Studio City: Reaching the People Who Make the Stories That Shape Us
Los Angeles, as almost everyone knows, is one of the most diverse and influential cities in the United States, if not the world. It’s a global metroplex that resembles a scene out of Revelation when the Apostle John says we will see people “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.” But within the urban sprawl of the City of Angels, nestled behind the Hollywood Sign up against the backside of the Hollywood Hills, is a smaller pocket of about 40,000 people in a neighborhood called Studio City. Here, the people who make the stories which shape the city which shape the culture which shape the world reside. It’s a neighborhood full of creatives working in the entertainment industry who are crafting the stories, from the modest stagehand to the high-profile writer, which end up on our screens and in our minds. What better place to tell the one grand Story which explains all of our stories, the story of the good news of the dramatic God who came to Earth to rescue the vulnerable and desperate and bring us into His forever love and goodness?
That’s the big picture of what ministry looks like in Studio City. Our team has lived and ministered here since 2012 and found it to be a wonderful neighborhood with wonderful people, but rocky soil for the story of the good news of Jesus Christ. People in Studio City are passionate, as many creatives often are, and are anything other than an immoral people. They are passionate about justice, equality, women’s rights, care for the most vulnerable of society, and much more. Tragically, we have found time and time again as we share the good news of Jesus here, people see Christianity as a hindrance to those values they hold so dear. They sadly don’t realize that the gospel story actually contains the answers to their longings for justice and truth and equity. This is much of the hard work we have to do to explain the gospel clearly in Studio City.
But in a city where people are often used by others to “get ahead” in their careers in their quest to make it big, there is also rich soil for traditional, thick gospel-community which a church provides. Our ministry is a community centered around the good news of Jesus in both word and deed. We are passionate to make the truth of the gospel known in its fullness, while also seeking justice and serving even those we most disagree with. All the while we stress how we are a people committed to one another as we are committed to the Lord Jesus. This creates both a strong counter-culture to the lonely community we live in and a church that reflects much of the care for justice, equality, and care for the vulnerable which people long for in Studio City.
It is anything other than “easy.” But the Lord Jesus has not called us to seek ministry that is easy. He has called us to seek and save the lost as He did. And in cities like Los Angeles, in neighborhoods like Studio City, the sheer numbers of the lost should compel us to go. And the very Story that make sense of all the stories we tell is the exact thing we are called to make known, and the very thing the people of Studio City need most.