The headline is hot off the press. Rolland Slade is the newly elected President of the California Southern Baptist Convention, and we snagged time with him for a 7 Questions interview! – Rolland serves as Lead Pastor at Meridian Southern Baptist Church in El Cajon. This former Executive Committee Chair of the Southern Baptist Convention and Impact Citizen of the year for El Cajon is a sports junkie, rooting for the Lakers, the Padres, and for San Diego State’s football team (just don’t ask him about the Chargers). Rolland’s passion for the local church is what he refers to as his “big calling.” He loves his community and is present across San Diego, but his church of 19 years is his highest ministry priority.
1. What podcast are you listening to right now?
Well, my new favorite is The GC Collective Podcast which I catch on my Spotify account. It’s been really fun to listen to you guys having a good time. I also listen to some sports stuff, as well as Tony Evans. He encourages me. I met him at a convention a couple of years ago. I got a picture with Tony and Fred Luter and, you know, I’m just standing there stiff as a board, thinking…. who am I?
2. What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?
I’d like to meet Peter because he always seemed to be… on the edge. He asked good questions. He was willing to take risks, and he was always “getting into it.” I’d ask him, “What did it feel like when you started to sink in the water? What went through your head? Did it ‘click’ later?”
3. In-N-Out or Chick-fil-A?
Chick-fil-A because it’s the closest to my house. They manage their lines better too. In-N-Out’s lines are too long. I don’t like waiting in line for food. If I’m going to have to wait that long, I’ll just go home and cook it myself. I also serve as a chaplain at Chick-fil-A. Marketplace chaplains were founded by an SBC military chaplain. As a chaplain, I’m assigned one of the local Chick-fil-A’s where I go in and talk to the associates at least twice a month. We are part of the employee care package. If there is a crisis, we are available 24/7 at no cost to them. In San Diego we have a lot of military wives who work at Chick-fil-A while their husbands are out to sea. So, if they need resources, we have the opportunity to walk alongside them.
4. If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be and why?
I’ve traveled a good bit domestically and a little bit internationally, but I still want to go to the Holy Land. Walking the steps of Jesus or walking through the cities where Paul preached… for me that would make everything come alive even more. It’s on my bucket list.
5. What is your favorite Bible verse or what is a Bible verse you are currently meditating over?
My life verse is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I don’t need to be afraid of things, or people, or situations. God hasn’t given that to me. If I have fear, it is not of Him. He has created me to be powerful, loving, and to have a sound mind.
6. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Don’t get distracted or off course in your studies. I’d love to be further along with my D.Min or Ph.D. I serve as a casual mentor and maybe eventually I’ll get a chance to acquire the academic credentials to teach in a seminary. If I had to do it over again, I would have buckled down and stayed with it and not let hurdles get in the way.
7. When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now, and why?
Immanuel – God with us. Because I’m never alone. Even when I feel lonely, I’m never alone. I know that in those times when I feel lonely, He’s there. He picks me up. You know, that “footprints in the sand” is kind of like a cool poem for me. When I feel alone, that’s when He’s picking me up. Even with my car accident – the woman whose lawn was almost ruined came out and she said, “God is good,” and I said, “all the time.” That was the first thing I heard after getting out of the car. I sat there and thanked God that I was out of my vehicle with no blood and all my limbs still attached. Was there another passenger in the car with me? Yes. . . and He protected me because I wasn’t alone.