Since graduating from Biola’s Talbot School of Theology in 2004 with an M.A. in philosophy of religion and ethics, Mike Erre has become an important voice in the evangelical church. The author of such books as The Jesus of Suburbia (2006) and Death By Church (2010), Erre has gained a reputation as a prophetic and inspiring voice within American Christianity. Erre, who has served as a pastor at Rock Harbor church and Mariners Church, recently became the senior pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, following in the footsteps of predeces- sors Chuck Swindoll and Dale Burke. He recently shared his story with Biola Magazine.
I came out to Southern California from Ohio in order to pursue a degree in philosophy of religion from Talbot School of Theology. I had met J.P. Moreland several years previously and he had been instrumental in my coming to Christ. I was eager for the opportunity to study under him.
I had a great experience at Talbot. I made many friends that I am still in touch with but the greatest legacy that Talbot left in me was an increased ability to think critically and compellingly about cultural issues from a biblical perspective.
I started at Rock Harbor in January 2003 as the lead teaching pastor and had the privilege of serving there for eight years. In 2010, my wife and I sensed a release from that calling and the invitation to step into the unknown, so with heavy hearts we said goodbye to Rock Harbor. After several weeks of praying and searching, we decided to accept a position at Mariners Church Mission Viejo.
My wife, Justina, and I are incredibly honored and excited to be a part of First Evangelical Free Church. It has such history and many great things that God is doing at present. It also represents a compelling future sitting at the crossroads of Orange and Los Angeles County, surrounded by thousands of college students, and maintains a close-knit tie to the Biola/Talbot community.
My first book, Jesus of Suburbia, was published in 2006 and was about the ways in which we settle for and prefer a “tamed down” Jesus instead of the real one. My next book was Why Guys Need God and attempted to give a broader feel for what masculine spirituality looked like than what was presented in John Eldredge’s book Wild at Heart.
Death by Church came out in 2009 and was an attempt to influence the three-way conversation that was happening between mainline churches, emerg- ing churches and evangelical churches about what the nature of the church was from a Kingdom of God perspective. Why the Bible Matters came out in 2010 and was written to address that question to those under the age of 30.
I am working on a new book hoping to come out in the fall of 2013. The working title is Seeking the God Who Hides and it’s about the re-introduction and cultivation of mystery, awe and wonder in the Christian life.
I am passionate about seeing the generations of believers in our churches re-integrated so that the younger generation realizes they have much to learn and the older generations realize they have much to give. I am also passionate about seeing the church grow increasingly “on mission” so that it no longer exists for its own self-preservation but to make inroads into culture through its public witness in word and in deed.
My wife, Justina, and I have been married 12 years. We have three wonderful kids named Nathan, Hannah and Seth. Probably the biggest blessing and challenge in our life was the addition of our son, Seth. In 2008, three months before he was born, we found out he had Down syndrome. The Lord has led us faithfully, mercifully and gently to a radically different way of life with him as the centerpiece of our family.
I was a Christian for many years before I really started to follow Jesus. My passion is to see Jesus get bigger and bigger in the minds and hearts and lives of his followers.