As the hands and feet of Jesus, we are called to share in community while also creating a larger impact as evidence of our faith (Matthew 28:18). At St. Andrew’s, we are a neighborhood church with global impact. As we worship, pray, and serve together, we live intentionally into God’s purpose. It is from here that we are able to reach out to people from other countries, languages, cultures, and religions that God has placed in our midst – whether that be down the street or across the world.
Phil and Jenn Baltazar have been members of St. Andrew’s for almost 8 years. For Phil, it was St. Andrew’s that ushered him into faith as he was growing up in the neighborhood, “I grew up right down the street and if you wanted something fun to do on Wednesday nights, you went over to St. Andrew’s. You would always get great food and see wonderful people. It was here that I got to know who Jesus Christ really was.” Throughout high school, St. Andrew’s became an even more important part of his life as he joined in a small group with captains from every team at Newport Harbor High School. “It was a really positive influence in our personal lives and on the school,” Phil shares. “We were meeting every Sunday night and talking about what life was like as a high school kid at Newport Harbor. Throughout my life from junior high to getting married, this church has been a resource and a light in my life that has continued to guide me to Christ.”
Often times, the practice of being missional begins at home. Jenn Baltazar opens up about how she and Phil have worked to maintain a relational mindset with Christ as the center of their home and marriage, “Raising children and raising them away from family isn’t always the easiest. Phil and I both came from divorced homes so we knew how to be good parents, we just didn’t necessarily know how to be good spouses. We didn’t fill each other up or set aside a lot of time for one another between jobs and life.” In January of this year, Jenn shares how they began to reevaluate things as a couple and worried they’d done all they could to make it work. “It was that challenge we both brought back to our Bible study and said what the rest of the outside world was telling us – that we’d tried hard enough and it was time to walk away. It was St. Andrew’s that said no way!”
The Baltazar’s found an even deeper community within their life group and were able to have the support of those who had gone before them, including Christ. “They saw us through a couple of really tough months and even got us a sponsor to go to Family Camp at Forest Home which was undoubtedly the best week we’ve ever had. It renewed my own faith and sense of family,” Jenn affirms. “Most importantly, I know the peace that we don’t ever have to question the harder times now because we know where to go and who will get us through it.”
Phil continues, “In this world, there are a lot of people who aren’t lucky enough to make it through marriage. This church is one of the things that’s been the glue keeping ours together as we have gone through hard times. There is a tremendous amount of good being done by this church in ways we can see right here on campus as well as all over the world. The fruits are what is happening in people’s hearts, ours included.”
When we worship together, we counter the contemporary fragmentation of families. Through finding a strong-knit group with the same core values and desire to work together, a global impact can be as small as what’s happening across the street in one of our local schools and as wide as the mission experiences we offer. At any point during the week, our campus offers opportunities to dig in and do life with one another – from Tribe: A Place for Moms to groups designed to support those in recovery, we believe that Christian life should be done in community alongside one another. As our pastor, Chap Clark, says, “Our relationship with Jesus is our ministry.”
It is the act of coming alongside others where God’s presence is lived out in his people, whether here or abroad. For the Baltazar family, this was most evident in their life group. Having a global impact begins at home, where an expression of the church is in every family and every neighborhood. You change someone’s heart, you can change the world. At St. Andrew’s, there is a place for you. We can’t wait to meet you.