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Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist

2610 Galveston Street, Clairemont

Membership: 450

Pastor: Kenny Dodd

Age: 57

Born: Topeka, KS

Formation: Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL; Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA; Wheaton College Graduate School, Wheaton, IL; University of Paris, France

Years Ordained: 30

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

Pastor Kenny Dodd: I spend quite a bit of time — at least 20 hours, minimum — preparing a sermon. I try to balance them out between Old Testament and New Testament. We try to focus on different areas of core values — worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, and fellowship. I make sure those five areas are covered regularly.

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

PD: I love to preach about the Gospel — that God has put the wrong that we’ve done on Christ so that we can be made right with God.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PD: Both of my parents died in their 80s, and both had over a thousand people at their funerals, which said something about the fact that people loved them and knew them. The bottom line is I saw them serve people and I wanted to do something to help people and encourage them to grow in their relationship with God.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PD: To reach the community and reach the world. I think we do a great job at both of those. I know a lot of churches give a lot of money to missions. Twenty-five percent of our budget goes to missions. We support missionaries all over the world and what’s unique is that every one of those missionaries consider this church their home church…. Our missionaries within the last few months finished the ninth and tenth translations of the New Testament into the Yembi Yembi language in Papua-New Guinea, and Palawan in the Philippines. We’ve reached over 20 previously unreached tribes with the Gospel — and we’re talking about one of those tribes being cannibalistic. We sent someone there to spend 20 years with them, start a church, and translate the Bible for them.

SDR: Where’s the most surprising place you found God?

PD: When I lived in France I once served as a translator for a Kuwaiti general who was visiting France. I traveled with him and ate meals with him. He was Muslim, of course, but we had some interesting conversations about spiritual things. He was in France for a festival of military music in this little town where I was studying French — Albertville, where the 1992 Winter Olympics were held. He would speak to me in English and I would translate for him into French.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PD: The Bible is pretty clear about this… We go to heaven and spend eternity in God’s presence in heaven when we die if we’re Christians and if we’re not Christians we spend eternity apart from God. I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that hell is the most loving place God can send someone who rejects Him. Jesus said whoever believes in the Son has eternal life and whoever rejects the Son will not see life and God’s wrath remains on him. Jesus either is who He says He is — God the Son — or He’s a liar and a lunatic. But He was pretty clear: “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by Me.”

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