This last Sunday I took the morning to tell the story of how God has been leading our church to extend our ministry into the city of Carpinteria. If you missed it, here are the basic details:
- The Carpinteria Church of the Nazarene, which officially opened its doors in 1973 at 4110 Via Real, had been in a period of decline over the last several years and was declared inactive in 2007.
- The Los Angeles District Church of the Nazarene, of which both we and the Carpinteria church are a part, presented our church with the opportunity of caring for the property and beginning to facilitate new ministry in Carpinteria.
- Danny and Josefina El-Aaidi were invited by our church board to move into the church-owned home adjacent to the church building and to begin the work of managing the facilities and beginning new ministry.
- Since the beginning of 2008, Danny and Josefina have led a Growth Group in their home. It was our hope that this group would eventually become the core of a new worship service in Carpinteria. In the summer of 2008 a weekly VBS was held with around 40 children attending from nearby neighborhoods. In the Fall of 2008 we began to have monthly Saturday night worship services in Carpinteria to further explore how God might be leading.
- In the Spring of 2009, the decision was made to begin weekly, Saturday evening worship gatherings at the Carpinteria location on Saturday, September 12 – not as a new church plant, but as a satellite or extension campus of our “mother” church in Santa Barbara. The gatherings will be held each Saturday at 6:00 pm, and will feature the same style of music and worship as our SB campus and the same message that will be preached in SB on Sunday morning. We will be one church, with one pastoral staff, one church board, and ultimately one budget – we will just meet in two locations.
There remain many questions about how all of this will unfold and what ministry will look like both in Carpinteria and in Santa Barbara. We will try and answer some of these questions in future posts and conversations. But even with these remaining questions, we are very excited about how God has been leading and about this opportunity to extend the ministry of our church into Carpinteria and bring life once again to a wonderfully situated facility and help in any way we can to accomplish God’s purposes for this wonderful community.
I invited all of us on Sunday to consider how God might be calling each one to be a part of the team of workers that will help to launch this new service in Carpinteria. There is a great need for people to pray for this new ministry venture, a need for people to work on the facility in preparation for launch, a need for worship team members and ushers and children’s workers, a need for smiling, positive people to be a presence at the initial services to welcome new people, and ultimately a need for a handful of people who will commit to make this Saturday night, Coast Community Carpinteria service their “home” worship gathering for anywhere from 6-12 months.
As I said on Sunday, I’m excited not only about the future of ministry in Carpinteria, as I believe God has great things in store for our church there, but I’m also excited about what an outreach like this can do for our congregation in Santa Barbara. It really is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) and so as we learn to give of ourselves in this way I’m looking forward to how God will bring new blessing!
Feel free to leave a comment here asking any questions that you have at this point or other ideas you might have. I look forward to continuing the conversation…