Canyon Hills was born out of a concern for families in the developing communities of East Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills. For years, Rose Drive Friends Church of West Yorba Linda sought a facility and pastoral leadership for a new church in the Santa Ana Canyon.
In September of 1989, C.W. Perry, Senior Pastor of Rose Drive Friends Church, asked Larry & Shirley Mendenhall to plant a new church in the canyon community. Nine months later, following the raising of funds, the development of a Core Team of leaders from Rose Drive and the design and construction of a facility, Canyon Hills was born on June 3, 1990.
Since that day, the church family of Canyon Hills has steadily grown. In 2002, still meeting in its original leased facility on La Palma Avenue, Canyon Hills initiated a capital campaign called “God’s Challenge — Our Choice” to raise funds for a permanent facility for its growing church family. In 2003, Canyon Hills purchased the property on Fairmont Connector and soon after began the construction of an 18,000 square foot facility. On April 3, 2005, Canyon Hills had its first service in its new facility and in the weeks following experienced 60% growth as great numbers of people came to see the church they had watched being built in their community.
In the fall of 2005, Canyon Hills launched a second capital campaign called “Phase NEXT”. That campaign was focused on extending our embrace to more people both locally and globally. Due to heading into a fairly sudden and long-term recession, that campaign did not reach its goals. However, the funds given were disbursed to help churches we had planted make transitions toward greater health, and to complete outstanding items in our facility that we were not able to complete during construction, and to complete one phase of the Master Plan for our facility – the courtyard area – which included the baptismal. Following that campaign was a challenge to get “Beyond Ourselves” – once again – locally and globally. That challenge focused on planting another church in Clovis, CA called “Valley Friends” and building the final phase of our Master Plan – an open air Sports Center, a Guest Central Hospitality Center and an expanded Playground Area – to better host and build relationships with children, students and adults in our surrounding community. Construction for the final part of our Master Plan called – The Park – is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2015.
Over the span of 25 years, Canyon Hills has had 59 different staff members all using their gifts to serve the Lord. For 53 of those staff members it was their first ministry experience. For some, it was a switch from a secular vocation to a Christian vocation. 20 were released into full-time ministry, 28 into part-time ministry and 5 into church planting ministry. 29 of the 53 staff members – or 55% – are still involved in a Christian ministry vocation. Therefore, one part of our vision of being a Leadership Factory has been accomplished through giving those called to ministry both opportunity and training.
Beyond this community, Canyon Hills has endeavored to reach people in other communities and countries. Canyon Hills has planted (5) churches since its beginning. The first in Corona, CA, the second in the Philippines, the third in Norco, CA, the fourth in Juarez, Mexico and the fifth was just planted this May in Clovis, CA. Beyond these plants, Canyon Hills has also participated in financially supporting other EFC-SW plants over the years.
As Canyon Hills celebrates its 25th Anniversary, it continues to be committed to its mission of “making more and better disciples of Jesus Christ” in this canyon and in other cities and countries. May God continue to use Canyon Hills for the purpose of expanding His church.