Interview with Pastor Clint Nelson – Lead Pastor, Parkside Church

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

I wanted to explore some of the world of different Christian leaders, small and big. However, I wanted to report less on those and more in their own words. These will be published, slowly, over time.

This, I trust, may open dialogue and understanding between various communities. Of course, an interview does not amount to an endorsement, but to the creation of conversation, comprehension, and compassion. 

Parkside Church is in Mission, British Columbia, Canada, as a Foursquare denomination of Christianity – meaning a “full” church or Christianity. This may provide some intimations as to the theological inclinations of this interviewee’s particular theological orientation.

Their leadership statement provides a framework for their theological foundations and practices: “We have a few guiding approaches to leadership: 1) Leaders are to be servants (of God, His Word, His Spirit, Prayer and People); 2) Leaders ought to work hard at replacing themselves; 3) Those called and capable of leadership recognize that it is by God’s grace and mercy, not merit; and 4) Every Christ follower has a call to lead by example and lead others to Jesus.”

Pastor Clint Nelson has two children. He is a graduate of Pacific Life Bible College. Nelson is a fan of food and chainsawing. [Ed. British Columbians have been known as lumberjacks, as some may recall the Monty Python sketch.] In 2013, unfortunately [Ed. and condolences], his wife, Angela, died from cancer and – within the religious philosophy or theology – “received eternity with God.”

Here we talk about his life, church, views, and community.

*Interview conducted in May, 2018.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What was early life like for you, especially regarding religion and irreligion in peers and family?

Pastor Clint Nelson: My family were all Christians. Majority of my peers were not. My parents weren’t perfect, but they lived a genuine faith and were good parents. My friends thought I was weird for believing in Jesus, but I knew it was more true than anything the world had to offer.

Jacobsen: When did you first become Christian or a follower of Christ in an explicit way? Often, in conversation with Christians, the conversions come from upbringing or adolescence/later life experience of God – using their terminology.

Nelson: I gave my life to Jesus when I was 5. I’ve doubted my faith at various points along the way, but rational answers and/or personal experiences with God only served to strengthen my faith and erase my doubts.

Jacobsen: Parkside Church was established in 1995. Who was the founder? Why the title Parkside Church as the name of the church?

Nelson: A couple families started our church under the name Mission Foursquare Church. But in 2001, we joined with another church and chose a new name to reflect a merged community. The name Parkside was chosen to reflect our park-like physical setting, but also a reflection of the kind of community we endeavour to be (like a park – a place to find God, to rest, to walk and play with others, enjoy beauty – working towards a restored version of the Garden of Eden).

Jacobsen: What is the particular denomination of the church? How does this differ from other churches?

Nelson: We’re a part of a denomination called “Foursquare”. It’s an old English word that means “full”. It’s about 100 years old and has over 70,000 churches in 140 countries. It’s a denomination that is known for working well with other denominations. It is a Pentecostal-evangelical movement that has a few legal structure and cultural differences compared to other denominations.

Jacobsen: What does an average Sunday service look like at the church? How do you, as a pastor, prepare the sermon? What tend to be the topics taught or spoken about at the church?

Nelson: We gather for coffee and light breakfast then sing songs of love and praise to our God, we pray for various matters, share announcements, give an offering, share a sermon, and offer personal pray for those that want prayer. We have a few people that prepare and give a sermon. We prepare the sermon by reading, thinking, researching through the passage. We work through books of the Bible for the most part so over time we cover all the topics covered by the Bible.

Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Pastor Clint. 

Nelson: You’re welcome. I hope it helps. Thanks for your interest and patience. 

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-booksfree or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.

Canadian Atheist Associates: Godless Mom, Nice Mangoes, Sandwalk, Brainstorm Podcast, Left at the Valley, Life, the Universe & Everything Else, The Reality Check, Bad Science Watch, British Columbia Humanist Association, Dying With Dignity Canada, Canadian Secular AllianceCentre for Inquiry CanadaKelowna Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Association.

Other National/Local Resources: Association humaniste du QuébecAtheist FreethinkersCentral Ontario Humanist AssociationComox Valley HumanistsGrey Bruce HumanistsHalton-Peel Humanist CommunityHamilton HumanistsHumanist Association of LondonHumanist Association of OttawaHumanist Association of TorontoHumanists, Atheists and Agnostics of ManitobaOntario Humanist SocietySecular Connextions SeculaireSecular Humanists in CalgarySociety of Free Thinkers (Kitchener-Waterloo/Cambridge/Guelph)Thunder Bay HumanistsToronto OasisVictoria Secular Humanist Association.

Other International/Outside Canada Resources: Allianz vun Humanisten, Atheisten an AgnostikerAmerican Atheists,American Humanist AssociationAssociação Brasileira de Ateus e AgnósticoséééBrazilian Association of Atheists and AgnosticsAtheist Alliance InternationalAtheist Alliance of AmericaAtheist CentreAtheist Foundation of AustraliaThe Brights MovementCenter for Inquiry (including Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science), Atheist IrelandCamp Quest, Inc.Council for Secular HumanismDe Vrije GedachteEuropean Humanist FederationFederation of Indian Rationalist AssociationsFoundation Beyond BeliefFreedom From Religion FoundationHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist InternationalHumanist Association of GermanyHumanist Association of IrelandHumanist Society of ScotlandHumanists UKHumanisterna/Humanists SwedenInternet InfidelsInternational League of Non-Religious and AtheistsJames Randi Educational FoundationLeague of Militant AtheistsMilitary Association of Atheists and FreethinkersNational Secular SocietyRationalist InternationalRecovering From ReligionReligion News ServiceSecular Coalition for AmericaSecular Student AllianceThe Clergy ProjectThe Rational Response SquadThe Satanic TempleThe Sunday AssemblyUnited Coalition of ReasonUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

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