Until Woodland Loves Jesus

Pastors on mission to see more gospel-centered churches planted in their city

Cody Cannon and Daniel Orozco were both youth pastors when they met at Bible college in 2007. They soon became partners in ministry, taking turns speaking at each other’s youth group events and hosting joint worship nights together.

Fast forward 15 years, and the two pastors continue to serve side by side in ministry. Cody is lead pastor and Daniel is associate pastor at Life Pointe Church in Woodland, Calif. They recently sat down with Transform to talk about their brand-new church plant and their heart to see more churches faithfully preaching and living out the gospel in their city.

How has God blessed Life Pointe Church?

CODY: Our church will turn 150 years old in a couple years. While there have been church splits and unfortunate events in its past, recently a lot of people have been baptized and discipled. Nobody gets credit for that except the Lord.

DANIEL: It’s been cool to see how God has been entrusting us with all kinds of people. We have college students, young families, older people, people who’ve experienced hard times – all growing in their faith.

Why did Life Pointe decide to plant another church in Woodland?

CODY: On a practical level, our church was growing. We already had two services in the morning and one in the evening. Our elders began to ask the question, “What should we do about growth in the future?” Planting a church was one option of several written on a whiteboard. But it’s the one that we felt would impact our community the most.

DANIEL: Our motto is “Until Woodland loves Jesus.”

CODY: I was born and raised in Woodland and I love this place. My heart to see Woodland love Jesus drives a lot of my passion for ministry. And yet a very small percentage of people here attend church on Sundays.

DANIEL: It just made sense to us that Woodland needs more gospel-centered churches.

Why did you plant a church so close to your current campus?

CODY: We are on the west side of Woodland, and the church plant is located two miles away on the east side. Planting locally wasn’t a simple decision and it probably isn’t right for everybody. But when a school became available it was really an opportunity for stewardship.

DANIEL: It helped that a church planting network came and saw the vision for it and gave us their support.

What are the unique challenges on the east side of Woodland?

CODY: When I grew up here, it felt like a small community where most people stayed and didn’t move away. But now housing complexes are going up on the east side of Woodland and are becoming commuter homes for people in the Bay Area. Church planting is an important way for us to reach out to this new suburban culture.

DANIEL: There is a god of busyness present in Woodland. Many people are just apathetic to the gospel and to their need.

What does it really mean to plant a gospel-centered church?

DANIEL: We want to be active in seeing more people transformed by the gospel of Jesus. While it’s easy to say that, there can quickly be a disconnect between saying it and actually having it impact everything we do.

CODY: Gospel-centered means more than believing correct doctrine. It has to be lived out among the people themselves. The gospel should bleed out into the culture of the actual people in the actual church. Action is part of our mission.

What are some practical implications of the gospel being lived out?

CODY: At Eastside, one of our values is not having a “behind the curtain” culture. We aren’t going to be one way with some people, and a different way with another group. We value transparency and sincerity. In whatever state you are in at the moment, you can experience grace. And there has to be that sense of grace among the people. There are no outsiders here.

You are launching the church plant with a shared preaching model. How will that work?

DANIEL: It’s going to be a little different in that we are going to take turns preaching at each location.

CODY: Right now, we have two locations with one group of elders and rotating preaching. It isn’t our long-term model. Our intention is to eventually have a lead pastor and a separate group of elders at Eastside. In the meantime, we want to help set up a gospel culture that’s ready for that person.

How has Western prepared you for ministry in Woodland?

DANIEL: There hasn’t been a class or professor who hasn’t taken what we are learning and applied it to people. This has been life-changing. I am so thankful for Western’s focus on ministry.

CODY: The classes were amazing in that every single professor talked about their own role in the local church. They themselves were elders, or on the preaching team, or leading small groups. It didn’t matter what topic it was, professors were always applying it to the local church. My love for the church increased, and that should be the right effect of any seminary.

Cody CannonCody is the lead pastor at Life Pointe Church in Woodland, Calif. He graduated with a MA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western and is currently enrolled in Western’s Doctor of Ministry program. He and his wife Jamie have three daughters: Emissary, Mercy, and Jubiliee.

Daniel Orozco Daniel is associate pastor at Life Pointe Church. He is a student at Western working on his MA in Biblical and Theological Studies and participated in the Theophilus Cohort. He and his wife Amanda have three daughters: Melody, Mia, and Moriah.