Ethnos Community Church
- Contact: 3950 Berino Court, San Diego 858-46-8329 www.ethnos.us
- Neighborhood: University City
- Membership: 100
- Pastor: Scott Eng
- Age: 39
- Born: Anaheim
- Formation: University of California-Berkley; Golden Gate Baptist Seminary (now Gateway Seminary), Ontario, CA
- Years Ordained: 6
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Scott Eng: How radical God’s grace is. That’s something we have a lot of human conceptions about, and his grace is always bigger than we expect. I find a lot of people have different backgrounds, whether spiritual or non-spiritual, and they all have an idea of who God is. If we misunderstand who God is and his character, then we have a misunderstanding of how he wants to love us and provide for us and feed us. I enjoy helping people have those “Ah-ha moments” where they see something new.
SDR: What’s the mission of Ethnos?
PE: Ethnos is the Greek word for “nations.” A big part of our mission is that we recognize that God wants to bring people from every corner of the world to get to know him. So part of our job and mission is, as our vision statement says, to be a community for all peoples. So no matter where they come from, where they grew up, or who they are, we believe God wants to welcome them. So we try to do that. It’s especially important for our neighborhood – University City – which has a lot of ethnicities, with people coming from other countries. Ethnos is also a place for people to go back out into the world. They come to the universities and different industries in the area, and if we can be part of how they learn about God’s love here and then take that to the rest of the world, we think we’ve done our job. Our musical worship director, Eric Lige, does a great job of highlighting how different cultures worship God. We sing in different languages, use different musical genres, to grow an appreciation of how people around the world worship God, and how we can all learn from that. We usually have four or five songs on a Sunday. We would usually have one or two that are in a different language… For instance, if we sing a song that was written in Iran and speaks of the persecution of the Christian Church there, by singing that, we’re also connecting with their story.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PE: I believe in heaven and hell. As an addendum, though, I would also say that we believe that, at the end of the Bible, the picture is heaven, God’s realm, meeting with earth. The Bible talks about a new heaven and a new earth, but the two are coming together and taking a new form, an eternal form we are not exactly going to know until we get there. Heaven is a different realm, but it also has got to be here and now. That’s part of why we care about what’s going on in the world, because we’re all supposed to be a part of bringing about heaven through witness and by living out God’s values… In grace through faith, Jesus gives a free invitation to all people that he has paid for, and we need to accept that invitation. We want to follow his way instead of our own. Let’s say we don’t accept the invitation; then we basically live in an eternal state of rejection where we’ve staying separated from God because that’s what we’ve chosen.
– Joseph O’Brien