Sunday, June 8, 2014

mission street church

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?" (Is. 43:19)

After months of prayer, discernment, reflection, contemplation, deliberation, Bible study, long chats deep into the night with friends, fellowship with family, laying awake at night and listening for the Spirit's voice, and definitely feeling the solid nudge of God, Star and I have a very exciting announcement to make.  Starting on July 1, 2014, we will be beginning the process of building a brand new church in Camarillo, California called "Mission Street Church".  We really believe that this New Church Development is a work of God's leading, and we pray that it will always be full of the power of the Holy Spirit.  Here are a few specific details:

Where is Camarillo?
Camarillo is about 1 hour's drive north of downtown Los Angeles, and 20 minutes from the Pacific Coast.  Camarillo is not far from Thousand Oaks where the famed "Calvary Chapel" is located, and Simi Valley where "Crossroads" (Francis Chan's former church) is located.  There are around 80,000 residents in Camarillo and at least 200,000 residents within a 10 minute radius of Camarillo.  The area is largely "de-churched" with approximately 5% of the population who attend any church.  The Camarillo region is basically unchurched.

What Denomination Will the Church Be?
"Mission Street" will be a member church of The Fellowship of Presbyterians, and a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  The church will be a plant of the Santa Barbara Presbytery (a Presbytery which I was previously a part of).  Star and I will continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the ECO denomination and the EPC denomination.  We recognize that there are continuing struggles and challenges associated with being a member of the PC (USA).  And yet, we feel called to hold onto core qualities of good within the PC (USA), and to work toward a ministry of hope and good news.  We know that the Holy Spirit will continue to use all three denominations, when they are filled with humility and Christ's sacrifice, for good to the glory of God.  We also feel strongly that the next epoch in Christian development in America will be largely post-denominational.  This means that denomination, whichever one we are a part of, will become less and less important.

Why "Mission Street" As a Name?
The central most artery of California, and the place of the most historic road is the "El Camino Real" (The King's Highway).  In the 1600's this road (today known as Freeway 101) was dotted with Mission Church after Mission Church.  The "El Camino Royale" was even sometimes referred to, back in the day, as "The Mission Road".  Mission Street will attempt to be a completely mission focussed church.  In fact, more than that, Mission Street will be a mission itself.  

What Will the Mission of "Mission Street" Be? 
Our primary mission and focus will be to help, "dechurched people become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ."  We realize that because the United States is very much now in a post-Christian period, this will require extra amounts of creativity, prayer, humility, and lots of hard work.  More and more people look for truth and meaning outside of church, doctrine and the Bible.  I believe in the future that effective churches will be extremely careful about being perceived as judgmental, and will attempt to "meet people where they are".  Healthy churches will strive to lovingly live out the gospel and individuals who attend them will "taste and see that the Lord is good."  

What Are We in Need Of?
We are in strong need two very important things.  First, we need your prayer.  No movement of God, and certainly no church, can be brought into being without consistent and persevering prayer.  Specific things we need prayer for are a worship space, an office space, a worship leader, an executive director, and a children's ministries director.  Please pray for us!

Secondly, we are in need of additional financial support.  Starting new churches is not an inexpensive endeavor.  In almost every one of Paul's epistles he talks about the need to raise money for the churches that he began.  Mission Street Church is no different.  If you, who have been faithful blog-readers of mine for many years now, feel called to help with the finances of Mission Street (even a very small amount can help), please send checks to The Presbytery of Santa Barbara (6067 Shirrell Way, Goleta, CA. 93117).  Simply earmark the money for "Mission Street Church".

This new church will obviously be a herculean undertaking for the entire Baird family.  Please continue to lift up our two daughters (Haley and Sheena) and Star and I in pray and support.

Look forward to future blogs with more info and details.

And now, we begin…"a new thing!"

All For Now,


  1. Hearty congratulations! That land will always be special to me as my first 'real' job was there on the Ventura coast after grad school in '88-'90. Best, happiest years of my work life--yet I never knew it. Enjoy the moment of creation of God's work there. Cheers!

  2. As a resident of Camarillo and a Presbyterian, welcome. And, welcome back to the Presbytery of Santa Barbara. Please double check your statistics about the number of church attenders in the area. You state that "only .05% of the population" attends church regularly. With 200,000 people in the area, .05% would be 100 people. There were more than that in the one church I attended this morning. Did you mean 5%?

  3. The best of luck to you. As former residents of Camarillo, we agree there are many in need of The Lord. We are wondering if you are taking on this tremendous challenge while still pursuing your Ph.d and writing your second book.

  4. BTW, you mixed Spanish and English: The correct name is El Camino Real, not El Camino Royale.

  5. We'll be praying for your family in your new call!