Church for the religious and irreligious alike

The doors of hell are locked from the inside

Pastor Patrick King, his son Micah, and his wife Kennerly
  • Pastor Patrick King, his son Micah, and his wife Kennerly

Covenant Presbyterian Church of San Diego

Membership: 150
Pastor: Patrick King
Age: 34
Born: Chicago
Formation: Wheaton College, Chicago; Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL
Years Ordained: 4

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

Covenant Presbyterian Church

2930 Howard Avenue, North Park

Pastor Patrick King: The main message of the Bible is that God created the world and humanity as a whole turned its back on God. The whole Bible is this redemptive story of God’s rescue mission to bring humanity back into [a] relationship with God. You see that culminating in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s this good-news announcement that God has come to put the wrongs of this world right. Whether it’s preaching to people who are irreligious or secular or those who are religious, I want to communicate the fact that we all have this fundamental problem: we are worse off than we think but we’re also more loved by God than we imagine. No matter who walks into the church doors, we try to preach that good news to them — that there is hope.

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

PK: My concern is that we would never be a church just for those who look right on the outside and seem to have their act together from a religious standpoint — but that we would be a church for the secular and irreligious. That seems to be modeling Jesus’s life.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PK: I was at lunch at Starbucks one day, processing what God was doing in my life and my wife’s life. It became this decisive moment that I realized the direction we were heading wasn’t what God wanted for us. So, this Starbucks lunch led to this journey…and we moved out to Covenant.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PK: Living out the gospel in word and deed has an impact culturally, socially, and spiritually. In living out the gospel and proclaiming it, we’ll be a church for the neighborhood in North Park and for San Diego. We can be that church for the religious and irreligious alike.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PK: I think about a lady in our church right now who, prior to being diagnosed with a serious form of cancer, was an executive and worked hard to get a great job. The cancer has in a way taken away that position. Culturally, people might respond to that situation by saying God can’t be good or he can’t be real. Or they might be angry. But this woman has shown incredible faith in Jesus — and wants to tell doctors and nurses and others who interact with her that she has a peace that surpasses this situation. Whether she lives or dies, she trusts in the gospel.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PK: C.S. Lewis wrote that the doors of hell are locked from the inside. If we don’t want to be with God, he’s going to let us have that choice. If we want to not be rescued by Jesus, God lets us have our way. The answer to the question of the afterlife is what we do with Jesus. If we believe the story of why he came…then that answers the question for us as to whether we’re with God or not — that is, whether we’re going to be in heaven or in hell.

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