A Bit of History
Founded by Stephen Randall Johnson on May 5, 1985, Life Christian Church began as a Bible study with 7 people. Composed mostly of young and college age students, the group first met in a recreation room of a retirement age mobile home park. Benefiting from the generosity of the eccentric owner of the park, Pastor Stephen was offered a single wide mobile home to rent and the use of the recreation center in the first few months. Then a single himself, Pastor Stephen started the church at the age of 29 while working toward finishing his bachelors degree in Theology at Berean Bible College in San Diego. In those early years, he received no salary and fit work in between commitments to his little church and his full time schedule at Bible College. Sunday’s would be held in an empty bar of a local motel. The worship team would set up their instruments and pulpit on the parquet dance floor. Cigarette butts had to be picked up and half empty glasses of alcohol cleared off tables before they could have the children’s Sunday school.
From there, the church moved to the recreation building of Washington Park located in the heart of Escondido all the while hoping and looking for a place they could call home.
It was at this point in the first couple of months of 1987 that Pastor Stephen made a bold and risky decision. Some space was available in a semi-professional, industrial park in Escondido, but the city had not opened it up for church use. Life Christian Church (then known as His Church), like David versus Goliath moved in, against impossible odds and took on the City of Escondido’s building department to petition the city council for a conditional use permit that would allow them to stay. Miraculously, the city agreed and equally as miraculous, the money came in to pay the rent for the huge unfinished warehouse building as the church began to grow. The excitement was contagious and all the young people began bringing their friends, co-workers and family members. The building went from a cold and dark warehouse to a finished building as the singles and young families zealously took on the construction of the church. People from all walks of life began to attend and the congregation became a conglomeration of many different races, genders , and ages.
For Pastor Stephen, it was an exciting time of accomplishment (his graduation) and a time for life altering relationships. He became connected with whom would be his Pastor, Dr. Mark T. Barclay, from Midland, Michigan when Dr. Barclay was the key note speaker at his college graduation. Dr. Barclay has been his pastor to this day. Pastor Stephen then continued his education and finished his Masters and Doctorate at Bethel College in Riverside, California.
A Family Begins
Founded by At this time, he would marry Zane Alkhas (June 20, 1987), a single young lady who was attending the church and would become an active partner with him in the ministry.
Word Bible College a fully accredited, associate to Doctorate program, was soon established in 1987 at the home campus with the purpose of raising up and training men and women to preach the gospel in all the world.
Many hungry believers poured into the school, looking for the strong teaching and the leadership provided by Dr. Johnson. Out of the home campus came ministers that would go and start sister churches all over the United States and across the globe.
Life Christian church now has thriving churches in; Okinawa, Japan, OshKosh, Wisconsin, National City, California, Tijuana, Mexico, Atlanta, Georgia, Lemon Grove, California, Bloomington, California, Fairfax, Virginia, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Birch Run, Michigan. Campuses of Word Bible College have been established in Escondido, Bloomington, San Diego, Tijuana, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Kentucky, and, soon to be in Michigan and Japan. Hundreds of students graduate every year and are effectively equipped to affect their world with the powerful message of hope that the gospel proclaims because of the proliferation of Word Bible College.