1341 East 8th Street, National City
Pastor: Ed Gonzalez
Born: Bulacan, Philippines
Formation: Febias College of Bible, Valenzuela, Philippines; The Master’s Seminary, Los Angeles
Years Ordained: 13
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Ed Gonzalez: I spend about 20–25 hours in preparing a message. Usually we go book-by-book through a consecutive explanation of God’s word. In my preparation, I always make sure there is an exegetical explanation of the fruits of the gospel and the particular passage I’m assigned to preach that Sunday. I also make sure I show how the passage applies to the lives of God’s people.
SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PG: My main concern as a clergy member is the sanctification of the flock of God —the spiritual growth, maturity and progress of God’s people allotted to my spiritual care along with my fellow elders…. If the church is to be effective in proclaiming the gospel of salvation to the lost, then the church must be a sanctified church, composed of believers who are committed to the purity of their lives and the application of God’s word.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PG: By the grace of God I was saved at the age of 12…. At once point in college when I was attempting to run away from God’s call, I sought to pursue a medical degree, but the Lord providentially redirected my path through a physical illness, which I saw as a loving rebuke from God and reminder that God has called me to shepherd his people. So from that time on, I have cherished and valued this privilege to be God’s servant and to be a shepherd of his flock.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PG: Our mission is anchored in the notion that we have a passion for God and compassion for the lost. We endeavor by the grace of God to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, because that is the great commandment. Our whole ministry seeks to deepen our love relationship with God through a knowledge and application of his word. Out of that passionate love for God grows a deep and fervent compassion to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ.
SDR: Where is the strangest place you’ve found God?
PG: The pulpit — where I’m given the undeserved privilege to preach and teach God’s word to his precious people every Lord’s day. Until this day, I am constantly amazed at how God unleashes the power to the faithful proclamation of his word and leads to the conviction and repentance of sin, the salvation of the lost, the edification of the saints and the equipping of God’s people to be ambassadors to this world, which is in desperate need of Christ. The strangest part about this is that God uses a clay pot, a weak vessel, such as I am, to deliver the salvation message to others.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PG: There are only two eternal destinies for all people. Our Lord Jesus himself said that the righteous will go to eternal heaven to enjoy everlasting life, and the unbelievers will go to eternal hell to suffer everlasting punishment. So those who trust in Christ alone for salvation, once you die, your soul immediately goes to heaven. Those who reject Christ will be consigned to perish in eternal hell both body and soul.