History of Our Church
The history of First Chinese Baptist Church in Orange County is really “His story”...the story of God’s mighty work in the lives of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Under the guidance of Pastor Murphy and Lorna Lum, the growing FCBC family gathered in Jesus’ name: praying, worshiping, serving, equipping, loving, learning, evangelizing and glorifying God together. “...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). We stand on the shoulders of spiritual giants who went before us, and we are forever grateful to God for them.
The First Chinese Baptist Church Mission started in 1977 using Trinity Baptist Church’s facility on Brookhurst Street. The leaders at our mother church, FCBCLA, had a vision to spread the gospel beyond LA County. The birth of our church started off as a small church plant, with Dr. Murphy Lum and a few faithful and dedicated families leaving Los Angeles to expand God’s kingdom into Orange County. Though we did not have a building of our own to call home, we were thankful to God for providing a place for us to start our church.
The Lord blessed and grew the new FCBC mission. During the church's first year in 1977, average attendance was about 66. Four years later, that number nearly tripled to 190. People--young and old--were coming to know the Lord, getting baptized, serving His Church and evangelizing the community. The church needed to find more space...and soon the Lord would lead them to a more expansive location. We will forever be grateful for His provision of Trinity Baptist--our first home in Orange County from 1977-1981.
The Lord opened an opportunity to grow the four-year old church by providing a new location on Hazard Avenue. It was not yet an ideal property, as there was no classroom wing to house the many Sunday School classes. But it was a place that First Chinese Baptist Mission could call her own, and gave the church much more flexibility for gathering times and space. The first assembly was, again and appropriately, a prayer meeting on April 1, 1981. Prayer meetings were and have always been a staple of ministry in FCBC, and may we continue to always seek the Lord in corporate prayer.
On July 12th, the Westminster branch of First Chinese Baptist Church was formally dedicated, and worship services began that year in the newly acquired church property on Hazard Avenue. In addition to the choir, Dr. Murphy Lum, Dr. Timothy Lin, Dr. Keung Luke and others presided over and participated in the special ceremony. FCBC has always recognized that the property the Lord has given to the church is to be used to worship Him, know Him through His Word and make Him known.
What did the Sunday School teachers do in those early days at the new Hazard Avenue location when there were not enough classrooms? They moved their classes outdoor to the parking lot, naturally! Like U.S. postal carriers who are committed to the "swift completion of their appointed rounds" no matter how brutal the weather may be, FCBC Sunday School staff continued to teach God's Word under rigged canopies. Even more remarkable, the students continued to attend, clothed in their Sunday best! Eventually, the church would complete the addition of a Christian Education (classroom) wing by the fall of 1982.
After a decade at Hazard Avenue, the church family began to outgrow its home. Another search was initiated to find a larger property. Eventually the Lord led the search committee to the current 4+ acre site in Fountain Valley--formerly the campus of Hawthorne Christian School. Finding and purchasing it was challenging enough; moving in was even more so, as the church encountered various obstacles from the city and the neighbors. But the Lord prevailed during the process, and the church's prayers, persistence and patience finally paid off when the city gave approval. Pictured here are jubilant pastors Murphy Lum and Albert Ting with church architectural consultant Percy Cheng in front of City Hall.
With the city's approval in hand, work began on remodeling the former Hawthorne Christian School into a campus that would be a suitable home for a growing church. Walls were torn down and four classrooms merged to become the sanctuary for worship. Bathrooms were refurbished; offices were partitioned and new lighting installed. And a new parking lot was paved over the back half of the lot--a necessity in car-loving Southern California. Church members waited and watched with anticipation and thankfulness to the Lord as the campus was transformed over a period of 4 months.
Recreational amenities like outdoor basketball courts and children's playgrounds are taken for granted today, but in the early years of FCBC Fountain Valley, such items were welcomed novelties. With the completion of the remodel, members quickly acclimated themselves to their new church home. Basketball games and Christmas musicals became evangelistic opportunities. English and Chinese-speaking families were invited, and children of all ages were introduced to the Lord Jesus. Outreach to the Vietnamese community had begun under a young pastor named John Nguyen and his wife Ruth.
FCBC-FV and her property exists today by God's grace because of the strong foundation first laid by the "founding families." Many have come to saving faith in Jesus Christ over the past 42 years. And the generous offerings of many members and friends 25 years ago made it possible to call this address our church home today. We are forever grateful for the families of Pastor Murphy and Lorna Lum, Loy and Ellen Chiu, Jimmy and Millie Joe, Gary and Lesley Lee, Sam and Jean Leong, Keung Luke, Harry and June Yan, Kim and Pei-Yu Wu, Daniel and Beverly Tam, and Warren and Lisa Woo.