Interview with Mike MacIntosh
Sept. 1998

For the past twenty-three years Mike has been the Pastor of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California, a congregation of approximately 7,500 adults and children. He is also the Founder and President of Horizon International Ministries, the evangelistic arm of Horizon.

Mike is the President the National Youth Crisis Hotline, 1 800-HIT-HOME, a youth assistance and counseling organization helping to meet the needs of approximately 385,000 young people annually across America. The Youth Crisis Hotline will soon venture into the international scene. He also serves as Chaplain for the San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

He holds Master of Arts, Master of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Azusa Pacific Graduate School of Theology and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.

For more on Mike's ministry check out Horizon Christian Fellowship At what point in time did you become apart of what the media coined as the Jesus Movement?

Mike: I came to the Lord in the Spring of 1970. The Jesus Movement was just beginning to make an impact in Southern California on the beaches. Mike, would you share with us some of your testimony?

Mike: When I gave my life to Jesus, it was not much of a life to give. I was 26 years old. I had married young at 19 and divorced 3 months later. Married a second time at 22 and divorced 2+ years later. I had dropped out of high school, had a child out of wedlock at 17. Did not hold a regular job. Came from a broken home with an alcoholic father. No direction for my life. Alcohol played a big part of my life from 16-26. Then drugs became fashionable. This was the messed up mixed up life I gave to Jesus. A loser. Lost with no hope of being found.

On the last evening I ever took drugs. I had an ugly ugly experience. It was so real because of the hallucinatory that it did damage for 2 years. I thought that I had died and for 2 years of psycho therapy struggled with the reality. In my mind I thought I had been shot by some one while on the drug. It took 10 months of therapy to get me to believe I was alive. Another 7 months to say okay, I am alive but why is half of my head missing.....I had no hope of ever being normal again. Personally, I settled it in my mind that I would be a mental cripple the rest of my life.

However, because of God's love and forgiveness, He never let that be the case. One day at school I heard Love Song playing in the free speech area. Chuck Girard shared how God had changed his life. After 200 LSD trips he was clear-headed and at peace with God and himself. That was it for me. I followed the group to Calvary Chapel and heard them play and heard the Gospel preached and surrendered on the spot. Jesus was my saviour and soon to be my Lord. One month later I went to Chuck Smith and the elders of the church and explained my situation of suffering and pain and mental anguish. They anointed me with oil and laid hands upon me and prayed. I was instantly healed of the psychological and of any brain damage....God spoke to my heart and said, "Michael, I have not given you the spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." It was like waking up from a two year long bad dream. I was back to reality and so happy!

My wife, Sandy, saw such a change in my life that she gave her heart to Jesus and we were remarried after almost 3 years of divorce. Then my mother saw the change and she gave her heart to the Lord. Then Sandy's mother and father saw the change in both of us and they both gave their hearts to Jesus. He is a wonderful and merciful and loving God! Was the Jesus Movement a revival, an outpouring, or just church renewal?

Mike: The Jesus Movement was an "awakening" much like the early years of America with Jonathan Edwards preaching. The Jesus people were not a revival or renewal because they were not church goers or members. They were lost and God opened their eyes supernaturally. Would you tell us what it was like back then? What was happening in the hearts and lives of all those young people?

Mike: On the West Coast of the United States drugs were rampant. Sex was the in thing for young people. Communal living was the norm. Though the drugs and new eastern religions were invading the U.S. they and the new sounds of rock and roll did not fill the emptiness that was in the hearts of the young. It was a real cultural revolution fueled by drugs, music, promiscuity. When the drug over does began, many realized that drugs were a dead end street. The Gospel was able to fill the void. Some likened the life changing to what Paul experienced on the Damascus Road?

Mike: For many of us it took a dramatic life changing to get our attention. Much like the Road to Damascus experience for Saint Paul. We were hardened to Church and Christianity. They were both out of touch and out of date. So the combination of true spiritual awakening and experience combined with a church like Calvary Chapel where we were accepted with unconditional love began the maturing of a lost generation. Did Christian Contemporary Music play an important part with the youth of that generation? Is today's Christian music as effective as it was in the 70's in communicating the gospel? What about the Bible?

Mike: Christian music took tremendous leaps into the future. The music of the church was not relevant to our trends or appeals. It was old, outdated, uninspiring. When the musicians of the Jesus Movement era began using their abilities to write and play contemporary songs it was the one bridge builder to cross the gap for the newest generation of Christians. For the past 20 years the fervorency of evangelism has been lost and "contemporary Christian Music" is big business just like "gospel Music" was up until the the Jesus Movement. Artists got paid big bucks. record labels made stars not servants...the worship music was not inspired because of a love for God but for the royalties.,...Many people in the Contemporary scene are millionaires and have not baptized or prayed with one lost soul. It is "gig to gig".........

On a cheerier note there are those 7,000 that haven't bowed their knee to baal. They continue to be low key servants going from church to church lifting up the name of Jesus. Their concerts are for a purpose not ticket sales. I do notice this inspired group is not interested in the big business of music......It is entirely possible that once some administrative leadership stands up and says: "hey you musicians! Called of God! Get over here and let's go to war for the lost X generation and their little brothers and sisters the Y Generation and the Z generation that is in diapers!" We will have something bigger than the Jesus Movement. In your opinion what constitutes an effective ministry?

Mike: An effective ministry is one that is bearing fruit. Spiritual fruit. People are coming to know Jesus. People are sharing their faith. Compassion and love are obvious to all. The Bible is the standard for spiritual maturity and spiritual growth. Prayer is at the top on the list. The fruit is making a difference in individual lives. The changed lives are reproducing themselves and sharing the gospel with others. An effective ministry is humble, meek, generous, giving not taking. The emphasis of an effective ministry is Jesus. Not the ABC'S of successful church growth or ministry growth.
A= Attendance [musicians / audience]
B= Buildings [sales (t-shirt, hat, trinkets, cd's, tapes)]
C= Cash [Dove award, royalties, assets] Mike, you are President of the National Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-HIT-HOME. Would you share what they are all about and how others can get involved?

Mike: 1-800-HIT-HOME is a ministry to those under 18 years of age. It reaches 300,000 kids in Canada and the U.S. each year with counselling and help. Any Christian can answer the phone in their home and the computer in San Diego will transfer calls to them. We lead a couple of hundred youth to the Lord each week. 619-277-4991 is the number to call if someone would like to volunteer and if churches would like to get on line. What words of wisdom would you impart to young people that want to be in the ministry today?

Mike: If someone were young and had a desire to get "into the ministry" I would say pray pray pray and then pray. Make sure it is a calling from God. Then read read read and read some more of the Bible and find your calling in The Word. Then I would encourage them to offer themselves to help their own church first and to be available to their pastor to serve in any way. Cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the carpets, sweeping the parking lot. The greatest way to learn to be a servant is to be a servant.....volunteer to teach Sunday School. What is the most important thing a pastor can give his congregation in the course of ministry?

Mike: The most important thing a pastor can give his congregation is Jesus. "I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Too many pastors are giving their congregation a slick presentation. They are giving their congregation plays, dramas, mimes, jugglers, programs that are bought from others, outlines and clever words. Give them Jesus. Jesus is the one who died on the cross for our sins and that is not a message to water down or try to make palatable. "The preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those that perish. But, to those of us that are saved it is the power of God unto salvation." It saddens me to see friends turn from lifting Jesus up, to lifting up the sanctuary, tv screens, planned and orchestrated and timed music, and brief "inspirational" or "topical helps" . The cross is an Offense the Bible says and that doesn't leave much room for "the seeker sensitive movement" Give them Jesus. Teach them the Bible. Teach the to Pray. Show them how to lead others to Jesus. Visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction. Give them Jesus. What do you think about this technological explosion called the Internet and it's use for spreading the gospel?

Mike: The Internet like every other technological break through since the crucifixion is a good thing, until it is used for a bad thing. The world has a communication tool at it's hand. For what ever reason the planners designed it for military use and now it is for commercial use. We must be careful of the pitfalls on the web..... Any parting words to our readers?

Mike: Watch out for the strong delusion that the world is under with complacency and materialism. Continue to faithfully read and study and apply the Holy Scriptures to your life. Would you share a scripture that has touched your life through the years of ministry?

Mike: Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." Mike, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. May God continue to bless your ministry.

Special thanks to David Burgin for contributing the questions used in this interview.