A lighthouse is a tower built on the coast with a powerful beacon that guides people to safety. Newport Coast Lighthouse is a church that does exactly that.
Newport Coast Lighthouse is a nondenominational church that meets Sunday mornings in Newport Coast Elementary School. In the same rooms where children come Monday through Friday to learn the fundamentals of education, more than 100 men, women and children come Sunday to learn the fundamentals of Christianity. The church’s stated mission is “to study through the Word of God to gain a clear view of Jesus, to know Him, to see Him and to serve Him.”
“We are called to help people grow deeper with God,” explained Pastor Jeff Gipe.
“I owned and operated a local business for 20 years and served as a lay pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for two years,” Jeff explained. “But the Lord put it in my heart to start a Bible-teaching church in Newport, and after two years of praying about it, God opened the door to lease space at Newport Coast Elementary School, where we just celebrated our sixth birthday in May.”
It was Lighthouse’s large banner that appears every weekend that first caught the eye of Newport residents Phillip and Sheryl Sizelove.
“My wife and I were driving home one day when we saw the banner on the fence,” Phillip explained. “It said it was a Bible-teaching church, and when my wife asked if I wanted to go, I agreed. We were wonderfully greeted and the people were very warm and welcoming. We enjoyed beautiful music, a great message from Pastor Jeff and the fellowship afterwards. Looking back, what grabbed me was the atmosphere of genuine love. We’ve gone there for three years.”
“My wife and I are aerospace software engineers for Boeing,” Phillip continued. “I was raised in the science and academic community, and it took me 40 years practicing science to slowly learn that I don’t know squat, but God sure does. I finally realized that creation and evolution could be compatible. It’s like wanting software and just getting a partial set, but once you register and pay, it’s unlocked and all the programs activate and function – that’s what happened for me. Jesus changed me, the blinders came off; I can read the Bible and actually understand it.”
“It’s great that we meet in an elementary school auditorium,” Phillip added. “We don’t need our own building. We can use the money to support ministries and missions around the world.”
Newport Coast Lighthouse’s prayer and financial support reach missionaries locally as well as in Peru, Germany, Haiti, Israel, Greece, Vietnam, Poland, South Korea and Ireland. Pastor Jeff said they’ve always been a praying church but a new ministry called NCL Prayer Watch was recently birthed from answered prayer for Newport Coast LIghthouse team that went to Haiti.
“Not only did we see specific answers to prayer, but we realized that the shared prayer was bonding the church members together in a deeper way,” Jeff said. “The response was amazing. Within days we realized NCL was turning into a House of Prayer! The NCL Challenge is that we designate 15 minutes a day to pray for NCL and the world. We send weekly updates with verses and prayer requests. People sign up for available times and our hope is to develop a 24/7 Prayer Watch. Our missionaries overseas fill in the times that are difficult for us because of the time difference. People have signed up to pray who don’t even go to our church.”
“We are cross-cultural and we encourage intergenerational connections,” Pastor Jeff continued. “We also see mission possibilities in our back yard as well as overseas. The heart of the church is to reach out to communities with physical and spiritual needs, to show God’s love through our actions so they will come to know that Christ has already fulfilled their greatest need through His great love and sacrifice.”
An example of this is Champions Against Violence, a ministry to combat physical, emotional and spiritual violence.
“Four of us from different backgrounds wanted to share the gospel in the most unlikely places, like violent areas,” Pastor Jeff explained. “We’ve had three events in Santa Ana and Riverside where we’ve had ex-gang members share how Jesus changed their lives. God is opening doors and we recently met with the Deputy Chief of Police for L.A. and are working with him on plans for an outreach to Watts in September.”
“The thing I love the most is that we’ve become a real family here at Newport Coast Lighthouse.” Pastor Jeff said.
For further information, go to www.nclchurch.com.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected].