New Life Presbyterian: growing organically – San Diego Reader

Robin Lee

Robin Lee

New Life Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 615 West Citracado Pkwy., Escondido 760-489-5714
  • Membership: 450 (pre-covid 720; online household views, about 150 a week).
  • Executive Pastor: Robin Lee
  • Age: 48
  • Born: Glendale
  • Formation: University of California-Berkeley; Westminster Theological Seminary-Philadelphia; Westminster Theological Seminary-Escondido
  • Years Ordained: 12

San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?

Pastor Robin Lee: Considering what’s happened over the last couple years, the church has been more and more identified with political parties. The people outside the church view Christianity and the gospel as very distorted or confused. It’s a very confusing time for people outside the church, and it’s also caused a lot of division within the church. If the church is so enmeshed with politics, it really hurts the church’s identity and mission. We need to learn how to have civil conversations where we’re not speaking past each other or yelling at each other or posting hateful and angry comments on social media. We need some sort of forum or method of sitting down together with people who are also believers but have a very different view of politics and the role of the church in politics. We have to learn how to engage each other civilly and lovingly and humbly. Right now, there’s a lot of anger and not a lot of charity or giving each other the benefit of the doubt.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PL: To worship the God of the gospels, to grow in grace together as a church, and to communicate the changeless Christ to the culture. We highlight the importance and primacy of worship – we gather every Sunday as one body in corporate worship, but we also see other aspects of worship – private and family worship. To grow in grace together as a church speaks to the discipleship aspect of our people. We grow like a flower – it’s organic, and there’s growth with nourishing and nurturing the faith of our people. We also want to grow together as a church, so we’re not individuals. And we also communicate the changeless Christ to the culture through outreach, both in our communicating verbally to others and in going out to the world as missionaries. Wherever we go around the globe, we’re heralds of the gospel. In this work, we communicate that Christ is the same today, yesterday and forever, the same to the changing world that the church finds herself in.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PL: There is definitely a heaven and a hell. We believe in eternal life and that Jesus is the only way to go to heaven. We must place our trust in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Salvation is a free gift of God we get through faith. So, it’s not by works or by being good enough or anything like that. It’s not based on what we’ve done, but it’s based on the work and righteousness of Jesus. The way we explain it is that it’s his life for my life and his death for my death. Jesus lived the life I could not live and he died the death I deserved. So, when God says, “Why should I let you in?” it’s not because of me, but because of the work of his son Jesus – his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. That’s the only way — by faith alone. Hell is for everyone who has heard and refused to believe and everyone who has never heard, which is why there is such an urgency for missions.