Park Hill Church
- Contact: 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego www.parkhillsd.church
- Membership: 500
- Neighborhood: Point Loma
- Pastor: Evan Wickham
- Age: 39
- Born: San Diego
- Formation: Trinity College of the Bible, IN; Western Seminary, Portland, OR
- Years Ordained: 20
San Diego Reader: What is the mission of your church?
Pastor Evan Wickham: Our vision is “In San Diego, as it is in heaven” – which comes from Jesus’ prayer, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So we apply that to our city. We want to see God’s good rule, his good, life-giving reign more and more in our city where lives are restored and injustice is eliminated. So that’s our vision; how we accomplish that – our mission – is that we are practicing the way of Jesus in San Diego. We do this in three ways: by being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and doing what Jesus did by the power of the spirit. We gather on Sunday and scatter throughout the week in communities in houses. Those are the two rhythms in our church – Sunday morning worship and house communities where people are free to deepen relationships and discuss teachings and share a meal. Gather and scatter – that’s our rhythm.
SDR: What one book has had the greatest impact on your ministry?
PW: The most recent book I found incredible in articulating my own faith journey — and my journey with doubt, honestly — is After Doubt by A.J. Swoboda, which just came out. A.J. has become a friend of mine, and the subtitle of his book is “How to Question Your Faith without Losing It.” It’s given me words for my psychosis – my own journey with doubt and knowing the place of doubt. Doubt belongs in the journey of faith, just as hunger belongs in your pursuit of food; doubt leads you to truth just as hunger pains lead you to a good meal. Healthy doubt, I should say, belongs in an authentic journey of faith… That distinction between healthy and unhealthy doubt has helped me in so many conversations with young people today. Healthy doubt looks for answers, while unhealthy doubt looks for exits. That is the difference between honest and dishonest questions. As a teacher, you learn not just to answer your students’ questions, but also to answer the heart behind their questions.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PW: Jesus Christ welcomes all who call upon his name into his eternal family forever. That family will be raised from the dead on the last, will enjoy a new heaven and new earth with Jesus, and will live alongside him. Those who do not acknowledge the goodness and authority of Jesus will not take part in that forever family, which is one of the hardest and most tragic things to think about. If you have a heart at all, you hate thinking about that… When we are outside the kingdom of God, when we die rejecting Jesus Christ and we say no to his goodness, we find ourselves outside the kingdom. You can call that hell if you want, but the point is that the gates are locked from the outside, not the inside. When you reject Jesus, you close the door on yourself, and God is weeping all the way to the end because of that. So in that sense, there is a final eternal destiny for all human beings, and it all hinges on what we do with the authority of Jesus.