A lot of people probably see religion as an opiate

Pastor Dale Huntington takes some questions

Dale Huntington
  • Dale Huntington

City Life Church

4325 Park Blvd, University Heights

Membership: 25–30

Pastor: Dale Huntington

Age: 33

Born: Visalia

Formation: Grossmont College, El Cajon; Southern California Seminary-San Diego Christian College, San Diego

Years Ordained: 5

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

Pastor Dale Huntington: The gospel, which shows how we were enemies of God and yet he welcomed us all into his family when he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross. He rose again, defeating sin and death. The gospel isn’t an easy term to unpack without going on a long time. So, really my favorite subject is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and how he draws us to himself through grace.

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

PH: I think my biggest concern is that the church very easily falls into a social club that is for itself and not for those outside the church. I think our goal as a church is to equip our people to love those outside our boundaries because it’s a call that God has given us to love those outside the church. Besides that, I’m concerned that fewer people have high regard for scripture in my job category as minister.

SDR: What’s the mission of your church?

PH: At City Life, we have something called City Groups that are set up around the city. Our goal is to multiply City Groups so more and more are based in a geographic region in San Diego. Their job is to care for that region in which they are established…. We know we’re called in Jeremiah 29:7 to seek the welfare of the city we’re in. Our City Groups try to seek the welfare of each individual community within San Diego. They meet twice a month to study the word and once a month they have a potluck inviting their neighbors and once a month we make sure we’re serving the community. Tangibly we serve two communities right now with the hope of doubling that number in the fall.

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

PH: I have found God most in my suffering. I found he is always present in the hardest seasons of our lives. I found him in the people who surround us serving through the power of the Holy Spirit. I found him more often in a hospital room. My son has been ill in the past; his first year of life he spent a month in the hospital. More and more we felt the peace and comfort of God that goes beyond anything we can understand in those moments when we should have been freaking out far more than we were.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PH: There will be a day when we find ourselves in the presence of God — in heaven. A lot of people probably see religion as an opiate and if they think of God as real, they probably see him as a tyrant who forces them to go to hell or go to heaven. I see him as a loving father who would allow you to choose him or not to choose him. When we die we have the choice to decide to be in his presence, to accept him, or go to a place that is absent from his presence. Many call that hell. I don’t see that as oppressive or mean; I see it as loving, to allow us not to choose him if that’s what we desire.

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