San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Miles McPherson offers a ‘Third Option’

Courtesy of Miles McPherson’s Instagram
Pastor Miles McPherson teaches “The Third Option” which places value in the importance of cultural diversity.

Miles McPherson is the senior pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego, which he founded in March 2000 right here on The Mesa in Montezuma Hall.

“Starting out, we wanted a central place. I love the campus, I love being with kids,” McPherson said. “It was exciting because our church at the time was made up of a lot of young people and it still is. It just fit hand-in-glove that services would be on campus where students could just walk.”

The Rock Church has since expanded to five physical locations across San Diego County, as well as an online campus and micro-sites. McPherson said he never imagined the church would have as big of an outreach as it had today when he was preaching at Montezuma Hall. 

“The things we’re doing now, and the people we’re reaching now were not even conceivable,” McPherson said. “All of the people online we’re reaching weren’t even conceivable, so we’ve gone far beyond what we thought we could ever do.” 

The mission of The Rock Church is “Save, Equip, Send,” and while The Rock Church is a Christian church, that mission applies to everyone. McPherson said he acknowledges how God is viewed in today’s society but wants to remind people God has never changed. 

“Culture has changed so much but God has not,” McPherson said. “I wouldn’t let people spoil the opportunity to experience God’s love and transformation.”

For San Diego State students in particular, McPherson said he hopes they, too, can discover their purpose in life and walk in it.

“No matter what is happening in culture, to know what our purpose on earth is and to walk in it is the most powerful thing a person can do,” McPherson said. “I like to see young people experience that and find that quickly so they don’t waste years and relationships in pain looking in the wrong place.”

As the leader of one of the largest churches in San Diego, and a church that’s as diverse as, what McPherson said in his book, “a pack of Skittles,” he has a responsibility to serve the community around him. In 2018, he wrote “The Third Option,” a book exploring cultural diversity. 

In “The Third Option,” McPherson breaks his theory down into three options: the first two options are that people are either for you or they’re against you. The third option: honoring what we have in common, placing value in our shared humanity.

“In our culture, it is very ‘us versus them.’ Everyone feels like they have to choose one side or the other, and that you can never agree with the other side,” McPherson said. “If we can focus on things we have in common first versus looking at the ways that we are different, we realize the ways that we’re different are variations of things we have in common.” 

The topic of cultural diversity is one that hits close to home to McPherson, who grew up in a diverse family. Being multiracial, he said the pain and frustrations of discrimination motivated him to write the book for anyone who wants to bring unity to the world. 

“I felt that God would give me a word that would help people go ‘Oh, that’s what that means,’ or ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that was offensive,’” McPherson said. “I started realizing how much that I had that I could help people bridge the gap, whether between them and other people, or the internal racism against themselves.” 

“The Third Option” has taken McPherson all over the world and said he recognizes the power of being able to speak about the topic of racism through what he has written and preached. 

“It has enabled me and other people to articulate how to address issues of division better,” McPherson said. “A lot of times when people come to the issue of racism, there’s a lot of anger and angst and attacking people and shaming people, where this has given people language on how to understand bias, privilege, labels, what racism is and what our blind spots are all about.”

McPherson and The Rock Church are working to develop programs inspired by The Third Option for people of all ages. To get involved with “The Third Option,” visit their website or follow McPherson on social media at @milesmcpherson for more information.

About the Contributors
Andrew Finley
Andrew Finley, '21-22 Assistant Sports Editor
Andrew Finley is 22 years old and was born and raised in Ramona, Calif. where he resides today. He is a junior who transferred from Grossmont College in fall 2020 with an associate's degree in journalism. During that time, Finley was an assistant football coach for his alma mater Ramona High School. He was hired straight out of high school as the youngest assistant coach on the staff. Finley is now an undergraduate journalism student with aspirations of being a professional sports reporter/analyst once he graduates.
Trinity Bland
Trinity Bland, '21-22 Managing Editor
Trinity Bland is a senior studying film with an emphasis in television, Spanish and journalism from Washington, DC. Her interests include social justice, entertainment, leadership and sports. She can easily be found watching Grey's Anatomy, a retro sitcom or listening to R&B music. Follow her on Twitter @trinityaliciaa.
Activate Search
San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Miles McPherson offers a ‘Third Option’