Is San Diego ready for the Church?


I’ve had many meetings in San Diego in the last two days. In five meetings with lead pastors, I’ve seen a few common themes. Firstly, there are many godly people here in San Diego being used by God in great ways. Secondly, I’ve heard a theme of “soil.” Why is soil so important in a church plant? In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about the seed falling upon different types of soil and yielding much different results.So what type of soil is San Diego?  Bad soil, full of weeds and death?If you grew up in the 90’s, like me, you’d have watched “The Lion King” 400 times, learning about the circle of life from James Earl Jones and perhaps Sir Elton John. What dies, usually falls to the earth and sweetens the soil for growth.  Also they mention the Wheel of Fortune for some reason.  (Note: I’m talking gardening not pantheism!)

Secular San Diegan’s might say they have achieved a renaissance, where religion no longer drives or controls people in our city, to which I say hooray! I believe the death of a controlling evangelicalism in San Diego has left fertile soil for growth.  Where we are no longer in control, we can be servants, advocates and peacemakers.  Most people have very little experience (good or bad) with the Church now and most of it is from television programs they don’t really take seriously.

Perhaps this can be a season where out of death there is growth. Death of the Church’s influence in San Diego has also created something beautiful…unity! One pastor I talked to recently spoke of how 40 pastors are getting together next week to sign a covenant, to only speak positively about each other in our city! There you are Church! A Church undivided and focused on Jesus and the lost is compelling. What a glorious movement we are privileged to join. The Holy Spirit is doing a work in cities across the world and we get to take part. How will you join in?


On discerning God's will to join us in San Diego

In the past several weeks we’ve encountered a few Kansas folks who are struggling to discern if God may be calling them to help plant City Life Church in San Diego. While I do not claim to be an expert on God’s will, I may be able to offer you a few pointers.   But first, check out these verses:Genesis 12:1- The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”Genesis 12:10- “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.”Look at both verses. Do you see a difference? In verse one God calls Abram away from his country. Nine verses later Abram leaves due to severe famine and not due to a call from the Lord. In both situations, Abram ends up prospering and God redeems the situation for His glory. Certainly I would much rather receive a verbal call from God.

But if you haven’t heard a verbal call how are you to evaluate? I would ask yourself a few questions.

1. Does this decision honor God?
Will you go to share the Gospel, or soak up sun? If you are going for the sun, most likely you won’t last. There are many tough things in the City and if you are there for the wrong reasons you may despair, also you’ll hold us back from real mission.

2. Do you trust the leadership?
If you believe me a heretic, I wouldn’t go. Do you believe the leadership has integrity, vision from God and worshipful hearts? If you answered no to any of those three, DON’T GO!

3. Do you desire to go?
f God has not called you to go explicitly and you’d prefer not to go, don’t. That was easy.

4. Is it feasible? If you have a family, do you have some savings to help make the transition? Do you have a trade you can do in San Diego? Do you have a health challenge that would prohibit you from travel? San Diego is expensive. You’ll need a plan.

5. What does wise counsel say?
I’d consult people who have gone before you. Are there people who have participated in national or international missions who might be able to speak to your situation? Consult them now. Your friends and family might be wise, but they also might scare you away from doing great work for the Kingdom.

If you’ve gone through all these steps and still believe you should go. It’s time to talk to us.
We’d love to pray with you through this decision.


PS.  If you are not praying about it, you probably shouldn’t go too!

So I had a dream recently

8-9-2014 (Archive)

Two nights ago I had a dream that I was in the downtown area of San Diego.  Most likely it was the Gas Lamp but I felt like I could see most of San Diego, so it was probably a weird dream state version of my home town.  Boats were coming into the harbor with Christmas lights on them.  It was evening and I was by the pool of some swanky hotel downtown.  A cool evening breeze rustled the palm trees.  Bright blue lights from the pool, reflecting on the faces of those around me. They all seemed to know I was planting a church in downtown San Diego and they all casually remarked how nice it was to start a church in paradise.  A woman with short blonde hair, red lipstick, perfect white teeth and a shiny cocktail dress pointed a finger out to “America’s finest city” and remarked at how perfect it was. As my gaze went beyond the smiling faces and the laughter faded to the background, I saw downtown San Diego.  Small pockets of light shone throughout the downtown area but darkness  dominated.  I knew in my heart pain, hurt and fear were lurking in the shadows.  “No” I said.  “It is not perfect.”  I felt my heartbeat quicken.  I was ruining this weird party.  Smiles faded.  I was the wet blanket.  They insisted I was wrong and soon after I awoke.”Paradise.”

That is where I am taking my family.  I believe God is working in great ways in San Diego, through His Church and through His Holy Spirit.  I am honored He would call our family to join in the assault on the darkness.  Many will not understand.  Many will not see the desperate need.  However, we will bear the light with boldness as we venture into places cold and murky.  Jesus is our Light.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:5