Chris Nafis: "We have sensed a calling to go to the East Village."
Living Water Church of the Nazarene
Contact: 403 13th St #100, downtown San Diego; 619-942-3692; livingwaternazarene.com
Pastor: Chris Nafis
Born: Santa Monica
Formation: Azusa Pacific University, Azusa; Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
Years Ordained: 2
San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?
Pastor Chris Nafis: In terms of the leadership of the church, especially in the more Evangelical circles I run in, we have given ourselves over to a flat Christianity, a faith that is really only about where you go when you die. There is a whole richness in our tradition and scriptures that shows us the life that’s possible but it often gets glossed over and flattened so we can have a simple message that will fill the seats. I’m concerned that we’re inviting people to come watch church and get a little piece of knowledge and not to become the church and to have a new and different life in Christ.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PN: We’re a church plant and have been around for about a year now. We have sensed a calling to go to the East Village in San Diego and make disciples of Christ there. The name of our church comes from the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. He went into the conflict of a divided community and found someone who had likely been abandoned by everyone who was supposed to take care of her and offered her living water — which would well up as a spring of life she could offer to others. We see that very much as what we’re called to do in East Village. So we feel called to go there and invite people to come be part of the work of God together under the lordship of Christ, to bridge economic and social gaps, to find love and the presence of God in one another through worship, community formation, and service.
SDR: How are you realizing that mission in concrete terms?
PN: The Paraclete Program is a new work in the life of our church. The goal of this program is very simple: to help people find housing. We are forming teams of four to five “Paracletes” who will come alongside someone struggling with homelessness to be helpers, comforters, encouragers, and advocates. We are inviting the larger community, especially the church community, to join us in this effort. You can find information about how to get involved on our website.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
403 13th Street, San Diego
PN: We believe in the orthodox Christian view. We believe in a bodily resurrection that just as Jesus resurrected, we all have hope of resurrection…. We believe that God, who is the giver, the creator, and breathes life into our lungs, has overcome death and given us a power beyond death. Death has lost its power over us who have faith in the God who has overcome it. There is hope and peace beyond death. There is also a hell and there is a call for justice. Oftentimes, especially those who live comfortably and don’t experience oppression and injustice personally don’t understand the concept of hell. God needs to make things right in this world. It is my prayer that God would empty hell and it would not be a place of eternal torment for people — but that’s for God to decide. So it’s my prayer that everyone will taste the gift of life even beyond death that God has to offer.