4747 College Avenue, College Area
College Avenue Baptist Church
Pastor: Carlton Harris
Born: St. Louis, MO
Formation: Dallas Bible College, Dallas, TX; Dallas Seminary
Years Ordained: 33
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Carlton Harris: The glory of God. I preach on God because that’s all there is to say, his greatness, his majesty, not what I need or want, not anything else but the beginning and end of all things — just God. So I can’t think of any greater subject to preach on. If I had one sermon left in me, that’s what it would be on — the glory of God. The chief end of man is to glorify God, to enjoy him forever.
SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PH: I’m disturbed by what I see happening in the world now. I see the ethnic and racial contention and strife in our country and around the world. I wrestle with how the church can help, by shedding light on it, bringing hope to it, and modeling something that would be attractive to those not in the church. That’s one of the things that keeps me up at night. We preach on it, have conversations about it, pray about it as a church family, and I write about it. We try to address it head-on, and try to live as salt and light.
SDR: What’s the mission of your church?
PH: We aspire to be cross-generational, cross-cultural, multi-ethnic apprentices of Jesus, known for our love…. We want to showcase Jesus’ love through our love for each other in the church community and for the world. Jesus said people will know we are his disciples by the love we have one for another as his followers. We want to be known as a loving congregation, one that makes a difference in the community such that if we were no longer in the community, the community would miss us.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PH: I believe in an afterlife and that when I breathe my last breath on Earth, it is not the end of me. I believe God had already numbered my days when he shaped me inside my mother; when I come to the end of my life, because I have trusted in Jesus Christ for my salvation, I will be in the presence of God. I will receive a new resurrected body that has no physical ailments and has not been affected by our fall into sin. I will not float around on a cloud playing a harp. I believe that my existence in a new heaven and new Earth will include work, joy, and worship, and that I’ll do this work eternally, forever and ever. I believe there are two eternal ends for all humankind; it’s either the one I described or the alternative, hell, which is eternal separation from God. The determining factor is what you do with Christ — who Christ is to you. What did he do for you? What do you personally do with him? The answers to these questions determine what your future is. It’s about Jesus Christ.