1001 W. Country Club Lane, Escondido
Denomination: Assembly of God
Pastor: Yancey Valdez
Born: Santa Ana
Formation: Berklee College of Music, Boston, Mass.; Global University, Springfield, Mo.
Years Practicing Ministry: 17
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Yancey Valdez: Usually, it can take anywhere between a good 8 to 12 hours a week…. If there’s a specific theme or a question that the congregation has that I feel needs to be addressed to the church, then I might have to speak on that. Otherwise, I’m going by a book study or series.
SDR: What topics does your congregation look to have addressed?
PY: If I know there’s times when marriages are struggling and families are hurting, I might talk about something that will help strengthen the marriage. I’ve also talked about the economy, which has been really hard at times. The Bible is full of great economic advice.
SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?
PY: So many kids are without their dads or their moms. The hard part of this is seeing them become adults. Take a young teenaged boy, for instance. If he never had a dad around, when he gets married, he’s going to have no idea what it’s like to be a husband or a father. He’s never seen that truly modeled. The same thing with a girl — she has no idea when she grows up what a husband is supposed to look like. These young people are coming into adulthood ill-equipped. Both my wife [Jill Valdez, associate pastor at Neighborhood Church] and I try to encourage men and women to strengthen marriage in the family.
SDR: What’s it like working in ministry with your wife?
PY: Jill knows me better than anyone else. I’ve had a lot of pastor friends that ask me, “How do you do that? I could never do that with my wife.” I say it’s taken practice, and it hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but we’ve done it for so long, it’s a great blessing. I like the fact that we know each other so well and complement each other in what we do.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PY: We are committed to building lives worth living. We have an acronym — we are NC LIFE (Never giving up in prayer, Celebrating Christ, Learning together, Including all who come, Finding others who need to know, and Emerging from ministry). Those six actions are what we do. They are what the New Testament Church did. We believe we are a 1st Century church in the 21st Century.
SDR: Where do we go when we die?
PY: Those people who have received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior go to Heaven. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” There may be others out there saying there are many paths to God, but Christianity is not so much religion as it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I can’t do anything to add to my salvation except to trust in Jesus. There are consequences for not following Jesus. Those who don’t accept Christ, according to Scriptures, are condemned to Hell.