Protected in the Pandemic

Mission Viejo, tucked in the Saddleback Valley of Orange County, California, neighboring Laguna Hills and Lake Forest, is the largest and most successful planned community in the United States. Its affluence, with modernized Spanish-mission-style buildings and housing developments, has historically attracted many residents and businesses into its welcoming city arms. Couple that with its Mediterranean-like climate and a 15-minute drive to the nearest beach, Mission Viejo is a destination many would love planting roots in. 

It is an appealing city on many levels. 

For Pastor Mike Maiolo and Mission Viejo Christian Church, the city’s continual growth is prime for the gospel even more than the booming real estate that makes up this Orange County community. 


Mike Maiolo, Lead Pastor of Mission Viejo Christian Church

Image-Driven Community

Pastor Mike grew up in Mission Viejo, and he is raising his family in the same place where he accepted the Lord. Due to his long spiritual connection to the city, he has a burning desire for Mission Viejo to be saturated with the gospel. He is grateful for the privilege of helping people develop into fully devoted disciples.

“We want to make sure we’re doing our best at discipling people, rather than running people in and out of a church service,” Pastor Mike said. “We really want to grow some roots that are really deep in discipleship, so we put a lot of resources and energy into that.”

Living out the gospel takes faith, especially in a context where image is everything, and the desire for an affluent lifestyle is worshiped more than God.


Mission Viejo Christian Church

“Mission Viejo, South Orange County—it’s a very image-driven community,” Pastor Mike commented with passion in his voice. “Status and lots of money and all the possessions is a huge driving distraction from the gospel here.” Yet ungodly walls were meant to come down for the overall good of humanity. Part of MVCC’s vision is to faithfully see those walls slowly disappear.

Living out the gospel takes faith, especially in a context where image is everything and the desire for an affluent lifestyle is worshiped more than God.

Despite the barriers that they face, MVCC’s posture of living transparent lives has benefitted the church greatly. Church members have been encouraged to share their pain and struggles with friends and neighbors rather than painting on the “Christian smile” and miscommunicate that they have it all together.

According to Pastor Mike, the faith it takes to live authentic and honest lives has given the church a significant advantage in reaching people who seemingly have everything they need. Pastor Mike went on to say that because its members have communed with nonbelievers in such a real way, they have experienced tremendous growth in the 15 years he has led MVCC.

Pastor Preaching from Stage

Mike Maiolo, Lead Pastor of Mission Viejo Christian Church

“Along with various ministries that meet people’s physical needs, we wanted MVCC to focus more on meeting the relational difficulties in our community,” noted Pastor Mike.
They have responded by helping to heal marital strains and becoming a place of hope for families to raise children in respectful ways.
“I’m trying to help people with counseling and relationship. That’s where our needs are,” Pastor Mike said. “I’m helping our people know that they’ve been equipped with the Word and with the Holy Spirit to do those very things on their own.”

Low Visibility Building

Despite all of the success that MVCC has had relationally in connecting with nonbelievers throughout the years, another barrier has stood in their way of fully realizing their vision to be a vibrant church where discipleship is on display—their somewhat hidden location has kept the church building’s visibility low. 

CDF Capital has provided funding for Mission Viejo Christian Church, including several phases of construction throughout the years, dating back to the purchase of their original property in 1972. Early in MVCCs history, the church sold a piece of its property, a small parcel of land located on a prominent corner that is now a little strip mall.  

The church, rightfully so, has regretted the sale of the property. 


Mission Viejo Christian Church

The existing owner of the property recently passed away, and the heirs decided to sell it—the first time that property had become available in more than 40 years.  

“We had been praying for literally 15 years for the corner property,” Pastor Mike explained. “We've always had an eye on that property. We’ve talked to the owners over the years about selling it to us or giving it to us. So when it came up for sale, we immediately contacted the seller and then immediately contacted CDF. We were so excited about this.” 

CDF Capital jumped in to help MVCC finance the purchase of the property, which admittedly, would have stretched the church financially. Yet the increase in the church’s visibility could help drive its vision forward. CDF Capital prayed with MVCC, prepared the church, and coached them through making an offer. 

After receiving four bids on the property, the seller accepted the bid given by Mission Viejo Christian Church. Unfortunately, at the last minute, another buyer swooped in and paid a premium price, and the church lost the deal. 

Prayer Circle

Mission Viejo Christian Church

“We were just devastated,” Pastor Mike said with a slight pause. “I felt really bad because, not only is it going to be a loss for the churchthe church was excited about it. When we had a vote of making a loan out with CDF, we had an unanimous vote to go forward with the purchase.” 

It took a lot of faith for MVCC to proceed with such a gigantic investment. Everything that the church does has been underlined by its faithfulness to God and to the vision of MVCC. According to Pastor Mike, for the purchase to fall through was a blow to the church’s morale. Then, three weeks later, COVID-19 hit.  

Unexpected Financial Hit

Lockdowns were initiated. Churches could not gather. Church services had to move strictly online.  

Mission Viejo Christian Church, which is heavily dependent on income from their school, had a marked drop in revenue due to school registration issues. Giving took a significant hitlike most churches during the first few weeks of the pandemic. MVCC’s offerings dwindled down to half of what the church usually gets. The church had to lay off a few of its staff members. Their after-school care programs for children and youth had to cease. 

MVCC realized they would not have been able to afford to make the payments on the property had the seller gone with their bid. 

“God was watching out for us,” Pastor Mike said. “God was watching out for Mission Viejo Christian Church because it just wasn’t the right time. I'm not saying that we're not supposed to have that property, but the timing wasn't right. Looking back on it, I still thank God that we went through the process.” 


Mission Viejo Christian Church

One of the realities that Pastor Mike is grateful for is that seeking to purchase the prime real estate allowed their church to come together in complete unity. Having the additional property or not, Pastor Mike was reminded that the church’s unity was really rooted in a passion to reach more people for Jesus. He knows that having property is a tool for outreach, but is not the end all of Kingdom work. 

Pastor Mike is also grateful for this journey because it strengthened the church’s relationship with CDF Capital. 

“I'm more convinced than ever that we're supposed to stay with them until Jesus comes,” Pastor Mike joked. “The fact that they went out on a limb to help us to finalize that loan, I was more than thankful. Even at this moment, as tears are coming out of my eyes, CDF was so helpful to us. I know it was not an easy thing for them to do.”