The History of Crescent Bay West Los Angeles
Southern Baptist Association
Where did Crescent Bay West Los Angeles Association of Southern Baptist churches all start? There was a group of Christians who were of the Southern Baptist denomination who would drive from this area to Bakersfield to worship in a Southern Baptist church because there was none in this area. Later on, the Los Angeles Association was formed. It was not long before the Los Angeles area became too big for one association. So those belonging to the Los Angeles Association who were living on the west side split off and formed their own association, which became known as the Crescent Bay West Los Angeles Association. The Association got its name from the crescent shape of the area around the bay.
Centinela Avenue First Southern Baptist Church became the Association's first organized church. As an interesting sidenote: the Santa Monica Good Shepherd Baptist Church started as a mission of the Centinela Church, and after it organized as a church, it started a mission in Culver City, which became the First Southern Baptist Church of Culver City.
The first annual meeting of the Association was held at Calvary Southern Baptist Church, on October 10, 1960. There was no Director of Missions at that time. Floyd M. Darling was the Moderator of the Association.
We had 18 churches in this Association by that time. They were as follows:
Beverly Hills – First Southern Baptist Church Lennox – Central Baptist Church
Culver City – Calvary Baptist Church Los Angeles – Brendo Street Baptist Church
Culver City – First Southern Baptist Church Los Angeles – Centinela Avenue Baptist Church
Gardena – First Southern Baptist Church Los Angeles – Sawtelle Baptist Church
El Segundo – First Southern Baptist Church Mar Vista – First Southern Baptist Church
Hawthorne – Calvary Baptist Church North Redondo Beach – First Southern Baptist Church
Hawthorne – First Southern Baptist Church Redondo Beach – Meyer Lane Baptist Church
First Southern Baptist Church Santa Monica Topanga – First Southern Baptist Church
Inglewood – First Southern Baptist Church Santa Monica First Southern Baptist Church
Lawndale – First Southern Baptist Church
By 1970 our Association had 29 churches and two missions. Our Director of Missions at that time was Gene Lake, who, by the way, was our first Director of Missions. We joined with the San Fernando Valley Association, thus becoming a dual Association. Gene Lake was the DOM for both Associations. Our joint missions office was located at the Santa Monica Good Shepherd Baptist Church. In 1978 the joint missions office was moved to 17424 Sherman Way in Van Nuys.
By 1980 we had 34 churches in our Association and seven missions. Gene Lake was still our Director of Missions. At the first quarterly meeting in 1981, he submitted his resignation as DOM to the Association to be effective in March. He then moved back to Texas.
In 1981, E.D. Giddens became Interim Director of Missions of our Association. It was also during this time that our Association separated from the San Fernando Valley Association. In 1982 there was a special meeting called to elect a new DOM search committee to seek out someone to be our new DOM. In 1983 the DOM search committee presented Rev. Don Hall to the Association as a good prospect for the position of DOM. Don Hall was selected by the Association in 1983 to be the new DOM. He served until 1992 when he was forced to retire due to age qualifications.
At this time, Carol Nichols became our Interim DOM. There was a search committee formed to seek out someone to present to the Association to be the next DOM. After a year of search, the committee found Lyman Alexander, whom they felt the Lord wanted to be our next DOM. He was presented to the Association by the search committee at the Associational Annual Meeting on October 11, 1994, at Gardena-Torrance Southern Baptist Church, where he was elected to be the new DOM. His tenure began on January 1, 1995. In June 1996, the Association office moved to its present location at 9520 Redfern Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301.
In 2002 at the mid-annual meeting in April at Primera Iglesia Bautista, Lyman Alexander said good-by to the Association. He had accepted a call to the East Bay Association in San Leandro. A DOM search committee was elected. Beginning May 1, Rev. Ted Knapp became DOM, and Rev. Abel Owens, Associate DOM. At this time, the Association has 81 churches and missions. Through these churches and missions, we are reaching out and ministering to 11 cultural groups within the Crescent Bay West Los Angeles area.
In 2002 the Association changed its name from Crescent Bay West Los Angeles Southern Baptist Association to LAX Urban Center Association. During Rev. Ted Knapp's tenure, the Association's membership increased to 133 churches. By 2015 Rev. Ted Knapp informed the Association that he would be retiring in three years, and we needed to begin planning for his retirement. A steering committee was formed headed by Rev. Christopher Codrington and five other pastors of the Association. We came together and began to pray about the replacement for Rev. Knapp. On January 1, 2019, Rev. Ted Knapp and Kerri Knapp, who was our Executive Administrator, retired and moved to Waco, Texas.
In December 2018, the Association Executive Board, at the recommendation of Rev. Knapp met and appointed Rev. Christopher Codrington and Rev. Quentin Oden as Co-Interim DOMS to take effect January 1, 2019. The Lax Urban Center Association continues to serve a vast area in Los Angeles County, including Santa Monica, Hollywood, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, El Segundo, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Torrance, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Gardena, and other surrounding cities.
The LAX Urban Center shall seek the leading of the Holy Spirit to impact the greater Los Angeles area to establish unity, love, and a sense of brotherhood and community pride. We shall seek to enlarge our borders and strengthen our churches.
The LAX Urban Center shall following the guiding of the Holy Spirit to develop a self-sustaining church resource center. We shall equip our churches with the necessary information and tools to effectively evangelize, disciple and minister to the municipalities and communities that comprise our West Los Angeles Association. This shall be accomplished through a spirit of fellowship, cooperation and servanthood.
We believe everyone, ordained or lay, is responsible before God for his/her own understanding of God's Word and what it means to them. We believe God created every individual as competent with the skills to be a priest for themselves and others.
OUR MAIN BELIEFS
Uniqueness of Jesus
One God (The Trinity)
Necessity of the Cross (Salvation)
Resurrection and Second Coming
Inspiration of Scripture
We believe that every brother and sister in Christ must have truth, fellowship, worship, compassion, unity, love, acceptance, fruitfulness, holiness, prayer, excellence, integrity, discipleship and empowerment. These element are what keep us alive and united in Christ Jesus.
Prayer – Seeking God, Hearing God, Giving Him All the Praise.
Holiness – Spiritual Integrity
Spiritual Readiness – Prepared to Meet God Where He is Already at Work.
Kingdom Focused Mindset – Christ-Centered
Acts 1:8 Challenge – Global Focused on the Great Commission.
Faith Partnerships – Churches Helping Churches.
Servant Leadership – The Model of Jesus