The Sanctuary is proudly supporting the planting of a church in Ojai with Pastor Zack Totten and and his wife Diane, a journey that began more than 6 years ago for the Totten family.
Ojai is a small community located in the hills above Ventura with a population of 18,000 people. Historically, it is a farming community with large citrus and avocado orchards. It also has a strong artist community. Because of its proximity to Los Angeles and its quaint, beautiful location, it has developed into a weekend get-away with many fine hotels and spas.
The Foursquare church in Ojai was vibrant for decades going back to the 70’s. However, it significantly declined and was eventually closed about three years ago. For the last year and half, a small congregation, not associated with the Foursquare denomination, has rented the facilities on Sundays.
One of the issues facing church-planters is income. Will financial support come from churches and people who believe in the vision or will it come from getting a job in the community? Though the Pastor Zack has tremendous support, he has chosen to seek employment. Prior to becoming a pastor, he was a licensed electrician and has begun to work full-time for an electrical contractor in Ojai as they pursue moving from Santa Clarita to the community God has called them to.
- Diane is finishing her master's degree and is scheduled to be done in November. Pray for these next few months as she pushes to complete her schooling.
- A creative (and legal) solution to their living situation in Ojai. Since they sold their rental property in Santa Clarita, they cannot use the new home in Ojai as their primary residence for 2 years (without tax penalty) so they are looking at creative (and legal!) ways to live on the property (i.e.: park a trailer on the property and rent the home out for a couple of years) to get them out in Ojai! This will also be a good way for Diane to experience the commute (from Ojai to Van Nuys where she currently teaches) to determine if she may want to try again to apply for a teaching job in the Ojai area.
- For continued direction for the “church plant” now that they are LOCALS!!!