610 Paseo Del Rey, Chula Vista
Denomination: Christian and Missionary Alliance
Pastor: Art Lyons
Born: San Diego
Formation: Vision International University, Ramona
Years Ordained: 30
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Art Lyons: It would be probably the salvation message — an evangelistic message because that’s the most lasting message a person could preach. It has eternal value for listeners.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PA: If people don’t get an opportunity to hear about Christ and salvation, I think there’s eternal consequences, and that would be the most important thing. I think as far as a social message goes, my concern would be that…society doesn’t want to deal with the poor and those coming out of prison and jail. It mucks up the neighborhood, you know? As we get more affluent in San Diego or whatever city, we want to get the people that are sick, homeless or not seemingly status quo in society — and we want to sequester them.
SDR: Where’s the most surprising place you found God?
PA: Drinking Budweiser and watching Charlton Heston. I was in and out of jail, addicted to alcohol, and pretty messed up psychologically. I couldn’t quit drinking and I couldn’t overcome the fears that caused me to drink. So one night, while watching Cecil B. DeMille’s movie The Ten Commandments, I cried out to God, “I don’t know how you did all these miracles but somehow I believe you did them and I need a miracle!” I think God at that point asked me three questions — three questions that were basically the same: “Why don’t you become a Christian?” Through those questions, I was led to the place where I said, “If you can do this for me and bring peace into my life, I’ll give you my life. I’ll give it a chance.” I didn’t know how that will work and I don’t get it — I thought I’d be bored stiff as a Christian because I was that sort of rock-n-roll long-haired ratty-looking guy. That wasn’t my picture of what Christians were. But that night something had changed in me, I wasn’t sure of what, and the next day I didn’t have a desire to drink; I still had problems, but I didn’t have a desire to drink. Previous to that, I had to get drunk every day.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PA: The mission of our church is to reach people for Christ and to disciple them. Also our church is based on the family community more than any other thing.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PA: I believe you go to one of two places. You go to heaven or you go to hell. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and what he came to do on this earth go to heaven, and those who reject that message — specifically reject the message of Christ — would go to hell. I’m not going to say that the only people who make it into Heaven have to hear the Gospel story. I think that God has declared Himself and made Himself known to us by nature, by creation itself and its majesty, and miraculous declarations that creation shows us.