Pastor Miles McPherson played four years in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers from 1982-1985. It was during this time that he developed a cocaine addiction that found the NFL star reduced to regularly visiting the seedy neighborhoods of San Diego to feed his habit. After his second season in the NFL and after a weekend-long drug binge, he called out to Jesus Christ, accepted Him and stopped doing drugs in one day.
In 2000, he felt called by God to start the Rock Church in San Diego. According to Outreach Magazine, the Rock has consistently been one of the nation's fastest growing and largest churches, with nearly 15,000 people attending one of the Rock's eighteen Sunday services, in addition to services that are experienced through online streaming.
Out of The Rock Church came The Do Something Church ministry philosophy which the church developed from its experience serving its community in partnership with community leaders. This outwardly focused church is experiencing growth by loving their neighbors and the leaders the 7 Mountains of Culture:
This includes religion, family, government, education, business, entertainment, and media. "If you want to influence your city, go the person at the top of the mountain," explains McPherson.
Recently Worship Facilities' Vice President, Jim Wagner sat down with Miles McPherson to learn more about his empowering church.
Jim Wagner: In terms of culture at your church people are dedicated, caring and outwardly focused; How did you create that?
Miles McPherson: If you define culture as what you do and how you do it, then we set the tone for the church from the top down. The tone at the top with the pastor and staff is that we are going to do the best we can to help people in need. It's not perfect every time but we will always request excellence in what we do.
As a church we are going to serve and love our community. We're going to do things right because God deserves our best. We should do everything as unto the Lord.
What is talked about from the pulpit is modeled from the pulpit. I frequently talk about what I do in the community—burdens that I have for the community. People that live in our area are hurting. We have homeless kids, kids that are killing themselves or hooked on drugs. We continually put that in front of the church and say that God is asking us to love these people as well as he loves us.
JW: Moving into your first facility—did that change how your community worked, how your staff approached things? Were there any surprises when you moved into a permanent location?
MM: Our church's first five years we were on the campus of San Diego State and we moved 33 times in those five years. Every year or so there were six or seven times when we had to be somewhere else, outside or in a hotel. We had offices but we didn't have classrooms or a sanctuary during the week.
So when we moved into our permanent facility we had space to do ministry everyday—not only big meetings but classes and training. It gave people a home, a base from which we could make plans because we were going to be there seven days week.
We now have 200,000 square feet and it's still not big enough. And every time we get a room we need another. We realized how much need there was in the church that wasn't being met. That's what surprised methe fact that we kept filling up rooms. The more space you make the more people just start using those places for things that God puts on their heart. Our goal is to make more room available so that as many people as possible can be in ministry.
JW: As you are selecting additional facilities are you choosing them based on geography or a certain structure to match your needs; How does that all come together? You seem to be strategic in where you are placing them.
MM: It's a combination of a couple of things. San Diego County has about three million people and it's our goal to have about ten locations by the year 2020. We know we want to be located all over the county. Buildings are hard to come by in San Diego so part of the reasoning is, "where can we get a building?" The other part of the reasoning is, "where do we have people?" We now have people coming from all over the county so that's not as big of a deal, but when we first started our facility choices were predicated on where we had a lot of people since we didn't know if the model would even work for us. We wanted to put a church where we had the highest chances for success.
We can see who is watching online in San Diego. The next function is to find a building and getting a permit which takes about a year. Unfortunately it's very difficult to have a church building permit for religious services in San Diego. So that is definitely part of the reasoning of where we will go.