The North Coast Church of today is a far cry from its humble beginnings in 1976, when Ron and Alice Treibel answered God's call to open their home for a weekly Bible study. They couldn't have imagined how God would use their simple act of obedience to lay the groundwork for a ministry that currently reaches over 9,500 people on a weekly basis. With the help of a young seminary student named Mike Wilkins, the ministry grew large enough to start Sunday services, eventually renting the Carlsbad Women's Club and then the Carlsbad High School Cafeteria.
Just as the small church was getting established, God called Pastor Wilkins to a new area of ministry, leading church leadership to face a big challenge; would they play it safe or take a God-inspired risk?
Sensing God's leading, the pulpit committee took the risk. They invited a 28-year-old youth pastor with no experience as a senior pastor to come and learn on the job at their expense. And that's how, in September of 1980, Larry Osborne became pastor of what was then known as the Carlsbad Evangelical Free Church.
On his first Sunday, 127 adults and children gathered for worship. From there, attendance actually went down for the next few years! But it was during these tough years (Larry calls them "the dark years") that God began to do something vital. Unbeknown to all those involved, He was slowly putting together the core team of staff and elders that would lead North Coast into the thriving ministry it is today.
One of the key events in those early years was the decision to build the ministry around small groups. Called "Growth Groups," these home fellowships quickly became the hub of the ministry. Most are sermon-based, meaning they study the previous weekend's message in greater depth. From the beginning, the goal has been to have 80% of the weekend adult attendance participating in one of these midweek studies. It's a goal we've reached every year since 1983!
By 1990, North Coast Evangelical Free Church had grown to nearly 800 people with two Sunday services in a rented Seventh-Day Adventist church on California Street in Oceanside. Then, just as we were getting comfortable, we lost our lease.
With just $30,000 in the bank, our congregation was faced with a tough decision: Stretch and spend nearly $2 million to buy and fix up a building that would allow for continued growth? Or play it safe and rent a much smaller storefront that could easily be paid for, would comfortably accommodate the current congregation; but would effectively shut the doors to future growth?
Fortunately for attendees who have come since then, the leadership chose to stretch and make the sacrifices necessary to buy the N. Melrose property in Vista that allowed for growth. By 1998, we were squeezing over 3,000 people into four weekend services. Running out of space and lacking the funds and time to build a bigger facility, our leaders decided to provide an additional service using live worship and a video feed of the weekend message. Thus started the first Video Café (and to our surprise the beginning of a national movement known as the video venue and/or multi-site church movement).
In 2000, we began the process of acquiring a 40-acre property in Vista with plans to create a new campus on N. Santa Fe Ave. In June 2010, we moved from the N. Melrose location to the new campus. Today, using a combination of live worship services and video worship venues, we have three campuses (Vista, Fallbrook and Carlsbad) and offer numerous worship options every weekend with over 9,000 in attendance.
The new ministry hub in Vista has allowed us to serve 1,500 more people at each service, start several new venues including a Hispanic venue, expand our special needs ministry, add a weekday preschool and offer a full-service bookstore and café. In addition, we intend to keep our satellite campuses operational for the long run. And keeping with our history, we are intent on making sure that North Coast Church is always more than a building. We look forward to what God holds for our future, and look forward to having you become a part of our history.
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Teaching PastorsLarry Osborne - Read Bio
Chris Brown - Read Bio
Our Service Times
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