"I think that yielding to the call of God…there's no better place to be." - Jesse Richardson
From time to time we'll be highlighting members of our CPD family to get to know them better. The questions and answers below are from an interview with Pastor Jesse Richardson, Sierra Bible Church of Truckee.
Name: Pastor Jesse Richardson
Church: Sierra Bible Church of Truckee
Years in Ministry: 18 years
Please introduce yourself
I grew up in a pretty broken home. There were a lot of drugs, and a lot of alcohol. My biological father spent 10 years in Folsom Prison for shooting his girlfriend. My mom used quite a bit of drugs herself until the time I was 12. When I was 12 she came home and said that she had found Jesus, who I had heard a little bit about from my grandparents, but I didn't know much, other than a few Bible stories.
When my mom found Jesus (or when Jesus found her) she became a mom that cared for me. She no longer slept-in until the afternoons and she became very present. I noticed a very radical shift in the way that she lived. Around that time, she had asked what I thought about Jesus. I figured, if he could change my mom and make us a family, that was something I wanted to be part of.
So, I gave me life to the Lord at 12. I felt a very early calling in my life around that time, and stuck with that calling until the time I was 18. Then, for whatever reason, I turned my back on it and ran away from the Lord for several years, from the time I was 18 to 21, which is what a lot of college age kids do. I found myself in a very depressed state with lots of anxiety. I was drinking very heavily. My aunt was working for a pastor in San Diego at a large church that offered a ministry school. She encouraged me to turn my life around and go to that school. And I did.
After going through the school and the curriculum, after having another very big shift and change in my life, I decided to go into ministry and yield to that calling that I had felt all the way back when I was a child. I prayed for an internship and got one in San Diego. That internship turned from one year into five years of ministry in San Diego. Around my fifth year there I was called to Truckee, California, to be a youth pastor here at Sierra Bible Church. I was then called from Youth Pastor to Assistant Pastor, then to Lead Pastor. I've been at Sierra Bible Church for the last 13 years.
What drew you into full time ministry?
For me, it was a deep calling. Even as a young kid, my grandmother used to tell me, "You're going to be my pastor." I would go on mission trips in high school and come back and share, and people would say, "Oh, you're going to be pastor one day." I didn't think that was a very cool thing to do. I didn't want to do it, and I ran from it. I came to the realization at the age of 21, at the bottom of that barrel, that I couldn't run from God's calling. Now that I’ve yielded to that calling, many of those struggles – depression, anxiety, and things I struggled with – have not been in my life. I think that yielding to the call of God…there's no better place to be.
What are you most passionate about in your ministry?
My greatest passion is to see people connecting to the Lord. To see them grow in their knowledge of God and His Word. One of my greatest passions is to see people who don't know the Lord, come to the Lord, and grow in their intimacy and maturity in Him.
We just recently had a man in his 30's who was running from God, had been involved in drugs, ended up going through a divorce, and came to our church. Desperate, he got into a relationship with Jesus through being part of our church, went through our internship program, and found a lot of healing – which was a great thing to be a part of. We just celebrated his wedding this last weekend! To see a person go from not knowing God and being broken to knowing God and being given a second chance – like he has within marriage – it's those kinds of things I'm really passionate about and really love being a part of.
Tell us a little about the church you lead
Sierra Bible Church is located in the mountains. We have, during the winter, quite a bit of snow. We just had 700 inches of snow this last season, and so the people who live here full-time, they're tough individuals. They know how to deal with the snow, and they know how to work hard.
But also, because of where we're located, we are a very touristy place. We're a destination for a lot of people from the Bay Area who visit for sometimes a week at a time, sometimes several months at a time, sometimes for seasons.
So, within our church we have those that live here full-time, that sometimes struggle to live here, and then we also have family members of our church that are out-of-towners. So, we're very dynamic in that way. We have a lot of people coming and going constantly. But with that said, what we've found is if we let our people know what we're all about, when they're here they can grow. In our church, we desire to teach people to follow Jesus and make disciples for His glory through His Word and being on His mission. So, we take the people that we have, in the season that we have them, and teach them to follow the Lord, live for His glory and love those who don't know Him.
What are you dreaming about for the future?
We are continuing to pray that our people would grow in their intimacy with the Lord, and that people would become more involved in the ministries that are here; that they would truly want to be a part of the work and the service of God.
I'm dreaming that our people would see that church is so much more than just showing up on Sunday, that there's so much more opportunity for us than just the gathering of the saints; that there's an opportunity to love one another, and serve one another.
It's my hope to see our influence grow within our community. That Truckee would know that Sierra Bible Church and the people of Sierra Bible Church truly love Truckee, and love the people. That they would see our church as an advocate for our town. And ultimately that Truckee would really see (even if they don't know what we believe or don't agree with what we believe) that we love them and that we're here for them.
We would love to be able to share your thoughts with our CPD family. If you write a blog, or do other forms of writing, we'd like to consider utilizing you as a guest blogger. Please contact us if you're interested!