Pastor Jim Young
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Grace Lutheran Church Escondido

643 West 13th Avenue, Escondido




Membership: 1450

Pastor: Jim Young

Age: 65

Born: Los Angeles

Formation: Concordia University, Seward, Neb.; University of Lincoln, Neb.; Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Years Ordained: 35

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

Pastor Jim Young: I have a pretty ongoing devotional time, so I generally have messages occurring all the time. So, I spend more than 20 hours a week in devotional time to bring together the sermon for that week. We do mostly series at Grace, so I spend time praying and figuring out where I’m at and what the Holy Spirit is trying to do. For me, things are always percolating.

SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

PY: Discipleship and trying to equip our people. Back in seminary, someone once said to me that you should prepare like a Lutheran — with academic care — but preach like a Baptist so that the message prepared by the head reaches the head and the message prepared by the heart reaches the heart. So, we really try to make scriptures applicable to people today.

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

PY: We are a countercultural church, which means our message is going against the culture, and we are finding more people and pastors living in gray. They’re afraid to speak the truth of what God says. So, in all these moral issues and social issues, the church is backing off finding a clear voice that shares the love of Jesus but also the authority of Scripture. We find church in our culture beginning to take a secondary place in their lives. They like the church, but soccer games and dance classes are replacing the church as a primary activity for a lot of our families. We have a lot of our people living together before marriage, for instance, and that’s being accepted more and more. How can we bring a word that can help them learn that that’s not how God designed us to be?

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PY: I was a high school football and baseball coach, and I was enjoying that. But I got a sense that among high school kids, their time frame was now and ten minutes from now. I really wanted to have the passion to impact their lives on a longer term. So, I began to do Bible studies and small group discussions with the kids, and I was led to do youth ministry.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PY: Our Heaven is for us, a real mystical place where we’re going to encounter Jesus. Heaven is a place that Jesus went to prepare a place for us. We’re going to be interacting with people there and growing as God intended before the fall. He’s going to make a new Heaven and new Earth when he comes again. Because sin is taken out of the equation, we’ll be able to explore and interact and grow in them. As for Hell, we try to find ways to teach about it with love, gentleness, and kindness, but we clearly state that those who do not know Jesus Christ are destined for an eternity in Hell, separation from God. That’s why this time is so critical and to get the word out.

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