue to. They’ve already singlehandedly transformed McDonald’s. McDonald’s had to change its menu drastically because the millennials stopped coming. McDonald’s saw it had to have fresher ingredients, more salad, and better coffee. The millennials are looking for things that are real; they want experiences to be genuine. In the life of the church, they’re not necessarily tied to denominations anymore or to a particular church.
SDR: So, how would you change “the menu” of the church?
PH: Well, you have to have great coffee. That’s God’s honest truth. If you’re going to do something with millennials, you have to think outside the box. For example you might want to have a jazz Christian service or something like that. If they come to my church, though, I know they want really good coffee…. They also want to be able to identify with the sermon and apply it immediately to their lives today. More importantly, you have to think outside of what you normally come to think as the only way to do things. I don’t mean holding up other people; I think Christ is the only way. But there have to be other ways to bring people to Christ.
SDR: What’s your view of the afterlife?
PH: Being a Christian and knowing that Christ is coming back to take us with him, I certainly know there is a heaven. Whether it’s going to be here on Earth, they say there’s going to be a new heaven. I truly believe that there is a better life for all of us somewhere. Jesus told us he is the way, the truth and the life. I believe that but I’m not going to be the one to judge who is going to be there or how they get there…. I don’t want to be the judge of anyone and I’m glad there is a God and that I’m not God. I have to trust that Jesus is the way because he said it. Whether there is a place of destruction and hell, I’m going to leave that up to God.