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Coffee shop sermon

I’ve had some in-depth conversations about theology, culture and scripture.

Jeff Kempton
Jeff Kempton

Crossroads Christian Reformed Church

  • Contact: 2406 North Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, 760-744-4673, crossroadscrc.com
  • Membership: 140
  • Pastor:  Jeff Kempton
  • Age: 44
  • Born: San Diego
  • Formation: University of California-Santa Barbara; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena
  • Years Ordained: 12

San Diego Reader: What’s the mission of your church?

Pastor Jeff Kempton: We seek to be people who boldly proclaim the gospel and actively go out to change the world. We have students regularly involved as part of our worship band. It is our calling and responsibility to train people to serve in ministry, including young people, not just for the future and for getting ready for when they’re leaders of the church. At Crossroads, they’re actively central as people in the body of Christ right now.

SDR: What one book has had the most influence on your ministry?

PK: Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations. Many people in our American culture have a great appreciation for Jesus, and love his teaching and the way he lived and treated people, but they’re not necessarily big fans of the church or have much interest in coming to the church. The book looks at some of the reasons for why people have a negative view of us as Christians. Kimball addresses how we can, in a faithful, welcoming way, clarify things for these people. I recently taught a class on the book called “Engaging Our Culture with Biblical Integrity and Christ-like Humility.” We need to hold to the authority of scripture, but that includes how we treat people. We should be living more with the integrity of Christ and less with the arrogance and attitude some people see from within the church.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PK: I think about places where I’ve had meaningful faith conversations with people, all of which relates to Kimball’s book. Kimball challenged me to step outside of the church building throughout the week and spend time with people who don’t know Jesus or Christians. I made the decision, following Kimball’s advice, to work regularly in coffee shops and fast-food restaurants. Right before I got into the church office today I was working at a local coffee shop. So in those places with the people I’ve gotten to know — I’ve had some in-depth conversations about theology, culture and scripture. That was a place I was not expecting to find God, but I went there intentionally because this book recommended it and, as I found out, it can work. Today I was working on my sermon in the coffee shop, and I’ve gotten to know the staff and regulars who come in. That takes a while. I don’t immediately say, “Hey, can I tell you about Jesus?” I get to know them. I have my Bible and study tools with me at the table, but I try to build actual connections with people first. They’re a lot more likely to have in-depth conversations if they know who I am. We can have actual dialogue rather than me just throwing some Bible quotes at them.

SDR: Where do you go after this?

PK: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). If I believe Jesus is the Messiah, receive his grace, and I am redeemed by him, then I get to spend eternity in his presence, and with those who have gone before and those who come after. We get to spend eternity in God’s glory and kingdom. If not, then we spend eternity, sadly, separated from him. We call that hell.

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Jeff Kempton
Jeff Kempton

Crossroads Christian Reformed Church

  • Contact: 2406 North Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, 760-744-4673, crossroadscrc.com
  • Membership: 140
  • Pastor:  Jeff Kempton
  • Age: 44
  • Born: San Diego
  • Formation: University of California-Santa Barbara; Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena
  • Years Ordained: 12

San Diego Reader: What’s the mission of your church?

Pastor Jeff Kempton: We seek to be people who boldly proclaim the gospel and actively go out to change the world. We have students regularly involved as part of our worship band. It is our calling and responsibility to train people to serve in ministry, including young people, not just for the future and for getting ready for when they’re leaders of the church. At Crossroads, they’re actively central as people in the body of Christ right now.

SDR: What one book has had the most influence on your ministry?

PK: Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations. Many people in our American culture have a great appreciation for Jesus, and love his teaching and the way he lived and treated people, but they’re not necessarily big fans of the church or have much interest in coming to the church. The book looks at some of the reasons for why people have a negative view of us as Christians. Kimball addresses how we can, in a faithful, welcoming way, clarify things for these people. I recently taught a class on the book called “Engaging Our Culture with Biblical Integrity and Christ-like Humility.” We need to hold to the authority of scripture, but that includes how we treat people. We should be living more with the integrity of Christ and less with the arrogance and attitude some people see from within the church.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PK: I think about places where I’ve had meaningful faith conversations with people, all of which relates to Kimball’s book. Kimball challenged me to step outside of the church building throughout the week and spend time with people who don’t know Jesus or Christians. I made the decision, following Kimball’s advice, to work regularly in coffee shops and fast-food restaurants. Right before I got into the church office today I was working at a local coffee shop. So in those places with the people I’ve gotten to know — I’ve had some in-depth conversations about theology, culture and scripture. That was a place I was not expecting to find God, but I went there intentionally because this book recommended it and, as I found out, it can work. Today I was working on my sermon in the coffee shop, and I’ve gotten to know the staff and regulars who come in. That takes a while. I don’t immediately say, “Hey, can I tell you about Jesus?” I get to know them. I have my Bible and study tools with me at the table, but I try to build actual connections with people first. They’re a lot more likely to have in-depth conversations if they know who I am. We can have actual dialogue rather than me just throwing some Bible quotes at them.

SDR: Where do you go after this?

PK: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). If I believe Jesus is the Messiah, receive his grace, and I am redeemed by him, then I get to spend eternity in his presence, and with those who have gone before and those who come after. We get to spend eternity in God’s glory and kingdom. If not, then we spend eternity, sadly, separated from him. We call that hell.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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