9971 Mission Gorge Road, Santee
Pastor: Gene Beezer
Born: Punxsutawney, PA
Formation: Bachelor’s, Houghton College, NY
Ordained: 48 Years
San Diego Reader: Can you think of a time when you gave a sermon which flopped?
Pastor Beezer: I can think of a few of them. One of the worst ones happened when I was a young pastor. After I had gone out, it was very silent. Afterwards, one man in the congregation said, ‘That was the best sermon I ever heard you preach,’ but I knew it wasn’t.
SDR: What is the most prevalent sin you observe or hear about from your congregation?
PB: I can’t name one, specifically, but probably thinking ill of others. Our congregation is pretty straight and I can’t think of a prevailing sin, but they live a pretty close life…. I stayed longer in ministry than I would have otherwise because I did have such a positive experience with this group of people.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PB: Our mission is to reach people for Christ and grow people in Christ through preaching and pastoral care and involvement of the congregation in the church’s ministries. For example, one of those ministries is to Hispanics — we have about 170 Hispanic members of our church and sometimes we have joint services with them, including baptism and communion. They’re very much a part of our fellowship.
SDR: How do you look at the nature of your vocation?
PB: My father wanted me to be an attorney and I look back at my work and I’ve seen young people get off drugs and marriages restored. I taught a class a year ago for young people about to get married in our church and couples on the verge of divorce. As a result of that class, they’re together today and getting along. They said to me that if they had this when they first got married then they probably wouldn’t have the problems they had. I definitely feel I was called by God to do this work. I felt it as a young boy and my parents didn’t even go to church, but I had a grandmother who influenced me. My father was an alcoholic and our home was turmoil, but my grandmother had a tremendous influence on me — and she lived to be 103 years of age. She lived her Christianity. When I was 12 years old and reading the Bible and I came across the passage in 2 Timothy (4:2), “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” When I read it, I said, “He wrote that for me.”
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PB: I believe a believer goes to heaven and a non-believer goes to a place of eternal punishment.
SDR: What if you’re a believer but you haven’t been living a good life?
PB: We may think we are believers. But the Bible says, “Those who know the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). I believe that God brings people back to himself who have wandered from him, but I believe that if someone continues on their own path and never turns back, they are a believer nominally but not experientially. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27). That doesn’t mean a sheep can’t wander.