One of CDF Capital’s most historic church relationships is with Lighthouse Christian Church in Oceanside, California. When the first loan was made to the church in 1970, members of what was then known as Twin Cities Christian Church were challenged to invest funds at CDF Capital to cover the amount of the loan - $85,000. The people responded with those investments and the facility was built…a worship center, fellowship hall, classrooms, and offices. Churches often pay more than that in city permits these days!
Of course, the building of a church facility is not the end-game, it is simply a tool used to get to the ultimate goal of helping the church grow and giving the baptistry a workout.
During the use of that tool, Senior Pastor, and CDF Capital Board Member, Richard “Dick” Miller decided to pass the torch to a younger man who could lead the church through its next phase of growth. In years past, Mike Openshaw had been challenging his fellow students at Lincoln Christian Seminary to “go west,” seeing the need for the gospel in California. Now it was his turn.
After fifteen years of ministry in Illinois and his home state of Georgia Mike heeded the call to go west and filled Dick’s shoes as the Senior Pastor at Twin Cities. That was three decades ago, in 1993. Dick had served as the Senior Pastor for two decades prior to that and stayed on as a pastor on staff, serving under Mike’s leadership, for another two decades after Mike came on board.
When the millennial calendar turned to the year 2000 Twin Cities worked with CDF Capital to purchase land on one of the highest points in Oceanside. They changed the church’s name to Lighthouse Christian Church, as the church could be seen as a beacon from miles around and served as a virtual lighthouse to the lost, in need of a Savior.
This past month Mike completed his ministry at Lighthouse. He and his wife Andrea, who worked faithfully by his side through four and half decades of ministry, retired, sold their home, and packed their bags for a move to Montana to be close to their grandchildren. Mike and Andrea will never really retire from ministry. It is their life’s calling to serve Christ wherever they go.
I had the opportunity in my ministry with CDF Capital to walk alongside Mike over those three decades of developing properties, raising investments from church members, seeing dreams fulfilled, and it was with a great deal of emotion that I said “good bye for now” as I joined the church in celebrating his retirement.
During Mike’s farewell sermon he mentioned that in his decades at Lighthouse the church baptized 1,440 people. The crowning glory was at the end of that sermon three more souls came forward and were baptized into Christ. Mike had the honor of joining those three in the baptistry to make that number 1,443!
Well done, Mike and Andrea. You have proven, as Dick Miller did before you, the words of I Corinthians 15:58, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain, in the Lord.” Go north, Openshaws. California’s loss is Montana’s gain.