I was popular in school and played sports, but I felt so isolated

The Pentecostal Church is experiential much more than analytical

Marc Stevenson and family. "Those who have not given themselves to God will be lost."
  • Marc Stevenson and family. "Those who have not given themselves to God will be lost."

Life Church

1448 Peach Avenue, El Cajon

Denomination: Pentecostal

Membership: 400

Pastor: Marc Stevenson

Age: 45

Born: Anaheim

Formation: Christian Life College, Stockton; Urshan Seminary, St. Louis, MO.

Years Ordained: 15

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

Pastor Marc Stevenson: Our founding pastor who I assumed the pastorate from — I asked him that same question. How long does it take to put a sermon together? He said, “Oh, about 30 years.” So, you take all your studies with you into preparing a sermon. But for specific preparation time, I usually prepare [for] at least a dozen hours per sermon.

SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

PS: The salvation message of the gospels. Repentance, baptism, the work of the Holy Ghost, the plan of salvation, all of these are part of the same gospel message. The great commission is to preach the gospels.

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

PS: How do we transfer the truth and the love for the gospel to the next generation? One of the challenges of Christianity is that, if we allow it to, the faith can become something played out only in church. It becomes a religion of the church and not of the home. It needs to be both. The clear directive answer for these things is to teach Christianity as a faith of the home as well…. It’s easy for people to get busy and rely on a couple hours a week to attend a service — and that’s what Christianity is for many people. But the faith has to be cultivated in the home environment as well. When we make the faith our priority in the home, more of our kids will grow up with their faith as part of their home life and not just something they visit once a week.

SDR: Why Pentecostal?

PS: My grandfather Berl Stevenson was a Pentecostal pastor and the founder of Life Church, so the Pentecostal expression of the faith was what I was most exposed to. I’ve always felt the powerful presence of God in the Pentecostal Church and services. The Pentecostal Church is experiential in nature, much more than an analytical experience. There is an experience of worship and a connection that fits me.

SDR: Where’s the strangest place you’ve found God?

PS: Before I began living for God, when I was a high school senior, I had a lot of friends, I was popular in school and played sports, but I felt so isolated and alone and out of place. It was in such a moment that I could sense that God was telling me there was a different path for me. It didn’t have anything to do with judgment and my friends were good friends, but I felt it was a time for a change.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: There are two paths, the Bible is clear in its teaching. The Lord said, “If you are going to be with me, there is a process of faith and belief.” You have to have given your life to the Lord to make heaven your home. In a raw sense, we believe in heaven and hell. We believe that for the righteous, those who have given [themselves] to a relationship with God, God has prepared a place with him; and we believe that those who have not given themselves to God will be lost.

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