The goal of Christian life is simple.
It is to love God above all things and to love others with the selfless and forgiving love of God (Matt 22).
It's the way to become fully human - the way God intended.
The mission of church, then, is also simple. It is to move people toward this goal.
No one church, however, can be meaningfully available to all people at all times. We always need new expressions of church that are not necessarily better in theological sense but perhaps better at meeting the needs of its contemporary society.
God is never changing, but we believe God evolves his churches over time in his beautifully sovereign ways.
Like any good story, our story doesn’t have a single starting point. It was a convergence of many stories coming together in unexpected ways. First, there is a story of First General Baptist Church in Santa Ana. For decades, this church served the greater city of Santa Ana successfully. However, as the city changed, and as its members left the city for the suburbs, the church was left with a handful of members and without a pastor.
And then there was Pastor Peter and his small house church in the city of Long Beach called Church In The City. It was made up of Asian American college students from the nearby Cal State Long Beach. The members wanted to be part of an organic church movement focused on promoting the welfares of the city. They met at Peter's home and discussed current affairs as well as reaching out to the homeless population in downtown. Looking back, it was a time of deconstructing what we thought we believed to be church and God; the group experimented with many ideas about faith and how to be a community of faith.
In 2012, the two groups somehow got connected with each other. The First General Baptist Church (FGB) was struggling to keep itself going without a pastor, and Church In The City (CITC) was also feeling the nudge from God to be open to a new chapter in its journey. At first, for CITC, FGB was another small church in the area to partner with. For FGB, it was an opportunity to enjoy the company of new faces. But, soon after initial meetings, both groups felt that there might be a God’s will at work that was hard to ignore. Santa Ana happened to be the only city in Southern California other than Long Beach that CITC was considering to moving to. There were some personal relationships that already existed between the members of the two churches. So, to make a long story short, after several weeks of meetings and prayers, a new church was born where FGB had been meeting for years, with the new name "Acts Community Church". The name comes from the book of Acts in the Bible that the new group was studying and praying over together. The church now belongs to the General Baptist denomination (generalbaptist.com).
Little more about Pastor Peter Bai: Peter was born in Korea and speaks Korean fluently. He grew up in Chicago (Chicago Cubs fan for many miserable cold years), went to Carleton College in even colder state of Minnesota, returned to Chicago to earn his Master’s degree in Divinity at Trinity, and then to Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA for his Master of Theology in Cultural Anthropology. Peter was initially ordained in Reformed Church in America and served several churches prior to planting the house church in Long Beach in 2005. Peter is married to Kathy who grew up in Korea, Argentina, and Canada. Peter and Kathy have twin sons (Kyler and Asher) who were born in 2008. Peter's been working as as hospice chaplain (Vitas Hospice) since 2005.
If you are in the area and looking for a church for your personal spiritual growth, please join us on the first 3 Sundays of the month at the main building (811 Sullivan St) for worship. You can also contact us to know more about our house church schedule for the rest of the month.
If you are in the area and looking for ways to serve the city of Santa Ana in creative and relational ways, contact us for the next Sullivan811 event. These events are primarily for building relationships with the neighbors rather than simply giving out goodies or being exclusively evangelistic.
Lastly, even if you are not in the area, please reach out to us and keep in touch. We would love to hear from you, partner with you in prayer, and perhaps get a chance to hang out together. You never know how God will use our relationships for his greater purpose. And don't forget to check out our pictures and videos on our Facebook Page and "like" us for more updates.
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The previous years since coming together as a new church in Santa Ana have been so far a period of:
1) getting acquainted with each other and becoming a spiritual family;
2) laying down the spiritual foundation of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ; and
3) seeking and discerning the unique ministry that God has designed for our church.
Here are two key areas of ministry that we believe God has given to our church at this time.