1087 West Country Club Lane, Escondido
Pastor: Matthew Richardt
Born: Holt, Michigan
Formation: Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Mich., Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.; U.S. Navy Chaplaincy (2002–2005).
Years Ordained: 16
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Matthew Richardt: I’d estimate I take between 7 and 12 hours on a sermon; in another sense, though, I’m always working on my sermons. Every morning, the first part of each day I spend in prayer and reading God’s word, and as part of that I’m looking at my text for the coming Sunday. I memorize that text so I can have it with me no matter what I’m doing throughout the week...interacting with people and so forth. So, in that sense, I’m always at work on my sermons. I love it.
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PM: Everyone at Gloria Dei knows that Pastor Matt’s favorite gospel is the wedding in Cana in John Chapter 2. It is a beautiful gospel. I even sent out wedding invitations one year. Call me a hopeful — not a hopeless — romantic. I’m big on marriage and I see everything in God’s plan running through marriage.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PM: My dad — William Richardt — was a pastor in Holt, Michigan, for 20 years at St. Matthew Lutheran Church. He…showed me a beautiful life — not an easy one — but a beautiful one to be a servant.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PM: We do something called “4ward to Basics.” We have four areas of focus: Home, Church, Groups, and Others. First, with Home, we look to instill a strong marriage, family life, and Christian life. Second, under Church, we’re really talking about the basics, such as the priority of Sunday-morning worship, hearing God’s word, receiving communion, being with each other in love on the day of Resurrection, the weekly Easter of Sunday morning. Third, for Groups, the congregation is divided according to geographical locations. The purpose is to meet needs that come up within Gloria Dei — maybe a ride to church on Sundays or a ride to a doctor’s appointment, different ways to help and encourage each other in those groups. Finally, with Others, we’re talking about our neighbor, our community, sharing God’s love in Christ, and different kinds of mission work around the world and supporting that. Locally, too, Gloria Dei has helped support the Alternatives Women’s Center [a pro-life pregnancy-crisis center] in Escondido.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: I don’t think we think about death enough. If we did, we’d be more humble than we are. As Christians we believe in a real Heaven, Hell, judgment, things we believe the Bible teaches very clearly. This section of the Reader is called “Sheep and Goats,” which is a direct reference to Matthew 25:46. Jesus talks about eternal punishment and eternal life. We believe we’re the ones who deserve eternal punishment, but we have a savior, God’s own son, our dear Lord Jesus Christ, who took that punishment for us, and gives us eternal life in its place. For me, if I can say, this, the question is “Where do you go when Jesus died for you?” The answer is, “To be with him.”