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As He Did on the Field, Scribner Answers Call : After Careers With UCLA and Rams, He Finds His Life's Work as a Pastor in Santa Monica

Where Are They Now: Rob Scribner

July 10, 1993|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Almost anyone in his place would have been thrilled, but not Rob Scribner. Not when he couldn't shake the emptiness inside. Not when his everyday existence seemed meaningless, with crucial pieces missing.

A multifaceted and exceptionally gifted athlete, Scribner was a key member of the Rams when playing for the team wasn't considered football purgatory. He was in the limelight. He was happily married and owned a home in a quiet neighborhood in Mar Vista, a community that borders Culver City, Santa Monica and Venice. Life looked good.

But not to Scribner.

"There was no real satisfaction in my life," said Scribner, a former standout at Van Nuys High and UCLA. "I wasn't very happy about things I was doing and who I was."

Searching for answers, Scribner went to the Scriptures. And he found a church, one he says wasn't so much fire and brimstone but was committed to the Christian principles he revered. His outlook began to change.

Little did he know where it would lead him.

It's a pleasant summer morning in Santa Monica. The marine layer hasn't lifted, keeping the sun from striking with full force and making the gentle ocean breeze more soothing. In a small, unpretentious office at the Lighthouse Foursquare Church a few blocks from the beach, Rob Scribner is at work.

Now the senior pastor of the church he once rushed to for guidance, Scribner sits behind an ample desk, talking about his favorite subject--Jesus Christ. Dressed in a white T-shirt with the church emblem and "Pastor Rob" on the left breast, blue shorts and sneakers, Scribner still appears fit enough at 42 to play a few downs.

He prefers to spend the time and effort differently.

"Our vision is to disciple people and to plant churches throughout the world to spread the gospel," Scribner said. "We have about 11 people we've sent out to pioneer churches in other places."

As those missionaries go about their task, Scribner tends to the flock at home. The church, a two-story white wooden building with navy blue trim, is home to about 350 worshipers during Sunday morning services. There also are Sunday evening and Wednesday night services, but those generally attract lesser numbers. Scribner conducts the services and teaches history and Bible study at the church's kindergarten-through-12th grade school attended by about 150 students.

His office on the second floor is modestly decorated with pictures of Scribner, his wife Jennifer and their six children. Soon, however, he'll have to make room on the walls for snapshots of their seventh child, due in February. There are bookcases filled with Christian books, and a photo nearby of the staunchly conservative Scribner with former President Ronald Reagan.

The photos, the books and the environment are proofs of what Scribner is all about. They detail his passion for the two things he considers fundamentally essential in life--love for family and for God.

"We came to this church because we wanted a hands-on experience in Christianity," Scribner said. "We wanted to be in a place where God healed people, where we could pray for that and see the results, and where He cared about our lives. There's a huge difference between just reading the Bible and seeing those miracles."

As a youngster growing up in Van Nuys, Scribner attended a Baptist church regularly. His father, a doctor who moved the family from Dallas when Scribner was three months old, and his mother saw to it. Those years, in fact, were the foundation for his current work.

They were also the beginning of his outstanding career in sports.

"(Van Nuys) was a great place to grow up," Scribner said. "All the kids on my block used to play football on the street, but I was the first guy from the neighborhood who played high school ball."

By his senior year at Van Nuys High in 1968, Scribner had developed into a promising baseball and football player. A self-described Gary Beban-type quarterback, one equally adept at passing or simply turning upfield after rolling out, Scribner threw for 720 yards and ran for 462 yards and 11 touchdowns in leading the Wolves to a second-place finish behind Poly in the East Valley League.

He was the league's co-most valuable player with Poly quarterback Bruce Heinbechner and an All-City second-team selection.

The accomplishments didn't go unnoticed. Tommy Prothro recruited him to UCLA and Scribner spent his first season there playing with the Bruin freshman team. The following season, however, Prothro opted to go with Dennis Dummit at quarterback and Scribner, who also played cornerback, safety and middle linebacker in high school, found himself on the defensive unit.

"Prothro was going to redshirt me," said Scribner, who married Jennifer that year. "Then the same day he tells me about it, one of our linebackers quit. I ended up playing weakside linebacker."

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