San Diego Living Water Church of the Nazarene

When we first moved to San Diego in 2010 and I began working as the Associate Pastor at Southeast Church of the Nazarene, I was also committed to working in a downtown food ministry primarily run through Mid-City Church of the Nazarene (English), with thoughts of planting a church in the area and slowly moving into a leadership position there.  The ministry was (and is) mainly an outreach to people who are living on the streets, in shelters, or in temporary housing in the downtown area.  It had been going on long before I came to San Diego, and because of it and other similar outreaches, the Nazarenes have developed a good name among that population. But, within a few months of participating in that work and seeing how quickly the population turned over, the task seemed too daunting, and we sort of let the idea fade into the background. But, I have continued to be part of that work downtown.

After almost five years at Southeast, while preparing for ordination, I was approached by a church and asked to interview for a senior pastor position.  I did, and although I eventually asked them to take my name off of their list, it got me thinking and praying about what my next calling might be.  When District Assembly came around, church planting was a heavy emphasis, and it got me thinking about the possibility of planting a church once again.  After a little prayer, I decided to mention that I had been thinking about it to Pastor Steve (Senior Pastor at Southeast).  Not only did he respond more positively than I anticipated, but a few days later, we were informed that the church would be inheriting a fairly large sum of money from someone who had only visited our church once.  With this in mind, we became more serious about the possibility of planting a church, and we began praying about it with our church board and others.  After many months of prayer, discernment, training, research, and assessment, we finally gave in to a sense of calling to the work of planting a church in the East Village.  Sometime in November, we started inviting our church members to pray about becoming members of a team that would focus on planting what we have been calling “Living Water Church of the Nazarene” in the East Village of San Diego.

As we have made our slow progression down the road of discernment and beginning the work, we have found that there is indeed a great need for a church in the East Village.  There is only one church with a permitted and zoned building in the East Village, and there are just a handful of others using shared space.  The population of downtown San Diego is estimated at about 65,000 people right now, and as they continue to rapidly build large condo buildings (the most recent has 484 units), the city has been planning for that population to grow to 120,000.  As we have talked to people we know living in the area (both people without permanent housing, and people living in condos), the response has been very clear and very positive – we need more churches in the area.  So, we have been moving forward with confidence, sensing the Spirit leading us, trusting the work we have already been doing in the area, and seeing a need that we hope to help fill.

faultlineparkserviceAfter our launch in spring 2016, we briefly had a great place to meet for a great price (a crossfit gym), but unfortunately, the owner of the gym decided to sell his business, and the new owners (Crossfit Invictus) were not interested in keeping us around. However, in early June we signed a lease at a new facility which is about 200 yards from where we have been meeting (Fault Line Park in East Village, Downtown San Diego).

Despite the struggle with meeting space, we have now had several wonderful worship services together (the last two at local parks).  It has been a joy to worship God with a new community!  We haven’t made a big push to invite new people yet, but we have still had a number of new folks join us, and we are welcoming all who come (last week we had about 25 people, 6-7 of whom were new and from the community). Come and join us sometime!  We have been inviting folks to gather at 4:30pm to set up and hang out, and we start our service at 5pm.

Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to send us suggestions, connections, and whatever else you think might be useful.  We are grateful to have such a large web of support!

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