Our Story

Our Story

Ventura Missionary Church was born in the hearts of a number of God’s people meeting together informally for prayer, Bible study and fellowship. The first service was July 3, 1960 in Ventura’s Billy Clower Dance Studio. In September 1960, Rev. John Cherrie was called as the first Senior Pastor.

In December of 1961, a one and one-half acre parcel of land was purchased on the corner of Telegraph and Day Roads. Also in 1961, Rev. Ken Hewitt became the second pastor. In 1963, groundbreaking began for the new building. A dedication was held in July of 1964. A Christian Education wing was built in 1967. In 1968, Rev. Roger Hughs became the third pastor, followed by Rev. Cornelius Vlot, who served from 1969 to 1971.

Rev. Leonard DeWitt was called to be the senior pastor of a congregation of 75. The church began to grow and in order to accommodate the growth, ten acres of land was purchased at the corner of Foothill and High Point Drive in 1974. On February 16, 1975, groundbreaking was held for the new church facility. Construction was completed, and the first worship service was held on Christmas Sunday, December 21, 1975. Dedication of the new facilities was on January 11, 1976. Attendance grew so rapidly, VMC went to two services, and later, a third service was added. By 1977 a multiple staff was necessary, and a caretaker’s home, a Counseling Center building and a ball field were added.

A three-story Christian Education wing on an additional four acres was added in 1978. In 1979, a Pre-School was launched and in 1980 the Day School (K-8) started. In 1981, Rev. DeWitt left VMC to become the President of the Missionary Church denomination located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Dr. C. Leslie Miller, one of VMC’s associate pastors, became the Interim Pastor from 1981 to 1982.In 1982, Dr. John Strubhar was called as Senior Pastor. A multi-level office complex was added to the west side of the facility and occupied in February of 1984. Dr. Strubhar served as pastor from 1982 to 1986.

Rev. Milt Davis served as our Interim Pastor from 1986 to 1987. After six years as President of the Missionary Church, Dr. DeWitt felt led to leave that position. In September of 1987, he returned to VMC as its Senior Pastor and then retired from ministry at VMC in 2002.

Groundbreaking for a Community Life Center began on September 26, 1999. After completion of the center, which included a Youth Center, industrial kitchen, gymnasium, new school offices and middle school classrooms, a Celebration Service was held in the Gymnasium on November 26, 1999.

In October of 2002, Rev. Mark Holmen was called as VMC’s senior pastor. Pastor Mark has facilitated the development of VMC’s current Mission, Vision and Strategy, at the very core of which is to “introduce people to a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” His passion for the importance of Christian faith being lived out at home has generated an international movement that began at VMC. In February of 2009, Pastor Mark resigned his role as Senior Pastor to become a full-time missionary for the Faith at Home movement, which has spread nationally and internationally.

In March of 2009, Dave Teixeira, formerly VMC’s Children, Youth and Family Pastor, assumed the role of Interim Senior Pastor for VMC. On April 19, the congregation called him to the role of Senior Pastor and on May 17, 2009, Pastor Dave was officially installed as VMC’s eighth senior pastor. On September 1st of 2013 and after a 4-year term that brought significant blessing to our community, Pastor Dave moved on to a take a lead position at a church in Portland, OR.

Pastor Chad Erlenborn served as our Lead Pastor from December of 2014 until November of 2017. Through his ministry, many people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. He was also instrumental in bringing a fruitful discipleship ministry to the church called, "Rooted." 

After serving as the Student Ministries Pastor at Ventura Missionary Church for eight years, Pastor Doug Colby was installed as the new Lead Pastor on August 26, 2018. A few months prior, the congregation had affirmed Pastor Doug by an overwhelming margin.

First "VMC" Attenders,  Billy Clower Dance Studio
Worship Service in July, 1976
Construction of Community Life Center, 1999