In 1979, four families from Visalia , Tulare and Dinuba asked Pastor Keith Lundberg of the Kingsburg Evangelical Free Church to lead a Bible study to determine if a church planting venture should be started in Visalia. The group grew to eight couples and, after meeting for a year, extended a call to Dr. Robert B. Somerville to come as their first pastor. Bob, Mary, and their children moved from Teaneck, NJ, where Bob had pastored for nine years. Sunday services began in February 1980, and were held in the Veteran’s Memorial Building on Center Street. In November 1980, services moved to the Carden Manor School on Goshen Avenue. We moved into our current location at Main and Giddings in January 1995. In August of 2005 Dr. Somerville was called to a professorship at The Master’s College in southern California. Dr. Alden Laird, of Denver, CO, became our second pastor in January of 2006.
The three main outreach ministries of our church have always been missions, church planting, and counseling.
Our mission program has expanded from supporting two families in 1982, to the support of twenty-one missionary families/agencies and an active short term missions program. Seven families in full-time service were raised up and sent from our own church body. Twenty-one percent of our current budget is allocated to missions.
Since 1985 we have assisted in church plants in Hanford, Porterville, Tulare, Fresno, and Exeter. It is our goal to continually plant new churches in Visalia and surrounding communities.
Biblical counseling has been an integral part of our ministry since our founding. Church staff and laypersons within the church are trained to counsel those in need. Training for discipleship & counseling is available to those interested.