Jim Hopkins is senior pastor of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland, California, where he has served since 1989.
1. What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
I have tried to let Jeremiah’s words (29:7) to the exiles in Babylon, a community wondering what its focus should be, shape my ministry: “Seek the peace (welfare) of the city you are in and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace.”
2. Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
John Townsend, my mentor at the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles, who said, “We serve a God of great surprises and magnificent differences.”
Ruth Morales, a staff colleague at FBC Los Angeles and retired elementary school principal, who said, “Read to your kids, sit with them when they do your homework and show up at their schools.”
J. Alfred Smith, pastor emeritus at Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oakland, and a seminary professor of mine, who said, “Know your turf. Know your turf. Know your turf.”
3. List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
My desert island books are Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch, and The Shaking of the Foundations by Paul Tillich.
4. What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
One of the most critical issues facing people today is the need to dismantle racism.
5. What are a few of your hobbies?
I like to walk every morning with Karen (my wife of 43 years) and our dog, marvel at the growth of our five grandchildren, watch British mysteries on television and umpire baseball games.
6. If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
My life’s trajectory was shaped by the six years I spent as the associate pastor of First Baptist Church Los Angeles (1983-89). I almost decided I couldn’t possibly be called to a city like L.A. I am so grateful for the 10 seconds of reconsidering that decision.
7. Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
Because “there is no place that God is not,” there is always more to tell.
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.