Virtual Voices
David Jeremiah
Photo by Wally Nell/Genesis
David Jeremiah

From PK to megachurch pastor

Q&A

The June 28 issue of WORLD, posted online today, includes an interview with megachurch pastor and author David Jeremiah. Here are some questions and answers we didn’t have room for in the print magazine.

What was it like growing up as a double PK—pastor’s and president’s kid? One day I was thinking about all the issues that came with being the son of the president of the college I attended, Cedarville. Then I began to think about the perks. I decided to embrace the perks and forget about the rest of it. It was a lot better after that.

The perks? I lived at home, got good food to eat, and didn’t have to be in at the same time everybody else did.

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Downsides? If something wasn’t right in the school they thought I could get my dad to fix it, so they would come and rag on me for a while. And people believe you’re being given special treatment because of who you are, whether you are or not, so you have to be better than everyone else.

After Dallas Theological Seminary you were a youth pastor for two years and then started a church with a few families in a mobile home … The first Sunday I preached in that mobile home there were 35 people. I thought, is this what I went to seminary for? But God really used that. There were about 15,000 people in the church in 1981.

That’s when you replaced Tim LaHaye at his San Diego-area church … It had multiple sites. The first year I preached five sermons every Sunday in the different places, and I sometimes didn’t know which church I was in. I couldn’t remember what I had said in the other church, and did I say the same thing again? So it was very, very confusing. We spun off one of the churches and I located in the east county and tried to be the pastor of that church. 

Which grew, plus you develop a ministry by radio and television. You’re spreading the gospel, but is something lost in the process? Everyone in a church would like to feel a close relationship with the pastor, and in churches the size of ours that would be very difficult. So you try to bring in people who represent you to the congregation. You pour yourself into the lives of the people who are around you. Then you have hundreds and hundreds of people finding community in small groups. My relationship with the people is primarily through the pulpit. 

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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