Pastor Deron Higgins
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The Gathering

1663 Greenfield Drive, El Cajon

Membership: 140

Pastor: Deron Higgins

Age: 51

Born: San Diego

Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University (Point Loma College), Point Loma; Bethel Seminary, Bethel University, San Diego

Years Ordained: 25 years

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

Pastor Deron Higgins: I think the fastest are probably about five hours of preparation and some of them are more like 12 to 15 hours. Some roll out and others I have to work at. I just finished a series called “Unshaken,” which presents some foundational biblical teachings on how to find stability in an unstable world. My current series is a lifestyle series on purity — “Pure in a Dirty World.” We’re taking a look at keeping our marriage, our family, and personal lives pure.

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

PH: Every message is going to have a thread in it of God’s love for us — his forgiveness and his encouragement that comes through the Bible in that way.

SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?

PH: There’s a huge difference between people who check the church box and those who have a relationship with the Lord, who have a passion and a love affair with Jesus. We try to steer away from what I call “Church, Inc.” and toward a vital, rich relationship with the Lord.

SDR: Which of the Ten Commandments does your congregation have the hardest time keeping?

PH: The stuff that’s been around from day one in the Garden of Eden — lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — I don’t think that stuff goes out of fashion ever for any of us, including the clergy. So, as God gives us the Ten Commandments and Jesus summarizes them in “Love God and love others,” we have to ask what our relationship with God looks like. In other words, God wants a noncompete clause in our relationship with him.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PH: It’s God’s sense of humor. I had no intention to become one. I was going to follow dad into the commercial printing business here in San Diego. Then God began ruining my life in a really great way and I started to see things a little bit more like he would see. So, I began to take a look at the possibility. I didn’t have a lot of use for the church growing up. So, when I saw what a relationship with Jesus Christ looked like, that really woke me up.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PH: It’s threefold. Get ’em in, grow ’em up, and get ’em out there. Our mission is to reach out into the community with our motel ministries and neighborhood ministries, for example. It’s to grow through Bible studies and life groups. Then it’s to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. So, the mission is to keep those three things in balance in a healthy way.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PH: I put my full trust in Jesus Christ. God says Jesus is the way. Those who believe in that way will be eternally with him. For those who have not made that decision, they will be eternally separated from God and his family. That’s the difference between Heaven and Hell, if that makes it clearer.

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