Central Baptist Temple began as a mission of the Central Baptist Church in Anaheim. The church commissioned a church planter, Dr. George Siemins, along with two families, The Mewhinneys and the Woods, and began the first service on November 1, 1964. It was held at Rancho View School with 13 in attendance, 6 adults and 7 children.
Jean and Judy Woods brought toys, a baby crib and a play pen from home. Together with Bill Mewhinney and the others, they set up the nursery and placed a sandwich sign on the black top. Picnic tables underneath an overhanging roof made the Sunday School area. "The overhang provided shelter from the sun and protection from the rain," said Judy.
In those early days, mid-week prayer meetings were held in the Woods' home. Everyone would sit around on the floor and strain to hear the whispering, tired voice of Dr. Seimins.
Jean remembers, "Many times his voice would leave him; it was a miracle that he could even talk. Dr. Seimins had cancer of the larnyx.”
By 1965, the church had grown to about 100 in attendance. As a result, Rev. Maynard Nutting was called as the first full-time pastor in December of 1965. During a visitation night, a man named Mr. Montai gave the infant congregation an opportunity to purchase five choice acres of ground where the church stands today.
In 1967, two temporary buildings were moved onto the five acres. Central Baptist Temple was incorporated under the laws of the State of California on September 6, 1968. In December of 1968, Rev. Nutting resigned as pastor.
Pastor Thomas Ray | 1969 - 1976
In January of 1969, the church called Thomas Ray as its new pastor. Only one word can describe those next seven years, growth! With a heart as big as the state he came from, that Texas preacher led the church to astounding victories. From 100 to 500, then 800 to 1,000... the attendance kept soaring upward.
It was during this time that Liberty Christian School was founded and families were sent out to help start other churches in Southern California (three within twenty-one miles of Central Baptist Temple!).
Pastor Ray would not slacken the pace, and, unfortunately, his health began to suffer.
So in November of 1976, Pastor Ray resigned believing it better for someone else to come and lead the church dynamically on than for him to "re-tool" for a new style of leadership.
Pastor Bruce Melton | 1977 - 2005
The church began to decide on a successor to Pastor Ray. Everyone had a preference, and after five months of getting to know each other and ourselves much better, God gave us a pastor. God gave, and we called a dynamic and warm-hearted preacher and administrator, Pastor Bruce Melton, to the pulpit on March 20, 1977.
Pastor Melton spent the first fifteen years of ministry in the fields of music and education. As a professor at the world's largest Bible College (Baptist Bible College, Springfield, Missouri), he challenged many men and women to excellence of service. Many thought it a mistake when he traded his songbook for a Bible but that was before they heard him preach! Pastor Melton brought the same standards of excellence to the pulpit as he once did to the classroom. His burning desire was to perfect the saints so that they could do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13).
It was during these years that our Spanish ministry was started and our current Worship Center and Liberty Christian's gymnasium were built.
Pastor Melton retired in 2005 and he and his wife moved to Oklahoma to be with their children and grandchildren.
Pastor Bruce Garner | 2005 - Current
When Pastor Melton retired at the beginning of 2005, he highly recommended the church call Bruce Garner to candidate as its next Senior Pastor. Bruce had served as an intern at Central while he was attending Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College and had been highly effective as a teacher and in evangelism. He was instrumental in building the Spanish ministry since he was fluent in Spanish and had grown up as a missionary kid in Mexico.
Bruce continued his education and graduated with the highest honors from Talbot School of Theology while working full time at Central. His goal had always been to return to the mission field, so he and his wife, Charise, and their newborn son, Ryan, began working along side his parents in Chihuahua, Mexico.
In 2004, the Garners (now with son, Evan) made the difficult decision to leave a thriving ministry in Mexico for a new challenge in Cuba. They sold most of their possessions and then were hit with the devastating news that the door to Cuba had closed. It was at that time that the pulpit committee from Central contacted him and asked if he would consider pastoring his former church home. When God closes one door, He often is opening another and after prayerful consideration, Bruce accepted the position.
Under Pastor Bruce's inspirational and servant leadership, the church has seen the blessings and miracles of God continue.
In 2007, Central Baptist changed its name to CrossPoint.