28094 North Lake Wohlford Road, Valley Center
Denomination: Independent Christian
Pastor: Bill Trok
Formation: Talbot School of Theology-Biola University, La Mirada
Years Ordained: 20
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Bill Trok: I wish I had more time, but it’s usually about 24 hours. Some of my time is sticking a nose in the book, but I also process information…when I’m exercising, out riding my bike, or taking a walk. I’m a little bit non-sedentary in my preparation time. I’ll often photocopy pages of a commentary and take them with me and process it that way.
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PT: My real passion is to show people that God’s word is relevant to their everyday lives. I love that “Ah-ha!” moment for people when they think, This isn’t for me — I wouldn’t know how to read the Bible or grasp its truths. I love being able to show people not only what it means but how it applies to their lives.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PT: I’m almost 50 years old and I can see in my own heart and in those of my peers that it is really hard to finish well in this vocation as pastor…. I try to continually learn and interact with other pastors, to stay active and healthy. At the same time I have to work really hard; with a family and all that, there are a lot of pressures.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PT: There’s a metaphor we use for our church — the name of the church,
Ridgeview, is a metaphor for life. Everyone’s life on this planet is heading to this ridge beyond which you can’t see. It’s that point of departure from this world, and what’s beyond is not quite known. Someone came into this world — Jesus — to cut a trail to lead us home and my whole idea of the church is to be a high altitude hut on the mountain, which is very beautiful with changing light and conditions — but very hostile to life…. It’s here for utilitarian purpose and we get focused on serving the hut and the people in the hut — we are supposed to maintain it — but we also have to get out on the trail, because there’s a world that needs desperately what the church has to offer.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PT: Those that are in Christ go to a place called Paradise, and when you crest the ridge, it’s that place when you get a glimpse of it — you’re not going to know whether to spit or wind your watch. It’s that incredible. You get glimpses of that in this life, but it will be that in spades in the next life. The Bible talks about eternal separation from God for those who don’t avail themselves of Christ’s gift of life, and all that requires of someone is to do the one thing many people won’t do; that is, to humble themselves and admit their need. Hell is spoken of in many metaphors and it’s hard to navigate what it is, in terms of its physicality, but its reality is clear from the teachings of Jesus himself.