Churches in Los Angeles

City Guide: Los Angeles

Matthew ThompsonBy Matthew ThompsonJune 5, 20198 Minutes

Although Los Angeles is known to be the home of the rich and famous, it also houses 4 million people from over 140 different nations, making it one of the largest and most diverse areas in the United States. Each year, people from around the world move to LA in hopes of making it across various professions. But this culture dynamic can become tiresome and lonely at times. It can often feel like some people are always trying to figure out who you know rather than get to know you. In the past few years, many 20 and 30-somethings have been flooding to vibrant church communities across the city that have flipped this dynamic upside down. Instead of trying to put on your best self, these churches are offering this generation the opportunity to come as you are and go deeper in relationship with others, while getting to know God in a way they've never experienced before. We’ve discovered more churches in Los Angeles that are in alignment with our mission to help this generation know Jesus, than in any other major city in the U.S. So no matter what region of LA you live in, there is something for you.

Breakthrough in LA

With locations across Venice, South Pasadena and Hollywood, Mosaic is one of the first churches in the area that started making a major impact on this generation. They’ve created a space where anyone can feel comfortable coming in, no matter who they are or what their past is. Led by Pastor Erwin McManus, one member said that he was, “the greatest communicator I have ever had the privilege of hearing” while another said,He always has a relevant message; something for seekers, doubters, wounded, marginalized, under challenged, or growing in faith.”

Outside of Sundays, their community often comes together through weekly Dinner Parties across 14 different neighborhoods, where people share a casual meal and do life together. One member reflected, “This church is more than just a church. It's a real life community of people trying to find their way in this world,” while another called Mosaic, “A true community of faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Their worship band, Mosaic MSC, is also incredible. One of their original tracks, 2016 hit “Tremble”, has been sung in hundreds of churches across the country.

Creating a culture of discipleship

Another church that changed the landscape in Los Angeles is Reality LA. Beginning in 2006, it started with just 15 people and has blossomed to a congregation of nearly 2,000. When we visited their campus in Hollywood, we were struck by how humble, authentic and Christ-like the atmosphere was. One member remarked, “I can't even fathom how much restoration, peace, and joy this church brings me and everyone I've ever brought to Reality. We always all leave balling crying in joy and conviction.” Out of all the churches we visited in LA, they have one of the most focused, intentional programs to get you plugged into a community group that will not only become like family to you, but help you grow in your discipleship of Jesus. These have been incredibly successful, evidenced by the fact that most people who attend the church belong to a group.

The worship is Spirit-filled and allows plenty of opportunity during response time to connect with God. You'll notice that they intentionally dim down the lights on stage during worship to take the focus off the worship leaders and instead direct it towards God. In terms of teaching, Jeremy Treat took over as lead pastor in 2016. If you’re looking to tackle all aspects of the Bible, Reality LA goes deep into the Word while still keeping it engaging and relevant.

New churches in town

Another church that has experienced a lot of growth in recent years is Vintage Church LA  in Santa Monica. With a similar approach to making disciples as Reality LA, they’ve created a powerful atmosphere to encounter God and experience community. One member called the church, “Authentic, down-to-earth, and community-driven, I believe is key why lives are getting changed here.” In 2019, their worship team 'Vintage Worship' also released their first original worship song, “Generous Giver”.

Over in Downtown Hollywood, Fearless LA has created a space for the dreamers and the outcasts. They’re focused on trying to make people feel seen, whether they end up making it in LA or not. This culture comes straight down from the pastors, Jeremy and Christy Johnson. We got a chance to grab coffee with Jeremy while we were in LA, and it only took a few minutes of being around him to notice his humble, genuine and down-to-earth character.

In terms of preaching style, one member called Pastor Jeremy “a fireball of passion, relatability and love.”  One of the things you’ll also notice about Fearless is that it’s one of the most creative and upbeat churches in all of Los Angeles. Their worship team, Fearless BND, has produced music across all genres, mixing in hip-hop and electronic.

Fearless also has created a space for connection, friendship and vulnerability through their weekly dinner parties, spread out across Downtown LA, the Arts District, Pasadena, Alhambra, Hollywood, Mid-City, Long Beach and Orange County.

Going north into Central LA and the Valley, you’ll find C3 Los Angeles. Taken over by Pastor Jake Sweetman in 2015, they’ve built a close knit community of people who do life together. In a congregation of 500, it's outstanding that nearly 70% of the church is involved in community groups. They have nearly 40 groups spread all over Los Angeles that meet throughout the week.One member reflected on this experience saying that people are, “so welcoming, inclusive and are genuinely excited to have meaningful friendships, valuing the importance of doing life together.”

How do I pick a church home?

Right now, we feature 10 churches in Los Angeles across all of the major neighborhoods, including two other churches we visited, Oasis LA and Expression58. While all of these have different cultures and unique approaches to church, they all offer vibrant environments that are helping this generation encounter and grow closer to God.

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