CALIFORNIA CITY – Just after man first stepped on the Moon, First Baptist Church held their first services in California City. Located at 8770 Lupine Loop Drive in California City, the church is celebrating with a barbecue from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 20 and will include a water slide, among other entertainment.
“On July 21, 1969 First Baptist Church of North Edwards decided that there was enough people out here in California city to start a church,” said Pastor James Robinson.
From humble beginnings at the Aspen Mall, the church has been added onto and expanded since first moving to Lupine Loop.
“We’ve got some very impressive people that have been here a long time,” said Robinson. “Our mission is to reach the unchurched people that don't have a church home and provide a safe, threat-free environment for them to come learn about Jesus and hopefully make a decision on on their salvation.”
First Baptist offers Sunday services, Bible study - including a men’s and women’s study during the week and a separate Spanish-language ministry.
“We also have something that is unique I believe,” said Robinson. “It’s called Motion Devotion - which is kind of a Zumba-like exercise class to Christian music.”
The church also offers Celebrate Recovery - a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program.
“We’re also trying to marry up with the other churches in the area to break down some of the denominational issues that tend to go on in the Christian religion,” said Robinson. “Because it truly is one church - it's Jesus's church.”
First Baptist also recently completed their Vacation Bible School.
“We had about 40 to 50 kids that came through here and we had 15 hours of opportunity to plant seeds for them hear about Jesus and touch their families,” said Robinson.
Their annual Trunk or Treat program is also very popular, with some 700 people taking enjoying the Halloween celebration. A Clothing Our Neighbors program offers donated clothing to those in need as well.
“There’s quite a bit going on here,” said Robinson. “We are trying to reach out to our brothers and sisters and just be obedient to what Christ is calling us to do in the community,” said Robinson. “Our whole purpose here is to express the love of Jesus Christ.”
The team at First Baptist includes Assistant Pastor Luis Fernandez, who handles the Spanish-language ministry; Duane Vasquez, who also started the I Love Cal City program, which the church supports; Jerri Meister, who was instrumental in establishing the Clothing Our Neighbors program and Shelly White who started the Motion Devotion program.
One other unique feature of First Baptist is that it boasts a full solar power array.
Other church team members include: Tony McCalebb, chairman of deacons and Life Bible Study director; Deacon and Worship Leader Steve White and Church Secretary and Nursery Director Kimberly Adkison.
“As far as those involved in our church, I know I am forgetting to mention some people, but one person who I probably forgot to mention is my wife, Leta,” said Robinson. “She’s my partner in crime and she’s involved in absolutely everything that I am.”