Today we are a different church
Three and a half years ago Community Presbyterian in La Mirada applied for an SCT grant. Last week, Jason Ko called Tom Cramer to say thank you.
“When we applied for the SCT grant our goal was to reach the next generation,” explained Jason. “They were encouraged by where we were going as a church and wanted to approve our request.”
The grant was to fund a youth pastor for three years. It ended this August. “Our hope when we applied was that we would be at a point where the church had grown and would be able to financially sustain this position with our own revenue stream,” he continued. “We hoped that the children’s and youth ministry would have grown and the church would have changed.”
He admits that until about six months before the end of the grant they weren’t sure they were going to be able to meet their expectations. “But what has happened is that all the goals have been met!” CPLM has tripled their children and youth ministry, from about four to six children and four to six youth, to around 14-16 of each group, mostly from the local neighborhoods of Buena Park and La Mirada.
“We haven’t done anything extravagant, we are just trying to stay healthy and steady,” shared Jason. “But we would not have gotten here without the grant support and we are now seeing fruit that is sustainable.”
In addition to the youth pastor, the church also brought in a Korean pastor around the same time to help energize the Korean ministry. Due to issues with his VISA, he had to return home to Korea, leaving the church without a Korean pastor. “Our Korean ministry sort of hit a wall,” shared Jason, “so we have just been chugging along for the past few years.”
They hired another Korean pastor and again that situation didn’t work out.
“So, we decided, with my broken Korean, maybe I will give it a go,” said Jason. He preached for the Korean worship service for the first time a few weeks ago. “It was like a Pentecost moment – I’m not sure how I pronounced some of those Korean words!”
“We began to wonder, maybe this is what God intended all along?” Jason said.
“We are really trying to be a community church,” he continued. “So, we are taking this step of faith and seeing where it goes.”
About eight years ago a consultant told the church that if they did not begin to do something differently, in ten years their aging congregation would be, for all intents and purposes, dead.
“Today we are a different church – for better or for worse,” Jason explained. There is a sense of loss of not being what they once were, but also a sense of relief that they are different because it has brought new friends, new families, new life.