1717 West Morena Boulevard, Bay Park
Pastor: Duane Smets
Born: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University; LIFE (Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism) Bible College, Los Angeles; Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada
Years Ordained: 11
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Duane Smets: Usually 20–25 hours a week, although more like 20. In my preparation, I hang out with the text and ask every single question I can think of. I like to think of going out on a date with the text — getting to know it really well.
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PS: It would be the life of Jesus — and his coming to Earth as perfect life and his death in our place to satisfy the debt of wrath that we deserve for our sins, and his resurrection from the dead and how belief in him changes our hearts, our lives, and hope for eternity.
SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?
PS: My biggest concern is seeing that people need Jesus. A lot of us are turning to either a self-made religion, trying to fix ourselves and save ourselves and be our own Jesus, or turning to something else — a substance, a career, or some social group that gives us a number of functional Jesuses who we look to, but none of whom can really save us or heal us.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PS: Jesus saved me in my life. I left a lot of mess and brokenness behind. So, I really wanted others to experience the goodness of Jesus as I had in my life. I also believe what I do is God’s calling in my life — it’s what he put me on this earth to do. I’ve had a lot of jobs, but there’s no place I feel more that this is what God wants me to do. This is what God made me for — to preach the gospel.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PS: If you look at the name of our church, it comes from the passage in 1 Corinthians 2:2, where Paul is leading the church there in Corinth and he says, “I resolved to know nothing while I was among you except Jesus Christ crucified.” So, our single vision, purpose, and dedication is to know Jesus and make him known among the people of our city here.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PS: I believe there is a heaven and there is a hell. Both are eternal. In addition, everyone gets new bodies after they die and, based upon whether we had a personal belief in Jesus as savior, we’ll spend eternity in heaven or hell with our new bodies. If in hell, it’s a body that can be tortured forever, and if it’s in heaven, we have a body that is meant to enjoy life as it was meant to be without sin, sorrow, or suffering forevermore. When I look at that question, it really has to do with whether we believe our sin is an eternal offense against God. If our sin is not a big deal, then I see no need for hell; but if God is an eternal God, then our sins are eternal and, in a sense, the only just response is an eternal one. That’s why Jesus died on our behalf.