Planting a Church in Los Angeles

Pastor Sal Menjivar and the Los Angeles Baptist Church celebrate ten years of faith-filled ministry in the heart of Los Angeles. In 1997, Sal Menjivar was both a highly successful businessman and a faithful, growing Christian at Lancaster Baptist Church. It was during this time that God burdened Pastor Paul Chappell that Lancaster Baptist Church should plant a local church in downtown Los Angeles. The vision was to establish a soulwinning, Gospel-preaching lighthouse in one of the world’s most populated Spanish-speaking mission fields.

Beginning with a group of faithful church members and a handful of volunteer West Coast Baptist College students, weekend teams travelled to Los Angeles to knock on doors, pass out flyers, and conduct services, starting in June of 1998.

Not long after, Brother Menjivar approached Pastor Chappell and indicated that he believed God was moving in his heart and calling him to pastor this work. Sal Menjivar was the owner of a multi-million dollar business and was experiencing every measure of success by the world’s definition. But he also could not deny the call of God into full-time ministry.

After much prayer and personal sacrifice, the Menjivars sold their business, sold their home, and moved their family from the Antelope Valley to downtown Los Angeles. There they began the diligent labor of leading people to Christ, discipling them in the Word, and planting a healthy New Testament church.

Brother Menjivar’s first official service as the pastor of LA Baptist Church was September 5, 1999. In April of 2000, a handful of its members were the honored guests at Lancaster Baptist Church as Brother Menjivar was ordained to the Gospel ministry of Jesus Christ. The very next week, LA Baptist Church held its charter service with 103 members in attendance.

Just two years later, the church family gave an offering of $77,000 for the expansion and development of its rented meeting space. In 2003, the church doubled its meeting space by renting the second floor of the current facility. A few months later, Los Angeles Baptist began its English ministry.

Today, Los Angeles Baptist Church averages 200 in attendance every Sunday. The light is still shining in downtown Los Angeles because of one man and his family who were willing to answer the call of God, to walk away from earthly prosperity, and to enter a vast mission field of spiritual need. Pray for Pastor Menjivar and his family as they continue to lead souls to Christ in the city of Los Angeles.