I have grown fond of Southern California, having visited numerous times over the last couples of years to serve churches. One reason I find SoCal so interesting is its coexistence of vibrant evangelical communities within a larger, secular liberal culture. In this way it differs from the northeast, for instance, which is simply secular, or the south, which is still generally churched.
The other reason why I like to serve in SoCali is the massive number of former Catholics who are virtually starving for pastoral care around Catholic/Protestant issues. This is true, as you’d expect, among Hispanic populations; but it’s also true among many others. These men and women have carried questions, burdens, and an existential angst in their hearts for years without opportunity to communicate them to a pastor for whom the subject is a specialty. Of all the things I do in the name of Gospel Renewal, the activity of serving this need is probably the most rewarding.
The event you are about to view occurred at Calvary Chapel at Costa Mesa at their annual Awakening Conference. The other speakers on the platform are Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason, and Paul Copan, Philosopher at Palm Beach Atlantic University. I would be remiss if I didn’t express special gratitude to Greg and Paul. At the time of this conference, Angela and I were prayerfully considering a transition from College Church to our new ministry with the Billy Graham Center. Words can’t adequately express how much the Lord used each of these brothers to provide much needed encouragement and insight.