Neighborhood Church was born on July 4, 1964 by Rev. Ken Backlund and his wife, Wava. Ken was a great visionary and innovator, with God's heart for those journeying towards faith in Christ. The church grew rapidly and overflowed the rented facilities at Third and Pine in Chico. In a bold step of faith, the congregation purchased 37 acres of land south of Chico. At the time, nay-sayers commented that no one would drive that far to go to church.
Ken proved them wrong. Not only did the people come but the city grew out as well to touch the edge of the NC campus. Buildings were erected and an elementary school began as the congregation swelled to make NC the largest church in Chico at the time. Multiple services were needed to accommodate the crowds. From the onset of Neighborhood Church, Pastor Ken dreamt of building a geodesic dome to freespan a sanctuary large enough to surround the growing congregation. The great project began in the early 1980s and completed in 1987. Pastor Ken retired in 1988 with an amazing legacy of a beautiful campus and thousands of changed lives. Ken's successor, Rev. Dennis Gorton, served for a brief time helping the church transition through the grief and loss of such an outstanding leader.
Following a two year search, God led a 37 year old pastor from the greater Washington DC area to serve as its senior leader. During the tenure of Pastor Larry Lane, the congregation transitioned into a new focus and emphasis that has laid a foundation for Kingdom ministry for years to come. A growing Hispanic congregation was established (Cristo Salva) on the campus of NC with its senior leader, Mark Volstad, serving on the church staff. Two major building projects were completed: The 18,000 square foot Children's Education Center and the 6000 square foot Cristo Salva sanctuary.
In 2010, Andrew Burchett, a son who grew up at NC, was installed as the Lead Pastor and is shaping the vision and direction of NC as "a church that loves this city." The campus has seen continued growth and remodeling of spaces, the preschool serving infants through pre-kindergarten are a primary missions focus and we've continued to reach beyond our borders in partnership with a number of organizations to see God's kingdom advanced. The leadership and congregations are filled with faith and anticipation for the growth of Neighborhood Church and the impact her people will have on the north state and beyond.
Archives Article From 1969
1964 - History of the Neighborhood Church of Chico - 1969 The leading of two of the Lord's servants and the vision of two others were the seeds which were to germinate into the call, plan and implementation of the Neighborhood Church of Chico in February 1964. The Rev. and Mrs Kenneth Backlund after ten years of service as Minister to Youth and Associate Pastor of the Neighborhood Church of Oakland, California, felt moved of God to other areas of endeavor. While praying and seeking God's plan the Lord moved other servants of His to propose the starting of a work in Chico, California. Mr. & Mrs. G. Howard Peterson of Oakland, expressed their desire to see a ministry , similar to that in their church, in the city of Chico where a branch of Mr. Peterson's Tractor Dealership is located.
A survey was made, financial assistance by the Petersons arranged, and the Backlands began to meet in the home of Mr and Mrs. William C. Farnham for prayer and planning. God then began to move key families who had worked with the pastor previously in Oakland, to sell their homes, quit their jobs and seek new employment in Chico in order to be used of God in the new work. They were Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Geizentanner, Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Backlund, Mr. Russell Dewey and family, Mr. Ray Rice and family, Mr. & Mrs. Gil Leonard and family, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Tillitz, Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Holmberg and family and Mr. John Anderson. The Lord added to this group Mr. & Mrs. David Foley and Mr & Mrs. Archie Wright. The first business meeting was held February 22, 1964, and the first communion in the Farham's Rumpus Room in March. The present church building was purchased in May and opened its doors on the first Sunday in July 1964. The Chico Women's Club has been rented since the first Sunday gathering for Sunday School space.
The church was incorporated in June 1965 with 29 charter members and since that time has continued to grow spiritually, numerically and financially. With all areas of the church growing and expanding the need for more space soon became apparent. Through the graciousness of Mr. & Mrs. J. Ned Richardson of Chico, the mansion at 488 East Third Street which has served so well was made available.
Soon more space was needed and again God has his people ready. The TAC Health Club owned by Mr. & Mrs. Dale Denny and Mr. & Mrs. James Hess was offered and is now used every Sunday. Office facilities were rented in the Longfellow Shopping Center which now house the Pastor's office, Mr. Giezentanner's office, secretarial pool, printing room, prop room and composing room for promotion and advertising.
Believing and obeying Christ's command to "go to all the world" the Neighborhood Church World Missions Program includes the support of nine missionary families at home and abroad. The church is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a large world-wide faith missionary society with 950 active missionaries in 23 overseas fields and an annual budget of over $5,000,000.00. The local missionary program of the Neighborhood Church also includes the support of International Missions, Inc.; Overseas Radio, Formosa; Central American Missions; International Christian Leadership; and Missionary Aviation Fellowship.
In order to meet the great challenge of reaching men for Jesus Christ in Northern California the Neighborhood Church is now planning the erection of the Cathedral of the Valley, a 1200-seat geodesic dome, located on a 35-acre site with easy access to major freeways. Also included in the project are Drive-In Sanctuary, Christian Elementary School, gymnasium, apartments, college housing, senior citizens center, convalescent hospital and condominium apartments. ...
"This is the Lords doing and it is marvellous in our eyes" Matthew 21:42