Richard Schmidt
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Concordia Lutheran Church

1695 Discovery Falls Drive, Chula Vista

Membership: (Average attendance: 150; Registered members: 225)

Denomination: Lutheran (Missouri Synod)

Pastor: Richard Schmidt

Age: 54

Born: Milwaukee, WI

Formation: Concordia University, Seward, NE; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

Years Ordained: 22

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

Pastor Richard Schmidt: In an ideal week – and there are so few of those – I sit down on Tuesdays, out of the office, so I’m not disturbed, and work through the sermon, the message. I start with the Bible text and figure out what it’s saying and how it fits to our particular audience, how it applies to today, and adjust and adapt it throughout the week, but the gist of it is done in a day.

SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

PS: Jesus. It sounds simplistic, but it all comes back to Jesus. He is hope and healing for a broken world. Jesus is reconciliation for broken people. The world is not so wonderful; it’s a mess. My job is to preach Jesus every week and do it in a way that relates to the struggles of everyday life.

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

PS: How do you bring Jesus to people – to those who know him and those who don’t know him yet? If you know Jesus, he’s your hope and healing, and if you don’t know him, it’s the same deal. He’s your hope and healing. In a world where it seems like almost everything is up for grabs, Jesus is a rock solid foundation. One of the things we’re experimenting with here at Concordia is a worship style called “Fam Jam.” What’s driven that is a worship style designed for families who want to explore God together, to have both adults and kids engaged at the same place at the same time.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PS: Building generations who live and love like Jesus. That’s why we’ve taken that long view of how we reach generations like we haven’t before, involve families, and create the environment from young on, children are involved in serving, both in church and out of church, in meaningful ways….

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PS: Midway through college I got the sense that I’m supposed to be a pastor, and that’s been confirmed through what I’ve been doing in my calling. It really is a calling. There wasn’t a lightning bolt moment, but a gradual sense that I was supposed to be doing this.

SDR: Why Lutheranism?

PS: I was born into a Lutheran family, but I kind of went out on my own and discovered, chased around and was drawn back to my roots…. There’s a unique emphasis which Lutherans have on grace – the concept that there’s nothing you can do to make God love you more or less; he just loves you.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PS: You go to live with Jesus in a place he says he died for to make it from the very beginning – no death, no sorrow, no crying, and no pain. The Bible says heaven is real and it’s a real place; and hell is real and it’s a real place. Those who believe in Jesus, go to heaven. The Bible is full of examples of people who did cruddy things for a long time, and came to believe that Jesus still loved them and forgave them.

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