Michael Openshaw: “It [is] crystal clear that God’s purpose is to save not condemn or judge.”
4700 Mesa Drive, Oceanside
Affiliation: Independent Christian Churches
Pastor: Michael Openshaw
Born: Atlanta, Georgia
Formation: Lincoln Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary, Lincoln, Illinois
Years in Ministry: 33
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Michael Openshaw: Like most pastors, I’d have to say that anytime I’m preaching on salvation and the Gospel, that’s a favorite subject. It really fits this time of year with Christmas and the message of why Christ came…. I believe that God leads you to the right thing for your congregation at the right time. Whatever I’m currently doing is my favorite.
SDR: What is your main concern as someone who does full-time ministry?
PO: My main concern is for people who don’t know Christ or have drifted away from Him. We make it a focus at Lighthouse to reach out to both. There are a lot of disaffected people that were raised in the church and for one reason or another have drifted away through disappointments or problems or getting caught up in life. We’ve been able to reach many of those people to pull them back to a meaningful relationship with the Lord that they’ve known earlier. We’re also evangelistic to those who never made a commitment to Christ.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PO: I became a minister because I wanted to do for others what a youth minister did for me. I was led to Christ at about my 14th birthday in a week of Christian camp. I had been raised in the church but didn’t really have a personal relationship with the Lord and this youth minister helped me realize the possibility and the steps I had to take. I was so appreciative that I knew almost immediately that that’s what I wanted to do with my life.
SDR: Why were you drawn to the Independent Christian Churches?
PO: What first drew me there was the invitation of my best friend in high school. We were looking for a church that was more Bible-based. We had been part of a denomination that had started to drift into more of a social gospel than a strongly Bible-based approach of preaching and teaching.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PO: I believe one goes where one has chosen. If one has chosen to be with God and followed Him as He has revealed in scripture, then one goes to be with Him for eternity. If someone has made a personal commitment to Christ and accepted His salvation, one goes to live with God for eternity; if someone has chosen not to go with God, one is eternally separated from Him. That place is called Hell in the Bible. But it’s our choice that makes the difference. I don’t believe God picks and chooses who to save and who to reject. He freely offers salvation to all. I’m really very fond of John 3:17, “God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him….” That makes it crystal clear that God’s purpose is to save, not condemn or judge. His desire is to welcome everyone who responds to His offer of salvation.