- Meridian Baptist Church
- Contact: 660 S 3rd St, El Cajon 619-444-3171
- Membership: 100
- Pastor: Rolland Slade
- Age: 60
- Born: San Diego
- Formation: University of San Diego; University of Redlands; Bethel Seminary; Gateway Seminary, Ontario (CA)
- Years Ordained: 31
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend preparing your sermon?
Pastor Rolland Slade: I’m definitely more an exegetical, expository preacher. The church I came out of before becoming a pastor was the Bayview Baptist Church under Dr. Timothy Winters, and he was quite an expository preacher — and he taught us to preach from the word. It probably takes me a good 25 hours a week to put together my sermon.
SDR: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
PS: God’s love is unconditional to us and I believe he created us to love him, and to love our fellow man. I preach on how we should receive love from God and how we should pass it on every day. That should be the thrust of what we do as people — we should love other people.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PS: Interestingly, I came out of business school and business culture as a financial analyst for Rohr Industries in Chula Vista (not sure now what it’s called). Unfortunately, our community was hit with a traumatic incident where a police officer [Ronald W. Davis] was killed in the Meadowbrook Apartments complex while responding to a domestic violence call. An invitation was extended to me to be part of the church — to become associate pastor of Highland Park Church across from Meadowbrook — and the pastor of Highland Park further invited me to minister to the Meadowbrook Fellowship Church which was part of that apartment complex — to, in a sense, finish the work that this slain police officer was doing. In his downtime, he [and his partner Bob Anschink] worked with the kids in that apartment complex. So the calling for me was to go over and...not pick up that work exactly, but to do similar work, to help build up that community. It was a tremendous calling and great opportunity… I couldn’t go back to crunching numbers. God called me to share love and be in the community, and to be a representative of love, kindness, and generosity in the community.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PS: The name of the church — Meridian — is an interesting story. The church was founded in 1957 as the El Cajon Valley Southern Baptist Mission, and it is located across from Meridian Elementary. The school district named the school Meridian because, according to the story I’ve been told, the 117th Meridian [West] runs down South 3rd street. When they named the school, the church voted to name itself Meridian as well. I was installed as Meridian Baptist Church’s senior pastor in 2004. Our mission is simple — to lead people into a life-changing relationship with Christ. Our vision as a church is to love people and have a unified people-culture that is committed to impact the lives of every person we encounter.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PS: When the day comes that the Lord calls me home, he will call me back to be with him in heaven for all eternity. That’s true for all who believe that Jesus came to earth, died, and rose again. Those who don’t believe this about Jesus will be separated from God, and whether they say that’s a fiery furnace, the emotional state of being removed from God for all eternity — that for me is hell.