2111 Camino del Rio South, Mission Valley
Membership: 3000 individuals
Pastor: Jim Standiford
Born: West Virginia
Formation: University of Redlands, Redlands, CA; Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA
Years Ordained: 40
San Diego Reader: How long do you usually spend writing your sermons?
Pastor Jim Standiford: Fifteen to 20 hours. I write out a manuscript. I don’t always use it, but I always have it. I usually preach a series of sermons. We’re doing one on Old Testament heroes right now. So, obviously I research the scriptures and current stories that tie in and clearly make the application to people’s lives and what it means for us today.
SDR: What’s the lesson you’d like people to go away with?
PS: Not to get sucked into the interchange with the bully but to have enough self-confidence and strength of faith to say, ‘I’m okay. I’m a child of God. Sorry you don’t have a good opinion of me, but I feel pretty good about myself.’
SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you hear about or observe in your congregation?
PS: I think people rely too much on themselves and their own skill set, and we seem hesitant to turn to each other for help and to God for help. So it’s the old ego thing — ‘I ought to be able to handle this.’ But there are some things we need a little extra help with.
SDR: What is your biggest failure as a minister?
PS: My biggest failing is what I said about my people — there are times when I try to do it all and don’t allow God’s spirit room to work.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PS: We claim to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ; to follow his teachings and his life.
SDR: How does your sense of vocation fit in with that mission?
PS: In everything I do, I try to help people along the way as well as continue to grow myself.
SDR: What is the congregation’s greatest strength in carrying out this mission?
PS: We have a tremendous emphasis here on education and a very good educational program for people from the cradle to the grave. And we have a strong focus on mission in the community. We have an extensive multi-layered food ministry where we feed people and provide groceries for folks. We have 150 people involved in a reading program in local schools up in the mid-city area. We have our own tutoring program we operate here on Saturdays. We provide shoes for children. A lot of the things we do are oriented toward children.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PS: Into the loving arms of God, so I believe in a heaven. I have no idea what that looks like, but I’m counting on it being there. I think heaven is having a relationship with God and so the opposite of that is if you don’t have a relationship with God, it’s a pretty bad experience. And God determines that, I don’t. I’m pretty confident Christians are going to get that relationship, and whether other people have it or not, that’s God’s business. I’m just going to do the best job I can.