By Michael J. ARVIZU
This summer, Open Bible Church in Tujunga welcomes Washington state native Pastor Ron Storebo as its newest leader, taking the reigns from former Pastor Mike Shaffer. Storebo and wife Jennifer arrived at the church from their hometown of Spokane in June.
Now living in Sun Valley, Storebo and Jennifer are the parents of six children: Jake, 20; Jessica, 16; Colton, 12; Hannah, 10; Cody, 7; and Josh, 6. Storebo and Jennifer bring to Open Bible Church 10 years of experience, most of it as youth ministry pastors tasked with establishing new youth ministries.
Their work as youth pastors has taken them across four states and three Pentecostal/charismatic denominations, including Foursquare, Assembly of God, and now, Open Bible. The Storebos were also responsible for planting two new churches in Seattle and Spokane, respectively, as senior pastors.
“Many times we just sensed the call of God to go somewhere different and start a new work and work with ministry,” said Storebo. “Sometimes it was pastors who would be calling us. It’s just a network of friendships with pastors; you get to know people. I’m friends with pastors across denominational lines.”
Storebo was planting a church in Washington when he received a call from his denominational leader that a pastoral position had become available at Open Bible.
“The one thing that we’re finding in the community is how friendly everybody is,” said Storebo. “No matter who you talk to – in the streets or in Starbucks – people are so friendly here. We love the community.”
This is an exciting time for his church, Storebo said. Attendance is up, and there is excitement within the congregation about the church’s upcoming activities, such as community events that will be designed to “give back to the community,” Storebo said.
“We really want to see the church just interacting with the community and being a part of what’s going on. We’re kind of a church with a heart for the community, as well as a church that’s strong and healthy.”
Events the church plans to hold include a career day when people struggling to find work can seek assistance building a resume, for example. Events like career day, Storeo said, reflect his first duty as a pastor – listening to the needs of his congregation.
“That’s one of the things that we’ve heard recently,” Storebo said of career day. “People need jobs, so we’re trying to meet that need.”
And at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday, Open Bible Church will host a pancake breakfast when Storebo will share with the congregation his direction and vision for the church.
“He’s very friendly, outgoing; he reaches out to everybody,” said church member and Sunday service greeter Javier Pérez of Sunland. “You don’t want to be an isolated pastor where people can’t reach you, people can’t talk to you.”
Open Bible Church member Reuben Plasencia of Tujunga said he will wait and see how effective Storebo is at his new position before passing any judgments on his new pastor.
“I usually give them about a year; then you know their fruits,” Plasencia said. “You have to go by their fruits – he’s probably got about two fruits behind him right now.”
One thing that Storebo has taken away from his decade of working in ministry is being able to see, hear, and experience “all kinds of ideas that people are walking through and all kinds of interesting ways of looking at things within the different cultures,” Storebo said. “You get a chance to see those. You get a chance to be a part of them. You also take away the relationships and the lives you’ve touched and been a part of.”