10791 Tierrasanta Blvd., Tierrasanta
Membership: 2600 (on five campuses: Tierrasanta, East County, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Scripps Mesa)
Pastor: Mike Quinn
Born: Great Lakes, Illinois
Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma; Bethel West University Seminary, San Diego
Years Ordained: 35
San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Mike Quinn: One of my pet subjects is the issue of theodicy, which is the why of suffering. I think it’s a very important subject in people’s minds. “Why bad things happen to good people?” I’m often dealing with that subject whether it’s a family dying, suicide, financial crisis, layoffs, etc. I have a huge military community so there are issues they struggle with on a day-to-day basis, in terms of deployed spouses. Then there are parents with sideways children. It comes across often as, “Come on, God, I’m working so hard — harder than my parents; how can my kids be so bad?” So we’re helping parents navigate that kind of issue, and there’s also kids navigating the issue of their parents’ divorce. Life happens so you’re always addressing the subject. I have a memorial service tomorrow for a person who committed suicide. The repercussions of that sort of thing go on forever — my wife’s father committed suicide when she was 18, so we’ve dealt with it personally forever. I know what it feels like.
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PQ: I try to build spiritual communities that are involved in the community that is around them, both locally and globally. My campus in Pacific Beach — if it ceased to exist, would the community mourn? Newbreak’s whole goal as a church is to be in the community and to transform that community into a more beautiful and healthy place to live. What does the Kingdom of God look like? So we help with hundreds and hundreds of things.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PQ: Our mission statement is “Connecting people with God through authentic relationships to serve communities.” Everything flows out of that mission statement. The name Newbreak comes from the verse behind it in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” So we’re called Newbreak because everyone needs one.
SDR: Where is the strangest place you have found God?
PQ: I’m a surfer, so I experience God surfing all the time. That’s one of my love languages. God speaks to me in nature, not that that’s that surprising. It’s a big one, though. At the heart of my interest in the issue of theodicy is that I experience God when I’m helping the suffering. It’s often in the crisis that people see God move, if they’re open to seeing him move. It’s often in crisis, too, when we start to consider God. Even if we’re mad at him, we are compelled toward him in a certain way to consider him and his ways.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PQ: You go to one of two places — heaven or hell. God wants us all to go to heaven. Newbreak is pretty much straight up biblical church in that regard. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus. At the end of the day, if you reject God, it’s a C.S. Lewis approach — if you don’t want to be with God, then you won’t be.