Purpose and Presence: A Conversation with Eric Geiger on Faith, Family, and Finding Balance

In this episode, Jason Jacobi and Mark Boyer interview Eric Geiger, senior pastor at Mariners Church. They discuss Eric’s upbringing in New Orleans, his journey to becoming a Christian, and his approach to parenting. He shares insights on various topics, including the importance of family meals, valuing character over achievements, leadership development, and the role of faith in his life.

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00:00 Introduction and Background

08:20 Growing Up in New Orleans

24:31 Leadership Development and Seeking Wisdom

35:30 The Value of Mentors and a Supportive Community

Important Disclosure:

The opinions voiced in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Eric Geiger is not affiliated with or endorsed by LPL Financial or Boyer Financial Services.


Jason Jacobi (00:01.)
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got a special Move the Chains episode for you today. We got senior pastor in the house, Eric Geiger from Mariners Church. Eric, how are you today?

Mark Boyer (00:09.192)

Eric Geiger (00:11.544)
Man, I’m honored. I’m doing great. Now that you guys have me on your podcast finally, it’s good to be here.

Mark Boyer (00:16.905)

Jason Jacobi (00:18.252)
Well, we appreciate you taking a few moments with us today. Again, Move the Chains, we’re talking about small successes to add up to big, big wins, right? Trials, tribulations, setbacks. We want our listeners and viewers to know who the real Eric Geiger is. And obviously those of us like myself who get to listen to you on a weekly basis, we’re truly blessed to do so and listen to you deliver God’s word. So we get to see the real you.

But again, maybe just diving into some things that kind of made you into who you are today. So we’ll kind of dive into it. You’re from the from the New Orleans area, right? New Orleans.

Eric Geiger (00:55.669)
I’m so proud of you man, you said it right, New Orleans.

Jason Jacobi (00:57.451)

Mark Boyer (00:58.158)

Jason Jacobi (01:00.224)
So what was it like growing up there? Can you just describe, again, just a little backstory painting a picture for us? Home life, family life at that time, basketball fan, right? Grew up playing basketball as well.

Eric Geiger (01:12.72)
Yep, yep, I was the only white guy on the basketball team in high school. They called me the great white hope and I was so proud of that. Loved it. I grew up in an amazing family. My parents were new to the Christian faith. So my mom became a Christian when I was small, like two or three years old. She became a Christian reading the Bible and she got to Mark Chapman. She made a New Year’s resolution to read through.

Mark Boyer (01:19.877)
That’s great.

Eric Geiger (01:39.224)
the whole New Testament and it didn’t take long. She got to the second book of the New Testament is the Gospel of Mark and chapter eight says, Jesus is speaking, if anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me. And my mom just sensed God calling her to follow him. And she wasn’t even in a church, she just surrendered, she says her will to God. And then when you become a Christian reading the Bible, you wanna find a church that

that teaches the Bible. So she found this little small church down the street and started dragging my dad with her. And he went for several years before he became a Christian, would just go and listen and check it out. He was super moral. He was a New Yorker. And so also an engineer, so intellectual. And he just was just testing it all to see if it was true. And then he became a believer.

And so I grew up in a great family, but they were new to the faith. And I grew up there in the New Orleans area. I did not become a Christian until the end of my junior year going into my senior year in high school. I made an absolute, I mean, I got, I mean, just a really long list of all the horrific things I did before I met Jesus and ended up getting, I mean, I got arrested, I got in all kinds of trouble, and it was actually the…

the really lowest point of my life that became the turning point. And my dad is a really big part of that. He walked into my room one night and I was expecting like a major discipline section which I enjoyed. I mean, I’m sorry, I enjoyed it. I deserved it. I didn’t enjoy it, but I deserved it. And he says, there’s nothing you’ll ever do that will stop me from loving you.

Mark Boyer (03:25.286)

Mark Boyer (03:32.706)

Eric Geiger (03:34.273)
you’re my son no matter what. And Romans chapter two verse four says that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. And that was a moment for me of seeing the heart of God the Father really expressed through my earthly father. So that summer is when I became a Christian. So I go off to my senior year in New Orleans, which.

Mark Boyer (03:41.174)

Eric Geiger (03:59.32)
Man, in New Orleans your senior year, you can get in all kind of trouble because you’re 18. And man, you can do anything in New Orleans when you’re 18. But I stayed home and played cards with my parents because my affections had changed so much from just the grace of God. So that is a really fast story of year zero through year 18 for me growing up in New Orleans.

Mark Boyer (04:26.006)
How did that affect, so you were playing basketball, right? At that time, so, right? Your senior year? Yeah. How did that, your play time, your teammates, relationships there, was that, yeah.

Eric Geiger (04:31.244)
Yeah, yep.

Eric Geiger (04:36.697)

So I joke about it a bit. So when I got arrested, girlfriend’s parents said, don’t ever step foot on our property again. I was actually the vice president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my school, not because I was a godly guy, but just because I went to church and played hoops. They called me and said, you can’t be the vice president anymore because my name was in the paper and everything when I got arrested. I was going to this leadership academy called Boy State. They called and said, you can’t come.

Mark Boyer (04:53.25)
That’s great.

Eric Geiger (05:09.028)
So I lost all these things in my life. And then the basketball coach called me just to be sure I was going to make it to practice on Tuesday. You know, so it, I lost everything but basketball, you know, so basketball, I still was able to play. And I think the, it was progressive with my friends, both basketball friends, but also other friends from school where.

Mark Boyer (05:19.747)
Ha ha

Mark Boyer (05:23.682)
That’s right.

Eric Geiger (05:35.556)
They didn’t know what to do with me, you know, and I was staying friends with people But more and more my senior year things That I just wasn’t participating anymore, you know stood out, you know and I was still Becoming a new person, you know, you become a Christian and you’re forgiven but then you still you know growing is a process so I was growing in front of people, you know and I think that they were

they were seeing how legit I was over time.

Mark Boyer (06:07.574)
Yeah. So I have a long history with FCA. So interesting you bring fellowship of Christian athletes up because I was actually on staff for many years and leading that ministry out here for a long time. But did that pop up back up when you kind of got was there was there, I guess, my question was, was there a coach or was there any mentors at that time as you became a Christian that kind of helped you through that time? Because that’s really important, right, to have some backup and some people that are.

Helping you through that. Did you have that?

Eric Geiger (06:36.344)
Yeah. Yeah, I did. So I went to FCA camp. I remember that, which was a, which is a huge milestone after that. And then Darla Rebo was the school nurse where I went to high school and she was actually the, um, her, her husband was a, was an athlete and she was the, she was the, I guess you’d call the sponsor or the, the person, you know,

Mark Boyer (06:42.39)

Mark Boyer (07:02.346)
Yeah. Yeah, sponsor, yeah.

Eric Geiger (07:05.608)
student-led, but she was the school’s sponsor, you know, and she made, she was awesome. I would, so I would go to her office sometimes during the day and ask her questions. So, you know, she kicked me out of being the vice president, but still was there for me, you know, that in my senior year. And she, which she should have done, you know, I shouldn’t, you shouldn’t have a convict being the vice president.

Mark Boyer (07:09.836)

Mark Boyer (07:13.143)
That’s great.

Jason Jacobi (07:26.016)

Mark Boyer (07:29.152)
That’s good.

Mark Boyer (07:32.93)

Eric Geiger (07:34.468)
But then, but in grace, she walked with me and made a big impact on my life that year.

Mark Boyer (07:39.594)
That’s great. Good to hear. I was hoping to get thrown to the curb after all that.

Jason Jacobi (07:44.588)

Eric Geiger (07:44.94)
No, they didn’t. I only have good FCA memories.

Jason Jacobi (07:50.02)
That’s awesome. And Eric, so going back, it’s kind of eerie listening to you talk about your childhood. We actually share a very similar story. I was arrested in high school, kind of was a Christian, a holiday Christian per se growing up. Grew up going to Mariners Christian School here in Costa Mesa, knew all the Bible verses. So I kind of pretended to walk the walk a little bit, but again, was just trying to find myself.

came from a split kind of home, parents divorced. And so it didn’t really have like mother, father figures in the house all the time, a lot of moving and constant change, right? Like that’s hard for any kid regardless of faith or living situations with parents, it’s always hard for kids to adjust to a lot of change. But can you point back to like, I guess the thing is I always knew that God was there, God was real.

but I felt myself, I was kind of denying it. Did you kind of have a similar thing growing up because you didn’t become a Christian till junior year where you felt like it was more of denial, like you wanted to go against the grain and you had God kind of like knocking on your heart because your parents had gone to church from, what, when you were two or so? Or was it more of just, you had to go through some things to get to, you know, God knocking on your door loud enough where you let them in.

Eric Geiger (09:14.288)
Man, that’s great. That’s a great question, Jason. I think every person is different. What you said that I do think is consistent for an adolescent is trying to find yourself. And that for sure was me. I mentally knew the Christian faith because of great parents and because I was going to church, but it was definitely just like in my head and in my mind, God would not.

be the most thrilling thing I could do. Walking with God wouldn’t be as fun or as exciting as these other things that I could do. And it wasn’t until hitting rock bottom. And I think that, not I think I know that was really God’s grace to me to either bring me to rock bottom or let me get to rock bottom based on my own choices that caused me to look up. And then what I found was

that he was actually better and more thrilling than all the things that I had pursued, you know? And that I would have a more beautiful sense of who I am, a more fulfilled sense of who I am. I would have a better identity than being known for whatever, you know, being known as this guy or, you know, basketball player or dating this person or party animal or whatever. That…

Mark Boyer (10:20.46)

Eric Geiger (10:41.936)
having the identity of being his would be and is the best identity. But it took, I think it, I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want my kids to have to hit rock bottom to see it. But that’s what it took for me. Maybe I’m just so dang stubborn and selfish that it took that for me.

Mark Boyer (11:05.302)
That’s good. Hey, Jason, hold on a second. Sorry, I got a quick little break here. So you were arrested and I still let you marry Melissa. I didn’t know that, dude. That’s new to me. I’m going to. Well, we might have to change our mind here, pal. Oh, no. I got to I got to convicts on the on the podcast. Way to go. But you’re married to my third daughter, so that’s a little concerning. All right. All right.

Jason Jacobi (11:05.512)
Yeah, I think a lot.

Jason Jacobi (11:13.7)
I know after a long time. Yeah. I know. Yeah

Eric Geiger (11:16.496)
I’m so glad to bring it up on the podcast.

Jason Jacobi (11:20.812)
But, too late, you’re stuck with me.

Jason Jacobi (11:28.393)
Oh, no.

Eric Geiger (11:33.44)
Hey man, we’re uh, he who’s forgiven much loves much. That’s what you can hold to. Yep.

Mark Boyer (11:36.682)
That’s right. I hear you. Hey, so real quick, I know you’ve got two daughters, right? And they’re probably, yeah. So Melissa is my third daughter. You know, we have four girls, my wife married 42 years, four girls and in a con and, uh, so Jason all of a sudden, uh, yeah. So that Jason I I’ve heard rumors about him. He shows up, you know, I hear him. Uh, my daughter’s like interested in him at, you know, St. Andrew’s way back in the day. And, uh, anyway, he’s got this.

Jason Jacobi (11:38.188)
There we go. I love it. So that.

Eric Geiger (11:43.931)

Eric Geiger (11:50.181)

Mark Boyer (12:05.262)
Tahoe with, you know, muffler super loud and he’s just, yeah, he was, uh, you had to watch, right? That doesn’t scare you as a dad like to do with the loud muffler. Oh man, he had to go through it. He had to go through it. It was good, but you know what? He’s a good man. So I’m glad he did. I didn’t know you got arrested. I never heard that part of it.

Eric Geiger (12:10.236)
We had a loud muffler!

Any… Oh my gosh, you let him in the family with a loud muffler?

Jason Jacobi (12:27.408)
Yeah, at least you could hear me coming home to drop your daughter off at night, right? It wasn’t like sneaking around late. I heard me coming from down the street. So that’s, yeah, that’s fine. Speaking of your two daughters, Eric, obviously you and Kay, a beautiful family. So I want to touch on, because you’re talking about, you don’t want rock bottom for your daughters. How is the parenting approach maybe changed from maybe what you grew up with? Obviously, like the next generations, we try to pick up on things.

Eric Geiger (12:31.02)

Mark Boyer (12:31.823)
Thank you.

That’s good stuff.

Jason Jacobi (12:56.576)
that worked well with our parents, that maybe didn’t work as well with our personality. So how do you balance maybe being such a prominent figure in the church, but also as dad, like your story of like, there’s nothing you can’t do that will make me not love you that your dad said to you, something profound like that, right? So maybe talk a little bit about the relationship. Your oldest is a junior or sophomore in high school, right? So sophomore.

Eric Geiger (13:22.884)
Sophomore, sophomore, yeah.

Jason Jacobi (13:24.924)
Okay, so you’re going to go into the high school maybe dating phase soon. Maybe I’m jumping the gun there, but.

Eric Geiger (13:29.088)
Oh! Yeah.

Mark Boyer (13:29.642)
Not yet.

Especially if they got loud mufflers, no chance. Ha ha ha.

Eric Geiger (13:34.24)
Yeah, no loud muffers come to my house. That’s it. It’s a great question. It’s one I continually, continually wrestle with because I want to do it well. I mean, at this stage when, when a daughter is a sophomore and one who’s about to be a freshman, it’s, it’s hitting me that the, the number of years that I have in terms of influence on them while they’re in my home is getting, is getting less and less. I read, I read a stat.

Jason Jacobi (13:34.587)


Eric Geiger (14:03.692)
recently that was really staggering that essentially like 90% of the time you have with your child happens between 0 and 18 and then the rest of your life is just less time. I mean you’re you still have a relationship with them but you’re just going to have less time. So really wanting to steward the time that I have with my daughters while they’re under my care in my house has been super important. It took us a while to have kids.

So because one of the advantages of that is it gave K and I a long time to think about what kind of parents we wanted to be. And parenting to me is more important than pastoring. If I could stop pastoring right now and come back to pastoring, if I stop parenting right now, I can’t come back to parenting. So the parenting season is the most important.

Jason Jacobi (14:56.617)

Eric Geiger (15:02.588)
for me and we, it’s funny, I made a joke earlier about he who’s forgiven much loves much. And it is a passage that’s fresh in my mind because I’m actually teaching a sermon on that recently. But I’ve talked to my daughters about it that I don’t want them to feel that they have to have a rock bottom moment like me to experience God’s grace because the reality is all of us are dead in our sin. And then therefore when we’re forgiven and made alive by Christ, it’s the same grace

you can’t get any more dead than dead. So Eden and Nevi, you were dead, different kind of dead than your dad was in terms of all of the things I did, but it’s the same grace and I want them to be in all of God’s grace. And part of that is them knowing that their dad loves them no matter what. And I’ve tried to steward that time. I don’t feel like I’ve done it perfectly, but I have been a dad that’s been present.

16 years for Eden and 14 years for Evie. And they have had a dad that has made them the priority. So in terms of over my career, not over Jesus and not over K, but even over pastoring. And I love our church because I think our church is filled with people who actually want it that way. That people in our church want me to have my daughters as most important.

That’s why I love our church so much. I never feel like our church wants me to neglect my family. So I’m super blessed to be at a church that values my family.

Mark Boyer (16:42.69)
That’s good. I mean, if I do too, because you think about, you know, if you if you have incredible ministry like you do, and you, you know, when at the church, but yet your kids don’t love Jesus because they never see their dad because he’s always ministering to somebody else. Right. And or if they see a it’s a big loss and if they see a different person than the one that’s out front, you know, you know,

Jason Jacobi (16:43.104)
I love that.

Eric Geiger (17:01.072)
So it’s a big loss, a big loss.

Mark Boyer (17:09.838)
telling everybody about Jesus and then you come home and you’re like, who’s this guy? He’s different, you know, he’s different on stage. You know what I mean? It’s just the transparency and being legit at home as much as you are, you know, in public. I think that’s all. Yeah, I see that. I think that really matters and I learned that a lot with my kids, really important. Time, like you said, your time is, you can’t get it back. And man, it goes fast, right? I mean, you got two older daughters now, you don’t have a lot more time and pretty soon there’ll be.

somebody, Lord willing, you’ve been praying for their spouse and God is going to bring them men that love the Lord. And that they’re walking strong with the Lord now and the whole bit. And yet when they show up and those girls leave in a hurry, and all of a sudden you’re like, you’re second, you’re still dad, but you’re not quite, you’re not the priority. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I mean, you wouldn’t want any different, but it is a challenge as a father to realize your spot is good.

Eric Geiger (17:41.113)
Yes, I have.

Eric Geiger (18:00.748)
It’s supposed to be that way. Yep. That’s right.

Mark Boyer (18:07.746)
That’s good wisdom.

Jason Jacobi (18:09.992)
So how do you, Eric, so speaking of work-life balance, how do you, is there anything that, you know, again, this doesn’t have to just apply to ministry, right? I mean, in corporate, you’ve worked in corporate America as well, Lifeway. So how do you decompress? How do you manage the work-life balance? I mean, your schedule’s gotta be boom, boom. Is there anything that’s like kind of like a way to blow off steam or, you know, kind of get some you time back so you can recharge and rejuvenate and be filled up as well?

Mark Boyer (18:30.478)
Thank you.

Eric Geiger (18:41.04)
Time with my family really does rejuvenate me. So when I, like yesterday, Kay texted me, said, hey, I’ve made this, we’re gonna have family dinner. And I’m like, yes. And so like the time with my family is a huge win for me. One of the family principles, and then I’ll answer some things I do separate from that, but that I’ve learned, and I learned this when I was in the marketplace, when I was senior vice president at a publishing company.

It didn’t matter how much I worked as much as when I worked in terms of the impact to my kids. So you can have a guy who works, you know, 40 hours a week, but if he’s working every day from 5 30 to 7 30, that’s only, you know, Monday through Friday, that’s only 10 hours. But that’s the time when I was in the corporate world, you know, my kids were four and two and all the way to

you know, 10 and 11 and 9. But those years that 530 to 730 time was such critical, those hours are so critical. That was getting them ready for bed, that was story time, that was dinner time. What I found is I could work 70 hours a week and there was a lot of weeks I did. I mean, I was responsible for launching new resources and the turnaround of a division.

But if I could protect that 530 to 730 time and pick work back up after the kids went to bed or wake up super early, what I learned on being a dad is it didn’t matter to my daughters how much I worked, but it mattered when I worked. And if I could protect the time to take them to school, if I could protect the time at dinner, I could work a ton of hours as long as I built safeguards in my life to really

shepherd them, you know, and not just shepherd my other responsibilities. So that was like the one hack that I that I learned during the marketplace days that I teach that to young guys on our staff who have little kids. Man, you could you could be, you know, quote unquote, be a hero and only work 40 hours a week and totally neglect your family if you work the wrong 40 hours. It’s it’s about protecting the time with your kids.

Eric Geiger (21:05.728)
For me on the decompressing, man Southern California has been so great for me. I love mountain biking so much. It’s just beautiful up there. I enjoy that time. I enjoy being out with Kay, checking out new restaurants or going to the beach. Um, those, those times are.

We live in an amazing place. If you’re gonna pay the taxes here, you gotta be outside.

Mark Boyer (21:30.018)

Jason Jacobi (21:30.048)
Right? That’s very true. That is very, very true.

Mark Boyer (21:33.334)
I was thinking about your journey, Eric. It’s kind of, you know, you, most everybody now is going from California to Florida. You kind of went Florida to California.

Eric Geiger (21:33.989)

Jason Jacobi (21:42.284)
You’ve worked your way back here. Yeah.

Eric Geiger (21:44.152)
Yeah, I did Florida and Tennessee and then here. Yeah, people are, I mean, it’s almost every week I’m getting an email, hey, what’s a church like Mariners in Nashville or in Jacksonville? Folks are leaving. Yeah, they’re going the wrong way, man. They’re going the wrong way. This is…

Mark Boyer (21:47.557)
I said, get in the office.

Mark Boyer (22:02.131)
Got the directions messed up. Yeah. You know, you said about the dinner. I mean that dinner time, I think that I love that. And Jason and I were talking here recently. I mean, one of the challenges for him as a young father, you know, he’s got two little boys with another one on the way and they’re, and they’re young right now. But I look at my, you know, I got grand, a lot of grandkids and just the challenge, you know, with sports and all the things that are going on, there’s games and all those things, you know, there’s so many distractions for the family.

Eric Geiger (22:03.888)

Mark Boyer (22:29.526)
And I remember years ago reading an article actually by James Dobson, I believe, family, um, focused on the family way back. And they did a, they had done a study on how important, uh, eating together, eating dinner together was right. And the statistics around that as much as you could. So that’s, I love what you’re saying is trying to protect those times, um, for these parents. It’s, it’s hard to do, man, but it’s hard. It’s really tough with all those, all the other things going on, but very, that’s good wisdom and very important. Right. I mean, that’s, that’s what you.

That’s why you’re doing that.

Eric Geiger (23:02.328)
and valuing my daughter’s spiritual journey. I mean, the reality is, and they’ve played sports, they’ve done club volleyball, they’ve done those things, but much more important than those is their heart being more formed to love Jesus. I mean, there’s so many parents that get caught up in chasing this travel, sport, dream, but the percent of kids who actually make it to, Mark, not everybody’s gonna be a professional football player, man. Not everybody’s gonna be a…

Mark Boyer (23:23.364)

Jason Jacobi (23:32.056)

Eric Geiger (23:32.988)
and percent-wise is small. It’s small, you know, but 100% of them are going to stand before Jesus one day. You know, 100% of them are going to have to make choices their whole life based on the wisdom that they choose to collect or not collect. And so that’s, to me, more important than those other things, which I love. I love all those things that my kids do, but much more important is their character being formed more into that of a Christian.

Mark Boyer (23:55.884)

Jason Jacobi (24:01.732)
Speaking of character, I think leadership is such a big part of character and everyone’s, I think God’s kind of instilled in all of us leadership characteristics in different ways. We’re all not going to be the raw guy in the front or girl or some lead by example or by work or however they may do it. But is there somebody maybe that’s kind of fostered that or kind of

sharpened, you know, iron sharpens iron. Anybody that sharpened you in that way, like, oh, I love his leadership principles, Winston Churchill, or you know, whoever it may be that some maybe historical figures or even personal in your life that you’re like, wow, I really love the principles that they’ve taught and walked in their lives.

Eric Geiger (24:51.216)
Most of my leadership growth, I mean I’ve read a ton of books and I’ve thankfully had organizations invest in me with executive coaches and those things which have been really helpful. But the biggest development for me has come from people giving me a shot and putting me in places of leadership where I had to learn by leading, you know. And by being thrown in, often times into the deep end, it caused me to…

It caused me to know what to try to learn because I felt so overwhelmed. It forced me to pray. It forced me to seek God for wisdom, but it forced me to seek help from other people. So I think that Rick Blackwood was a pastor I worked for in Miami. I was 27 when he made me executive pastor, which was super young for that role. And, but he gave me a shot. And then at Lifeway, Tom Rayner was the CEO when he made me senior vice president.

And he just, he trusted me, but he gave me a massive level of responsibility and that was, was available to me. And I mean, it would be, you know, a seven minute phone call with him where I’d ask him something and he would share a nugget of wisdom. And I, it’s not that I have this collective book of things that were shared, but it was their presence, the presence of those leaders in my life as I was in over my head that.

that kept me going and kept me learning. And I’m forever thankful for people believing in me before I believed in myself and put me in places that honestly my resume said I shouldn’t have been in. They just, they saw something in me and trusted me more so than.

my experience warranted, but they saw in their mind, they saw something in me, or they saw a hunger in me or a passion in me or a work ethic or a grit in me, which I did, I did bring that to the table, even though I didn’t have a ton of experience on the resume. And the work, I think the work does the work of developing the leader. So more than something else, it’s actually the work that does the work of development.

Mark Boyer (27:11.17)
Sink or swim, right? I mean, it’s a, right? They threw you in. You better, you gotta, yeah, you learn a lot. And I’m sure you had some fear in that though. I mean, you know, having to conquer when they threw you in there, was there some fear, fear to that somewhat? A healthy fear, a healthy fear, maybe? How’d you handle that part? Because there can be a fear of failure that kind of can even actually stifle a, you know, a person, right? They’re just like, I can’t do it. I’m going to, I could fail, you know.

Eric Geiger (27:12.928)
Yeah, that’s right. Totally. Yes.

Mark Boyer (27:37.746)
How have you dealt with fear in your life? That type of thing.

Eric Geiger (27:41.436)
So multiple times I felt completely overwhelmed. And now looking back, I have a theology of being overwhelmed, being good. But when you’re first overwhelmed, you don’t necessarily see it as good. You know, looking back, it’s like you put to grow muscles when you’re lifting weights, you have to put more than you can handle. You have to actually overwhelm the muscles for them to grow. But I remember when I was…

Jason Jacobi (28:00.608)

Eric Geiger (28:07.148)
executive pastor in Miami and we announced to the church that we were launching new congregations and then me feeling 2008 hit and that was an economic, you know, as everyone remembers, that was an economic crisis. It hit Southern California, it hit Miami hard, you know, because real estate was, so much of it was tied up in real estate. And I remember being massively overwhelmed with how, how is this vision going to come to fruition when we have a resource.

vision gap, you know, the vision is much bigger than the amount of resources that we have and feeling am I going to be embarrassed because what I’ve articulated it’s not going to happen. So I remember that. I remember when I was at Lifeway and we were launching new resources and obviously when you launch new resources you spend a lot of money in the development of those resources before you see the fruit of what you ship, you know, before you see the

So you spend millions of dollars and we were, I was tasked to try to turn around this curriculum business. And we launched a new, a new resource called the gospel project, but that took a ton of money to launch it. And I remember April to, um, August of that’s the time that people were ordering.

and just hardly being able to sleep for, it was many months, how many people are actually going to buy this thing? And it wasn’t just a night of restlessness, it was months, months of restlessness, you know? And so yeah, I’ve had those nights where Kay’s just wondering if I’ll finally get up from the bed and go try to sleep on the couch because she’s tired of me tossing and turning, you know? Yep.

Jason Jacobi (29:58.9)
done that too. Yeah. So speaking of the kind of maybe not nervousness, but fear, you know, I think one of my favorite series that you’ve ever done at Mariners was On the Table, you know, and that was a huge, huge undertaking. And I think a lot of people were ready like before this the series started, if you were like ready to

Mark Boyer (30:01.345)
Mm-hmm In there been there for sure

Jason Jacobi (30:25.736)
like jump on you like team Eric, yeah, like he’s going to give it to him, you know, whatever it is or like on the flip side, like Eric, we’re going to come after you. You know, like there’s such polarizing subject. So I really want to know again, because I think you did a masterful job of explaining and preaching God’s word, always bringing it back to the word. What was it like, maybe not just preparing for that, but that one just sticks out in my mind because that’s such a big thing.

Eric Geiger (30:32.206)

Eric Geiger (30:36.398)

Jason Jacobi (30:53.868)
topic in today’s world. So can you explain maybe the process of how you kind of go through talking about some of these massive issues in today’s world?

Eric Geiger (31:05.452)
Yeah, I mean that I would say Jason that actually is another one where you sense God leading you to do something and there’s then the gap of it hasn’t happened yet. And you’re wondering, wow, what have I gotten into? And you don’t yet see the fruit on the other side. And I, I really believed that the church would benefit from clarity on some of these issues and not just.

you know, head knowledge clarity, but convictional clarity from the scripture coupled with compassion, realizing that we aren’t just talking about issues, but we’re talking about people, and so let’s bring clarity, but compassionate clarity. And this is… I have this conviction more now after leading for in several different environments.

where when you know in your gut, and as a Christian, you believe it’s more than just your gut, you believe the Spirit of God has said, this is what we need to do, you get to a point where you know you need to do it no matter what the result is. So on the table, even though I knew we were gonna tackle some difficulty issues and that there was no way that everybody was gonna love everything I said.

I really believe no matter what the end result is, I’m obeying Jesus and He’s led me to do this and I’m let the chips fall where they may. He said go, I’m going and ultimately I love the people that I pastor. I do and I’m accountable for them and I care for them but ultimately at the end of my life I’m going to stand and give an account to God for what I’ve said and if I’ve obeyed what He’s directing me to do. So

I had to preach that to myself, you know, going into the topics. You know, obviously some are more controversial than others, but I got to the place where no matter what the result was going to be, I could lay my head in the pillow knowing that I have done what he asked me to do.

Jason Jacobi (33:18.592)
K ever say, what are you doing? Are you doing this big topics? Like, man, this is, this is, this is crazy. Or like, maybe not that, but like, I’m sure she’s been, you know, a good person in your corner, amazing person praying for you all the time. And I mean, I know I just see your relationship and stuff, but I mean, it must be like sometimes she ever go, Eric, are you sure you want to talk about this? Like right now, maybe not like, you know, next summer or, you know, any.

Eric Geiger (33:23.033)

Eric Geiger (33:33.784)
Yeah, cheers.

Eric Geiger (33:44.428)
Right. She’s seen the wrestling that I go through for, you know, we’re married for 27 years now and so she’ll ask great questions and she’ll push back and then and then she says that she always sees something click and when I’m talking about something with such conviction she’ll say you know it’s now to the point where you cannot not do something so

Jason Jacobi (34:11.337)

Eric Geiger (34:12.324)
You know, she’s just seen that in me sustain and I’m really thankful. I’m thankful for her asking, you know, thoughtful questions, even pushing back. But then when she sees, OK, it’s at another level of conviction for him. This is not just an idea on paper. Then she moves into let’s do this. I’m with you. You have to do this. Don’t you know, I mean, don’t wuss out. Go for it. You know, like.

Yeah, that’s how she that. Yeah, when we get to that level, that’s where she is. She’s like. Forget, forget what anybody said. You go, you go like she becomes coach. Yeah. Yep, she’s great. It is she’s awesome.

Mark Boyer (34:41.451)
Go with that.

Jason Jacobi (34:41.676)

Jason Jacobi (34:50.452)
I love that. That’s amazing.

Mark Boyer (34:55.362)
That is good. What a teammate, that’s great.

Eric Geiger (34:58.468)

Jason Jacobi (35:00.336)
the pursuit of the vulnerable versus the pursuit of the truth. That always sticks in my head from your sermon. You did the social justice and woke or whatever. But again, I thought that was very masterfully done. And I think that’s just a great way for a young and older gentleman in today’s environment as Christians to live our lives. We want to pursue truth and what God calls us truth, but also having a heart for the vulnerable and just as Jesus did. And I think that’s just a good way for men.

Eric Geiger (35:22.565)

Eric Geiger (35:26.457)

Jason Jacobi (35:30.32)
and even plays into your talk. I’ve watched something on one of your sermons on gender dysphoria too. And just, I think that all kind of comes together. We need to redefine masculinity or femininity. Like we can have strong women, we can have men that are artsy or creative. And I think that’s pretty cool. It’s just a great way to frame it. So I appreciate you kind of pouring into us that way. But my question off of that comes, so as men in a world today that is

Eric Geiger (35:43.341)

Jason Jacobi (35:59.084)
polarizing that seeks to destroy not us as men, but you know, the world’s broken. We all know that. So what are some ways that you’ve seen or that you might think that we can really let Jesus’s light shine in an era that might seem quite dark?

Eric Geiger (36:20.664)
Yeah, and I mean, there’s there has for sure been an attack on masculinity, right? So there’s masculinity that has been associated with, oh, that must mean toxic masculinity. Well, I mean, now there’s actually masculinity that’s not toxic, you know, and true masculinity following after Jesus is not toxic. You know, if we are becoming men who are formed more and more into the character of Jesus, then we’re then it’s

Jason Jacobi (36:32.778)

Eric Geiger (36:50.856)
It’s a great masculinity. I’m actually reading a book on that by Nancy Piercy now. It’s basically about the war on masculinity. And she shows that Christian men, from tons and tons of research, that we are exceptional compared to the rest of the world, exceptional fathers and husbands and employees and leaders that we, those of us who follow after Jesus, that we…

We care for the flourishing of our families. We care for the flourishing of the employees that we oversee, that we actually care for people. That men who follow after Jesus are really good men. And the reason that’s true is because we aren’t only following an idea. Jesus isn’t an idea. Jesus is a person and we follow after him and he changes us. He keeps transforming us. I’m not…

Jason Jacobi (37:32.053)

Eric Geiger (37:47.536)
I’m not what I need to be, but I’m way better than what I was. But it’s not because of my goodness, it’s because of Jesus changing me and transforming me. And so a man who follows after Jesus is going to become increasingly better and better.

Mark Boyer (38:04.93)
Hmm. That is for sure. So to that, I got a question for you. So obviously like me, I mean, your wife is your strong, I mean, you married up, right? I mean, you, you definitely married above your head. Um, but I’m wondering, like, you know, we’ve sometimes men out there, you know, they’re trying to live and make these decisions on their own, you know, and trying to go, you know, Hey, I’m, I’m just going to plow ahead and not, I’m curious, like, do you have a group of men that you

Eric Geiger (38:15.164)
For sure I did.

Mark Boyer (38:35.19)
meet with regularly that you’ve kind of surrounded yourself with some people that are like-minded, but also can even debate you on some things. I mean, you know what I’m saying? Like help you think through, do you have some people like that you on purpose have put together so that you would be a part of to sharpen iron sharpening iron? So that’s something even as a head pastor at Mariners, it’s something you still try to do.

Eric Geiger (39:02.192)
For sure. I’d say there’s three groups of people who sharpen me on a consistent basis. So, Kay and I are in a life group at our church, and there’s great men in that group who encourage me but also can poke and challenge me. So that’s a group that I’m in. And then at our church, our governance is I’m an elder with a group of elders. So,

There’s not like an outside board, you know of other pastors that oversee me there’s it’s a group of men within our church that I’m accountable to them. I have my annual evaluation with them next week. So they Yeah, exactly. Thank you And there I feel I’ve been you know, I’ve been here almost six years I feel super supported encouraged and I try to lead in a way where

Mark Boyer (39:47.342)
Good luck.

Eric Geiger (40:03.672)
they know the conviction and the direction that God’s leading us in. But there has been some times where I’ve been told no. I’ve been told no on some things and I respect the authority that God’s placed over me. And so they are my spiritual authority. And then outside of that there’s leaders that I’ve been told no.

Because of my previous role, Mark, I’m connected, because I used to publish a whole bunch of Christian leaders who I got to have relationships with that I still am able to call. And so I have great pastor friends that I’m able to bounce ideas off of and also share challenges and struggles with. So, I mean, I don’t think any of those three are complete, but all three together, because my life group,

Mark Boyer (40:36.45)
Yeah, you got lots of people.

Eric Geiger (40:58.724)
they’ve never been a pastor. So they’re awesome, but they don’t know the pressure I have. The elders, they’re the spiritual authority of the church, but those guys haven’t been a pastor either. Then there’s my pastor friends, but they don’t live here and see, they don’t see me on a daily basis, right? So I think it’s all three of those together that I’m grateful for all three coming together.

Mark Boyer (41:28.578)
That’s good. That’s really good. I think it’s, you know, so important again, seeing there seems to be an isolation anymore, you know, maybe even starting way before COVID, but we’re all, we get isolated and we need each other, right? And then we need, we need teammates, you know, that’s again, we’re this, we’re this podcast got this kind of the sports theme about moving the chains, but man, you need your teammates to come alongside and keep you accountable. You need to sometimes go into the film room and have somebody say, you know, Hey, you know, you know, you did.

Eric Geiger (41:54.053)

Mark Boyer (41:56.586)
You got to get better here. You know, there’s some areas inside, you know, if there’s anyone, I just encourage anybody that’s maybe listening to this. If you don’t, you know, be looking for that, get plugged into Mariner, small groups, get into rooted, get into some of these groups. You’ve got to have people around you that sharpen you and, you know, and, and like fine gold, right. It’s so important.

Eric Geiger (42:17.756)
And you know in the sports theme, I think you also need a coach. And not that many people know this, this is kind of insider. But the elders have, they allow for, we pay for a seminary professor of preaching four times a year, evaluates my sermons and does a clip by clip play. It’s just with me one on one, so I don’t know anybody else see it. But it…

Mark Boyer (42:40.298)

Jason Jacobi (42:42.185)

Mark Boyer (42:45.006)
Well, you’re watching film. That’s watching film right there. Ha ha ha.

Jason Jacobi (42:46.716)

Eric Geiger (42:47.)
He’s watching film and he’s saying you did this, you should go back and check this text here. I suggest you do this differently. And it’s 90% encouraging, but there’s 10% in there where it’s, hey, here’s an area of growth for you, here’s an area of development for you. And so yeah, people would think, does Eric get any feedback?

Yeah, I get roasted. You know. So, someone’s like, I need to roast Erickson. Send an email. No, no, no. You don’t need to do that. We already got that covered. We got that covered.

Jason Jacobi (43:24.716)

Mark Boyer (43:25.474)
Are you coachable, Eric? Are you coachable though? Are you handling it pretty well or is it sometimes hard?

Eric Geiger (43:30.784)
So because I grew up playing sports, right? You always heard, hey, the coach would say, don’t worry if I’m yelling at you, worry when I stop yelling at you, right? Because that means I’ve given up on you. So yes, but it’s gotta be the right person. You don’t want just some rant. You don’t want the fan yelling at you. You want the coach who knows what he or she’s doing yelling at you, right?

Mark Boyer (43:40.582)
Yeah, right. Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Jason Jacobi (43:41.275)
Yeah, that’s true.

Mark Boyer (43:48.658)
Oh yeah, of course. No.

Mark Boyer (43:54.966)
Yeah. And important in that time to be, you know, have that humility to be able to listen and adjust. Again, it’s kind of that little thing where the little things we’re talking about, you do the little things can really make the bigger things much more productive and better. So that’s good. That’s really good.

Eric Geiger (44:08.091)

Jason Jacobi (44:13.164)
I think the last question I have for you, Eric, is talk about faith. Obviously, your faith journey, rock bottom, become a Christian, obviously there’s ups and downs in life. How has the word faith maybe transformed from when you first became a Christian or first where you kind of heard of Jesus? I think that’s a really interesting thing because faith means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

So maybe how has your definition changed or even your walk with Jesus changed and grown over the last 30, 40 years?

Eric Geiger (44:52.504)
Yeah, so the biblical definition, you know, faith, Hebrews 11 is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And I have a deeper understanding of what it means to be sure of what I hope for. So even in the last couple of months with my father passing, I I’m more sure of what I hope for. So and hope, not like a wishful thinking, but no, I believe I believe that.

there’s everlasting life and my dad is enjoying everlasting life now. And so I’m more, I have a more profound understanding of that verse through pain and through suffering because, um, no, I am sure I, and, and when I’m struggling, I have to remind myself and I, you know, I have to preach the gospel to myself. No, you, you believe this, this is true that your dad is enjoying everlasting life. You’re sure of this. This is your faith. This is what you believe.

So some of those verses as we progress through life take on a new meaning because we have the pain of living in a broken world that in those verses then become water to us in the middle of our pain. I also know when I became a Christian I didn’t think I could even articulate all that was happening to me.

but now I can, you know, like I didn’t know what the word justification meant or you know, what sanctification meant. Augustine, the early church father says that the faith is really, it’s faith seeking understanding. So you start with faith and then as you mature, you actually understand your faith more. So I understand it’s all grace though, it’s all what Jesus was doing in my life, but now I can better articulate what he was doing.

because I just have a deeper understanding. And that, but that’s encouraging for me to remember because sometimes when someone can’t articulate, it doesn’t mean that they don’t, they don’t believe. They have faith, they just haven’t yet, you know, we grow in our understanding. So, you know, sometimes people ask like, hey, what does somebody need to, all they need to know to become a Christian? Man, I didn’t know much. I just knew I needed forgiveness.

Eric Geiger (47:09.184)
needed Jesus and now I can articulate all of these beautiful words that the Bible says happened to me but I sure as heck didn’t know those words back then you know and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t have faith it just means now my faith is coupled with understanding

Mark Boyer (47:18.901)

Mark Boyer (47:28.226)
That’s good.

Jason Jacobi (47:30.292)
I feel like a lot of people, they feel like they need to change before they come to Christ where Christ changes once we accept them, which is basically what you just said. So that’s amazing. I love that. Mark, any last questions before we let Eric go?

Eric Geiger (47:35.376)

Mark Boyer (47:42.966)
No, I think, wow, what a special hours has flown by. So I want to make sure Eric gets home with his family. Hopefully, yeah, and all of us actually since we talked about that. But man, Eric, thank you for being a part of this and helping us move the chains today. I mean, I heard some just incredible nuggets of wisdom and gold in there. I’d say just the things that you chatted about and kind of the principles that we talked about in regards to your upbringing

Jason Jacobi (47:52.553)

Mark Boyer (48:12.886)
You know, the things that you learned along the way and you’re, you know, sink and swim. I love that. And then, you know, even to the end here, we’re talking about, you know, people around you that really helped you get to where you are. And most of all, I just say, I love the fact of your relationship with your wife. I think that’s really, uh, you know, as you, uh, I think it’s, um, yeah. And, and, and your attitude about wanting to win at home for, you know, first and foremost, that’s the way that’s so important. And.

Unfortunately, I don’t see that, you know, been a Christian long time. That’s an area that I think a lot of men have really, they just, they just don’t focus there. And it’s when I, when I was with FCA and we were working with staff, I used to tell the kids, I used to tell the staff all the time. And it’s all great that you get out to these schools and you, you know, you’re sharing Jesus and people are coming to Christ. But man, what about your kids? You know, what are, what are you, you know, if you don’t win there, you’re going to be, you know,

Eric Geiger (49:05.306)

Mark Boyer (49:10.03)
10, 20 years down the road here, you’re going to be like, oh, bummer, I missed it. Don’t miss it, don’t miss it. So that one really hit me today. And I think that’s, I know somebody out there is going to be blessed and hopefully encouraged by that. None of that comments, good stuff. That was really good.

Eric Geiger (49:14.724)
Right, totally.


Jason Jacobi (49:27.54)
Yep. Well, thank you. Thanks so much.

Eric Geiger (49:27.94)
Man, thank you. It was fun to hang out. I enjoyed the conversation too. Appreciate what you guys are doing.

Jason Jacobi (49:32.156)
Likewise, we’ll see you. We’ll see you around church. God bless

Mark Boyer (49:34.587)
God bless you.

Eric Geiger (49:36.745)
Awesome. See you guys.

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