On March 11, 1973, the Conejo Valley Church of Christ was officially born to respond to the needs of members of the church living in the Conejo Valley and to respond to the growing population represented by the opening of the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University in 1972.
In the early, formative years the church met in various public facilities including a bank, several public schools, and a residential nursing cafeteria. Also in these early years, all elements of the worship and work of the church was performed completely by the volunteer efforts of the lay members, including preaching, teaching, and music ministries.
Early in 1974 the church purchased 4+ acres of land at 2525 E. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks for the purpose of building a permanent church building. Groundbreaking occurred in January, 1976, and the building was occupied on January 2, 1977. The property and construction loan was paid off in 1994. We are currently seeking approval from the city of Thousand Oaks for the expansion of parking facilities and the construction of an additional building on the property. Once this construction is completed, we anticipate moving many of our class activities and offices to that building and further opening up our current worship facility to handle more attendees.
In 1974 the congregation hired its first part-time preacher, and augmented that in 1985 with a full-time “personal” minister/evangelist whose primary duties were to respond to personal needs of members and the community. In 1989 the church added a part-time youth minister, and eventually expanded the part-time preaching position into a full-time role. In 2001 a part-time children’s minister was added. Currently the church has a full-time pulpit minister, a full-time youth/family minister, two part-time secretaries, and a part-time children’s minister.
The congregation periodically appoints, through a vote of its membership, several lay elders to minister to members, provide leadership and vision for church, and oversee the work of the paid ministers and staff. Appointments are for a three year term, with a possible reaffirmation extending the term. The congregation currently has six elders. On average our elders have been members of the Conejo church for 18 years.
In addition to elders, the church periodically appoints members to service work as ministry leaders, overseeing such programs as our missions, benevolence, education, and finance work.
Elders and ministry leaders serve in a volunteer capacity and are unpaid.
Membership of the church when it began in 1973 was about 30 members. We currently count 143 family units as active members, regularly attending and participating in the work and/or worship of the church. Our typical Sunday morning worship attendance is about 300, with special services such as Easter and Christmas ranging closer to 350.
The work of the church has included missions activities all over the world, annual missions trips by the youth group to locations in Mexico, participation in the Conejo Valley Homeless Housing project (sponsored in collaboration with other churches and synagogues in the area), marital counseling and services, and tutoring of area children, among other work.
Demographically, the church is a young, professional, family-oriented church. We have a relatively large contingent of children and teenagers, with associated ministries and activities for each.
The churches of Christ are an indigenous American church whose origins emphasized the unity of believers and the restoration of church practices to the earliest possible Biblical examples, including believer’s baptism, a lay ministry, and independent congregations who are responsible for their own worship and work. This latter component is a significant area where the churches of Christ differ from traditional denominational structures. Local churches are autonomous, no general conference or assembly is held, and the group has no central headquarters.
The Churches of Christ have no formal organization for collaboration with each other in educational, missionary, and charitable work. Assisted by voluntary associations of individuals, however, the churches maintain congregations and missions in more than 80 countries. They also operate orphanages and homes for the aged, 15 colleges, 9 universities (including Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA), more than 25 Christian schools in the United States, and 7 schools and colleges outside the United States.
Congregations of the Churches of Christ are maintained in all 50 states; they are most numerous in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. In the late 1990s estimates of church membership were about 2 million in 15,000 separate congregations. Sister congregations exist throughout Ventura County, including Simi Valley, Ventura, Fillmore, Malibu, and Camarillo.