David Hazel: "We want people to experience God."
  • David Hazel: "We want people to experience God."
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New Life Church of the Nazarene

123 North Mollison Avenue, El Cajon

Membership: 300

Pastor: David Hazel

Age: 47

Born: Los Angeles

Formation: Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma; Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City

Years Ordained: 22

San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor David Hazel: Holiness. We have a holy God who wants to transform us from the inside out to be like him and to be holy. He communicates that in so many different ways, directly, and teaches so much of it as Jesus taught about it when he came to Earth.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PH: Given how our world and culture are now, we want to engage so much in the political banter that goes on in our world that we see, especially on Twitter and other types of social media outlets. Everyone is going to have an opinion, clergy included; but I don’t think it’s the role of the pastor to be political. Rather, we have the role to be Godly and biblical. We can have our opinions, of course, but how we engage on a political level is concerning to me. I think that should stay out of our pulpits. I have no problem teaching principles that are biblical that apply to the political world we live in and what’s happening to our country. I think we should teach these things, but we’re on dangerous ground when we engage at the level of politics that the rest of the world engages in, because we’re not set apart as Christians in that way.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PH: Together helping people take their next step to new life in Christ. We want people to experience God. We want people to grow together. We want people to discover and live out their calling. I believe everyone has gifts and talents, which is scriptural, and a calling that God is calling us to. We want to learn to live out that calling and we want people to serve God and neighbor on purpose. Much of that is done through discipleship, which is happening at the church and how you experience church. We have worship services that are alive and full of energy but also relevant and biblical, meeting people where they are.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PH: I have a more traditional view of heaven and hell. The Bible talks about this and that’s where my frame of reference is regarding where we go when we die. There is a judgment and every one of us is going to face that judgment. As the Book of Revelation says, we have an opportunity to have our names written in the lamb’s book of life. We’re going to face God one of these days and we’re going to have to answer his question: “Why should I let you into heaven?” Each of us is going to have to have an answer to that question. The good news is that God makes a way for every person to be without excuse. I don’t know exactly how he does that with every person around the world, but he says that everyone will be without excuse. There will be a way we will have a choice to spend eternity with God, which is heaven, or eternity away from God, which is hell.

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