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New Life begins Easter in Lathrop
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LATHROP – Troy Stein and his family are fighting for God, literally.

They are all skilled and highly experienced in martial arts. Stein is a 6th Degree Black Belt and master level instructor. His four daughters are all accomplished black belts and, like their father, teach classes as well.

But the Steins are not just your regular martial arts aficionados. They are Christian devotees of this highly disciplined craft. In fact, Troy Stein is the president and founder of Christian Black Belt Academies, a Christian martial arts organization that boasts more than 30 schools nationwide to date.

It’s a dream that first manifested itself when Stein was a young boy.

“I began my martial arts training when I was eight years old and have loved every minute of it,” he said.

And while his academies all over the country have thousands of students studying taekwondo, “my pride and joy are my four daughters,” Stein said.

The family’s love of God does not end in their common devotion to the martial arts. On Easter Sunday, April 24, the Steins and their growing faith family that is 60-members strong to date, will officially “launch” the New Life Church of Lathrop. Stein, who is the lead pastor of this Assembly of God-affiliated church, said they are anticipating to welcome more than 100 people at the “inaugural event” which will be held in the Multi-purpose Building of Joseph Widmer Jr. Elementary School at 750 Stonebridge Lane in Lathrop. The service will begin at 10 a.m.

Explaining why they chose to locate their ministry in the youngest and one of the smallest incorporated cities of San Joaquin County, the senior pastor simply said, “We chose to build this church in Lathrop for no other reason than we felt inspired by God to do so. To be totally honest, I had never heard of Lathrop prior to beginning this journey. But after spending the past eight months living and working in Lathrop, I have a deep love for this city and am committed to serving the people of this community.”

Prior to planting a new church in the city where San Joaquin River runs through, Stein was the “lead pastor of a good church” in Susanville, the only incorporated city and the county seat of Lassen County located near the northeast corner of California along the border of Nevada.

Stein said he had been lead pastor of the Susanville church for six years when, “last summer, it was as if God had spoken directly into my ear to leave the comfort of my existing position to begin a brand new church in Lathrop.

“So a few weeks later, we moved our family to Lathrop, enrolled our kids in school and began our journey. Of course, my family was excited and nervous, especially since we would be doing this at one of the worst economic times possible – but when God leads, God provides!”

The journey begins in Lathrop

Their New Life started by holding a series of “preview services” in March and the first half of April. Their “final preview” was attended by more than 60 people. On Easter Sunday, the New Life Church of Lathrop will officially open.

“New Life is a church that strives to be real, relevant and relational in everything we do. We have dynamic kids’ ministries, exciting youth ministries and a true passion to help families thrive,” the pastor said.

While the Sunday worship services will be held at Joseph Widmer, the church also offers a youth service for those in grades six to 12 every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Steins’ home at 144 Magnetite Avenue in Lathrop.

Affiliated with the Assemblies of God, New Life Church “is passionately concerned about the health of the family and has a dedicated team of pastors to help strengthen the family unit,” Stein added.

His pastoral staff consists of Jason Walter as the Children’s Pastor, Brian Neilson as the Youth Pastor, Trinity Stein as the Creative Arts Pastor, and Trent Meng as the Administrative Pastor.

Stein calls his staff “a dynamic team of incredible people who are partnering with us to make a difference in this city.”

Pastor Troy and Keely Stein attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, where Troy earned his business degree and Keely majored in Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education. Pastor Stein received his ministerial training through Global University and is currently completing his master’s degree in Missional Leadership from Northwest University in Seattle.

Both Troy and Keely Stein also have advanced degrees in counseling.

As for his Christian Black Belt Academy, Stein hosts classes for kids every Tuesday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Joseph Widmer School, and every Wednesday also from 3 to 4 p.m. at Mossdale School near City Hall at Mossdale Landing in Lathrop. There is also a class for adults on Tuesdays starting at 7 p.m. at Joseph Widmer School. The Stein family also offers similar programs in Manteca. For additional details about their Christian Black Belt Academy, visit their web site at

For more information on the area’s newest church, visit their web site at