Growing at Liberty Baptist

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“If you could get investment tips from Warren Buffet, wouldn’t you do that?” Pastor Dwight Tomlinson asked. “On Mother’s Day we’re going to look at what I’m calling ‘Investment Tips for Growing Your Family Relationships’ from the One who designed relationships in the first place. God desires for you to have great relationships, they are His idea.”

This Sunday, Tomlinson will highlight mothers at Liberty Baptist Church, but his message can encourage everyone.

“There are investment tips that will help every relationship, things all of us can learn and benefit from, such as understanding each other and keeping commitments,” he said.

Pastor Tomlinson kicked off a new series about relationships on Easter Sunday, pointing out the connection between the Resurrection power and the power for great relationships. He explained that God has the power to bring peace to a troubled past, joy in the present and hope for the future

Pastor Dwight Tomlinson and his wife, Gayle. Photo by Cindy Trane Christeson

Last Sunday, Tomlinson focused on “Preventative Maintenance for Relationships”; next week will be “How to Fix Broken Relationships”; and the series will conclude on May 22 with the topic “How to Have a Great Relationship with God.’”

It is fitting for Tomlinson to focus on relationships, he says, because Liberty desires to be in relationship with the community.

In fact, those who first explore the church via its website ( will meet a warm greeting there: “Our main goal here at Liberty Baptist Church is that you would feel welcome and comfortable during your visit.” The page goes on to explain that you need not be Baptist to attend. “It is our desire that Liberty would be a church for everyone that has a desire to know God. You do not need to have to come from a Baptist background, or hold to any particular religious affiliation to attend service here.”

Almost 500 people people from all around Orange County enjoyed a unique experience at Liberty the week before Christmas when they participated in “A Night in Bethlehem,” an interactive tour of Bethlehem the way it might have been the night Jesus was born. Visitors experienced what life was like then by touring different stations where people were dressed for that era as they demonstrated leather making, woodworking, candle making and more. Children enjoyed participating by making candy and other crafts. The tour concluded when a shepherd led guests to a live nativity. The response to the evening was so great that volunteers agreed to hold it a second night.

The history of the church is as creative as some of its programs.

Liberty Baptist Church began in 1976 in a Costa Mesa hotel. Two years later the growing young church had purchased twelve acres of land in Irvine and dedicated their first building on their third anniversary. Tomlinson was called to lead the congregation in 1990. In 1998, through a series of events that both churches see as God’s miraculous provision, Liberty Baptist traded its Irvine property with Mariners Church, which at that time was on Bison Avenue in Newport. Mariners Church had been growing steadily and needed more land for additional buildings and increased parking.

Liberty’s campus is also home to Newport Christian School, which presently has Kindergarten, first and second grade, with plans to add third and fourth grades next year and eventually go up to sixth grade.

Other unique ministries at Liberty include a Deaf Ministry and a Bus Ministry.

“We have volunteers go out and pick up children and adults from poor neighborhoods. We bring in 100-150 people each week,” Tomlinson explained. “We also have a Spanish Ministry and a Mandarin Chinese Ministry, where people can go participate in an entire service their language. We have enough room here to offer different things.”

Tomlinson and his wife, Gayle, have been married for 39 years, and they have three children and eight grandchildren. He is quick to point out that Gayle is a key part of the ministry team at Liberty.

“Gayle is in charge of the women’s ministries at the church,” he said. “We’ve always worked together in the ministry.”

Tomlinson is also eager to talk about about Liberty’s growth in the near future.

“We’ve been approved to build a Family Life Center and hope to break ground in the next few months,” Pastor Tomlinson explained. “We’ll have a gymnasium, kitchen, racquetball court, and we’re excited that we’ll have this great new facility to share with the community.”

Cindy can be reached at [email protected]


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