Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

The artists at Downtown Santa Ana’s Santora Building have no idea what they missed out on when they rejected the proposed purchase of that building by the Newsong Church.  I found out today that they missed out on more than they could have imagined.

A few weeks ago I approached Pastor Andy Quient, my minister at Santa Ana’s First Baptist Church – a historic congregation that first met in 1872.  I knew that Newsong’s minister, Dave Gibbons, had expressed a desire to minister in Santa Ana.  I had a feeling that he still felt the same way.  Quient’s challenge at First Baptist has been filling a church that has lost many of its parishioners over time.

First Baptist can seat over 700 people but typically we are lucky to get 70 folks in our pews.  It is depressing.  Which is why I asked Quient to contact Gibbons, to see if he might have an interest in working with us, given Newsong’s amazing success in Irvine, where they have a “mega-church.”

As luck would have it, Quient had quietly been working on convincing the board of directors at our church of the need for a merger, in order to keep our church going.  Most of our directors have been going to our church since they were kids.  They are retired now, for the most part.  Their number includes teachers, a retired Judge and other professionals.  They love our church but recognize the need for change, given our dwindling numbers.

Pastor Andy Quient and Pastor Dave Gibbons

I suggest to Quient that he contact Gibbons via Facebook, and he did.  Gibbons answered – from Thailand, where he was working with another church.  When he returned he met with Quient and they hit it off.  He invited Quient to attend one of his meetings, to get to know Newsong’s leadership team.  He did and it was quite an experience.

We get by the best that we can at First Baptist, but Newsong is a different world – not unlike visiting the Land of Oz.  It blew Quient away.

So today my wife and I went to church, with our 9-year old, and surprise – Gibbons was there to give a guest sermon.  He and Quient cautioned us that their two churches are in the dating phase and that if something does happen, such as a merger, it will be up to God and our respective leaders.  But many of us at the 11 am service were astounded by Gibbon’s message.

If you haven’t met Gibbons, then you may not know that while he appears to be Korean, he is in fact the progeny of an American soldier who met and fell in love with a lady in Korea, while he was serving in the U.S. military there.  Gibbons’ mom suffered greatly in Korea while married to another man who beat her.  Gibbons’ father saved her from that life and they fell in love.  They eventually settled in Phoenix, Arizona, and started a family.  It sounded like Gibbons had at least one brother and one sister.

Pastor Dave Gibbons

 Gibbons shared a few funny stories about his mom – how she would embarras him and his siblings at times.  For example, she would walk up to a store clerk and try to negotiate the price of the clothing she was buying for her kids.  And she would take them to buffets and after they had stuffed themselves she would pack pieces of friend chicken in napkins and stuff them in her purse.

Those were cute stories but then came the kicker.  There came a day when Gibbons’ father cheated on his mother.  It sounded like he left his family.  Hard times ensued.  Gibbons found Christ when he was 16, but not long later his mom was killed by a drunk driver. 

Gibbons could have become bitter but he went to seminary and he eventually started one of the most dynamic Christian churches in America.  His church today has a global presence.  But what it all boils down to is Gibbons’ understanding that deep down inside we all want to be recognized for who we are, as individuals.  He related the story of how Jesus walked up to a Samaritan woman and asked her for a drink of water, from a well, to introduce the concept that God knows us just as Jesus knew that woman – and that is a message that has resonated with Gibbons’ parishioners.

First Baptist Church of Santa Ana

Gibbons’ dream for Santa Ana is to empower young people and to bring them to a church that is not boring.  His enthusiasm is magnetic and his message is inspiring. 

I don’t know if Newsong will merge with First Baptist of Santa Ana.  But I hope it does.  We have a beautiful old church, on four acres, that deserves to be packed on Sundays.  For Newsong this is a second chance to minister in Santa Ana – just a few miles north of Downtown Santa Ana.  For First Baptist this deal could save our church. 

None of this would have come to pass had the Santora deal not fallen through.  But it is too bad that Santa Ana’s artist community missed out on a chance to get to know Gibbons…

Click here to learn more about Gibbons.  Click here to check out Quient’s online radio show, which is broadcast on AM 830 on Sunday nights.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

13 thoughts on “Dave Gibbons’ Newsong Church gets a second chance to minister in Santa Ana”
  1. Sounds like a win/win for Newsong and your chruch. Downtowns loss is Washington Squares gain! Maybe they can also buy the vacant land that backs up to the church (check the google ariel view and you will see what I’m talking about) That land would make a great greenbelt/park for use by the church and community. Let’s hope this merger gets fast tracked by all those involved.

  2. So then everything happens for a reason. huh? Praise the Lord. “Life is short, Art is for ever!” Have A god day. Oh freudian slip there. I meant have a gooood day.

  3. If propagandists such as you and Dave actually devoted yourself to the message of Christ or the Buddha. You would drag your arse out of the pulpit and Occupy Corporate take over of the national sovereignity, the exploitation of the poor, homeless, immigrant class, working class, creative class being short thrifted by a bankrupt financial system, Fake “progressive” liberals and unimaginative hate mongering reactionary conservatives, but hey man just keep devoting yourself to that box. I mean crutch. Praise Jesus. He makes mean tacos.

  4. A city the size of Santa Ana could use more churches willing to reach out to this generation in a meaningful way. I predict Newsong will be a big success at this location.

  5. I might even drive up to that end of Santa Ana if there was a good church there. What is the music like at Newsong? I have some friends who live in Washington Sqaure association who emailed me last night about this and are very excited to be able to walk to church!

    1. Newsong features modern music – as does the second service at First Baptist. The first service is still traditional hymns. I like those too!

  6. Drove by today on my lunch hour and this church has a really cool design that has not been screwed up over time. I a great thing it would be to see new life (or song) given to an old church.

    1. I do hope the deal goes through. I can’t wait for the day when I will have to double park at the church. It is a grand old building and it will be great to see it full in my lifetime!

  7. The ‘artists’ know what they are ‘missing’


    “Yoga – sometimes, it’s just exercise;
    however, some forms include the evoking of demonic spirits through chanting and meditation.”

    Information from:
    newsong intake questionnaire form http://newsongsantora.com/Intake-Questionnaire-Form.pdf

    Official Newsong policy deems homosexuality “a far more complex issue than simply a sexual preference.

    There are issues of lack of male-affirmation, spiritual hunger, abuse, narcissism, and relational idolatry”

    April 28, OC Weekly
    Newsong’s Santa Ana Strategy: Save the Poor, Support the Arts, Fight the Gays and Drunks

    “During the height of the celebration [July 7th Artwalk], several people witnessed the Newsong-related breakdancers proselytizing that gays, drinkers and flappers were going to hell. Right in front of Memphis and the west entrance to the Santora. With all the effort to create a welcoming experience attended by residents from all over the county, how was this allowed to happen? Who’s responsible for letting this happen and making sure it never happens again?”

    Deuteronomy 20:10-17

    When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. . . . This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.

    However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.

  8. I just stumbled on this blog. I happen to attend New Song and I had absolutely no idea of this proposed merger.

    What are we to think of a leader who publicly announces a merger to everyone except his own congregation?

    The Santora acquisition was clearly mismanaged and a horrible idea, but at least it was a side deal that didn’t effect sunday service and at least we had a vote on. But, this merger sounds like we would be relocating the entire church and Dave hasn’t even informed the congregation about it.

    Based on the discontent that I’m hearing internally, I sense his time at Newsong is limited. He may move to 1st baptist, but NS is staying irvine.

  9. It would have been good for the Artist Village to have Newsong. The INTOLERANCE shown by some here was disgusting. I hope they reconsider such stances in the future.

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