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Skyline Church pastor: from baseball to the Bible

Blown-out shoulder took Jeremy McGarity from pitching to preaching

Jeremy McGarity
Jeremy McGarity

Skyline Church

  • Contact: 11330 Campo Rd, La Mesa 619-660-5000 www.skylinechurch.org
  • Membership: 5,225
  • Pastor: Jeremy McGarity
  • Age: 51
  • Born: San Diego
  • Formation: Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College); Azusa Pacific University-Haggard Graduate School of Theology; Biola University-Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada
  • Years Ordained: 24

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a pastor?

Pastor Jeremy McGarity: I never wanted to be a pastor, but I got saved through professional baseball. I was drafted with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing baseball, and living in the world. I did not grow up in a Christian home and never went to church or anything like that as a kid. A guy on my team, our third baseman, Mark MacArthur, was a strong Christian and he had a strong testimony. He was never in our face about it. I always thought Christians were weak and wimpy — not really competitive. But I watched Mark, who was a great competitor, and I realized I didn’t have any peace – but he had peace. I thought, “This guy has something I don’t.” I was a pitcher and if I won the game, I was a great guy and I was buying everyone drinks. But if I lost the game, I went into a cave and I was angry, depressed and all those things. So how is this guy so calm? He gets four hits with four at-bats and he’s the same guy when he strikes out four times. That blew me away. I started asking him questions… I said, “Mark, what do I do?” He said, “Why don’t you start reading the Bible?” I started reading in the book of John and I accepted the Lord. I said, “If this is true, Lord, I want to know you.” I believed in Christ from that point forward. My call to ministry came when I was on a different team. A teammate started a Bible study before he was traded to another team. He told me before he left that I had to lead the study. I thought he was crazy. But we opened the Bible – seven guys came to this study – and passed it around the room… The Bible study kept growing – we eventually had 18 of the 21 guys on the team in the Bible study. I realized, that’s the power of the word of God – these guys really wanted to know about the Lord. So, in the off-season, I started attending Bible college. Then finally I blew out my shoulder with the Texas Rangers. I was getting ready for surgery and started getting some calls from churches inviting me to interview to be their youth pastor. After being a youth pastor and young adult pastor, I planted a church out here in San Diego before I took over at Skyline—and that plant is one of our campuses now.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: You go to be with Jesus if you believe in his death, burial and resurrection. At Skyline, we call it ABC: Admit you’re a sinner—Believe he died for your sins, past, present and future—and you have to Choose to follow him, a one-time decision followed by a daily commitment to follow him. If you do that, absolutely you go to heaven. For those who reject Christ and his free gift, there is a hell. It’s not popular to talk about it, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it, but it’s not love if you don’t tell people the truth.

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Jeremy McGarity
Jeremy McGarity

Skyline Church

  • Contact: 11330 Campo Rd, La Mesa 619-660-5000 www.skylinechurch.org
  • Membership: 5,225
  • Pastor: Jeremy McGarity
  • Age: 51
  • Born: San Diego
  • Formation: Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College); Azusa Pacific University-Haggard Graduate School of Theology; Biola University-Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada
  • Years Ordained: 24

San Diego Reader: Why did you become a pastor?

Pastor Jeremy McGarity: I never wanted to be a pastor, but I got saved through professional baseball. I was drafted with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing baseball, and living in the world. I did not grow up in a Christian home and never went to church or anything like that as a kid. A guy on my team, our third baseman, Mark MacArthur, was a strong Christian and he had a strong testimony. He was never in our face about it. I always thought Christians were weak and wimpy — not really competitive. But I watched Mark, who was a great competitor, and I realized I didn’t have any peace – but he had peace. I thought, “This guy has something I don’t.” I was a pitcher and if I won the game, I was a great guy and I was buying everyone drinks. But if I lost the game, I went into a cave and I was angry, depressed and all those things. So how is this guy so calm? He gets four hits with four at-bats and he’s the same guy when he strikes out four times. That blew me away. I started asking him questions… I said, “Mark, what do I do?” He said, “Why don’t you start reading the Bible?” I started reading in the book of John and I accepted the Lord. I said, “If this is true, Lord, I want to know you.” I believed in Christ from that point forward. My call to ministry came when I was on a different team. A teammate started a Bible study before he was traded to another team. He told me before he left that I had to lead the study. I thought he was crazy. But we opened the Bible – seven guys came to this study – and passed it around the room… The Bible study kept growing – we eventually had 18 of the 21 guys on the team in the Bible study. I realized, that’s the power of the word of God – these guys really wanted to know about the Lord. So, in the off-season, I started attending Bible college. Then finally I blew out my shoulder with the Texas Rangers. I was getting ready for surgery and started getting some calls from churches inviting me to interview to be their youth pastor. After being a youth pastor and young adult pastor, I planted a church out here in San Diego before I took over at Skyline—and that plant is one of our campuses now.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: You go to be with Jesus if you believe in his death, burial and resurrection. At Skyline, we call it ABC: Admit you’re a sinner—Believe he died for your sins, past, present and future—and you have to Choose to follow him, a one-time decision followed by a daily commitment to follow him. If you do that, absolutely you go to heaven. For those who reject Christ and his free gift, there is a hell. It’s not popular to talk about it, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it, but it’s not love if you don’t tell people the truth.

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