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Coastlands Community Church: teaching and believing “in manner and mode” thanks to Flannery O’Connor

Jacob McDonnell
Jacob McDonnell

Coastlands Community Church

Contact: 3552 College Ave., San Diego; 619-630-8315; www.thecoastlandchurch.net

Membership: 120

Pastor: Jacob McDonnell

Age: 41

Born: Ferguson, MO

Formation: St. Louis Christian College, St. Louis, MO (since closed); University of Missouri-St. Louis; California State University-East Bay; Biola University-Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada

Years Ordained: 10

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend preparing your sermon?

Pastor Jacob McDonnell: It can be anywhere from four hours to 40 hours. Our sermons are usually expository, exegetical, and Bible-based. We have a serious emphasis on the Bible. The way I say it is, we teach the Bible with the Bible, “manner and mode.” That’s a quote from the novelist Flannery O’Connor, who said the basis of all art is truth, both in manner and mode. So, essentially, what we teach and how we teach are the Bible. For this reason, we call ourselves a Bible-believing church. .

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SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

PM: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the atonement for sins and the sole mediator between God and man. Salvation — that’s what I would preach on every time. It was the message that changed the world.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: We have a fourfold value system. We are Bible-believing, which means we take a serious approach to the Bible and don’t attempt to modify the Bible; we allow the Bible to modify us. We are gospel-centered, which means we believe the gospel is the primary mechanism by which God changes the heart of man and the world — as stated in the Bible. We are spirit-filled, which means we accept what the Bible teaches about the role of the Holy Spirit in converting the heart of man and producing fruits and gifts. We are community-serving, which means we are not a closed-off church; we engage the community. We have San Diego’s oldest Celebrate Recovery, which is a Christian 12-step program. We also have several half-way houses for people coming out of addiction, and we’re working on more community projects, including a teen center.

SDR: What book (other than the Bible) has had the greatest impact on your ministry?

PM: If I can’t pick the Bible, Artistotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I appreciate objective philosophy: men coming to true conclusions through honest intellectual investigation—and Aristotle is definitely the Western standard in that way.

Place

Coastlands Community Church

3552 College Avenue, San Diego

SDR: Where’s the strangest place you found God?

PM: In my own heart. I found it surprising that he would choose to save me. That’s my greatest awe.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: It’s generally agreed upon that there is going to be a final judgment and each man and woman will stand before God and be held accountable for his or her deeds. Then there will be reward of eternal life with God as described in Revelations or eternal separation from God. There is a cultural concept of hell, but I don’t know if that’s what the Bible says it is, a lake of fire, etc. Biblically speaking, hell would be a waiting place before that final judgment. I take a Biblical approach; my view of ministry is not to invent something new or synchronize Christianity with pop-philosophy or cultural phenomena, but to preach the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught.

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Jacob McDonnell
Jacob McDonnell

Coastlands Community Church

Contact: 3552 College Ave., San Diego; 619-630-8315; www.thecoastlandchurch.net

Membership: 120

Pastor: Jacob McDonnell

Age: 41

Born: Ferguson, MO

Formation: St. Louis Christian College, St. Louis, MO (since closed); University of Missouri-St. Louis; California State University-East Bay; Biola University-Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada

Years Ordained: 10

San Diego Reader: How long do you spend preparing your sermon?

Pastor Jacob McDonnell: It can be anywhere from four hours to 40 hours. Our sermons are usually expository, exegetical, and Bible-based. We have a serious emphasis on the Bible. The way I say it is, we teach the Bible with the Bible, “manner and mode.” That’s a quote from the novelist Flannery O’Connor, who said the basis of all art is truth, both in manner and mode. So, essentially, what we teach and how we teach are the Bible. For this reason, we call ourselves a Bible-believing church. .

Sponsored
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SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

PM: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the atonement for sins and the sole mediator between God and man. Salvation — that’s what I would preach on every time. It was the message that changed the world.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PM: We have a fourfold value system. We are Bible-believing, which means we take a serious approach to the Bible and don’t attempt to modify the Bible; we allow the Bible to modify us. We are gospel-centered, which means we believe the gospel is the primary mechanism by which God changes the heart of man and the world — as stated in the Bible. We are spirit-filled, which means we accept what the Bible teaches about the role of the Holy Spirit in converting the heart of man and producing fruits and gifts. We are community-serving, which means we are not a closed-off church; we engage the community. We have San Diego’s oldest Celebrate Recovery, which is a Christian 12-step program. We also have several half-way houses for people coming out of addiction, and we’re working on more community projects, including a teen center.

SDR: What book (other than the Bible) has had the greatest impact on your ministry?

PM: If I can’t pick the Bible, Artistotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. I appreciate objective philosophy: men coming to true conclusions through honest intellectual investigation—and Aristotle is definitely the Western standard in that way.

Place

Coastlands Community Church

3552 College Avenue, San Diego

SDR: Where’s the strangest place you found God?

PM: In my own heart. I found it surprising that he would choose to save me. That’s my greatest awe.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PM: It’s generally agreed upon that there is going to be a final judgment and each man and woman will stand before God and be held accountable for his or her deeds. Then there will be reward of eternal life with God as described in Revelations or eternal separation from God. There is a cultural concept of hell, but I don’t know if that’s what the Bible says it is, a lake of fire, etc. Biblically speaking, hell would be a waiting place before that final judgment. I take a Biblical approach; my view of ministry is not to invent something new or synchronize Christianity with pop-philosophy or cultural phenomena, but to preach the Gospel that Jesus Christ taught.

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