For years, a small group of believers burdened for an independent Baptist church in the Oakland Bay Area prayed for a miracle. Soon, Heritage Baptist Church would be the answer to their prayer and the fulfillment of a dream. Their first church service began January 24, 1999 in the auditorium of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center in Oakland, California. The Lord gave a glorious first day turnout of 232 attendees! That first Sunday gave the church a strong start. For the next year, the church averaged over eighty people on Sunday mornings and thirtyfive in the evenings.
The church has been a miracle work of God since those early days. Its growth and need for larger more functional space led the church to its current location in San Leandro. The relocation to the current site was to be a shared facility with another smaller congregation. Amazingly, the owners of the property felt a camaraderie with the mission and the continued growth needs of Heritage Baptist. Within six months of the relocation the owners asked if Heritage Baptist Church would like to purchase the property.
At that time the church averaged around 180 on Sunday mornings and had about forty core givers. Pastor Fong recounts, “Being Baptist and broke we told the owners ‘of course, yes!’”
A ninety day close of escrow extended into 180 days with the members putting up personal savings through a church bond finance program for the first mortgage in the amount of $1.1M and the sellers carrying a second mortgage for $1.2M. In February of 2003, Heritage Baptist Church officially became deed holders of this three acre property and 24,000 square feet of building space!
When the church started, Alan Fong was one of its key founding members. Serving in multiple capacities of the church, Brother Fong was prepared by the Lord to eventually be called as its senior pastor in November of 2004. With a great desire to see the Bay Area reached for the Lord, the church continues to make strong incremental growth and progress in all areas.
The church has a strong emphasis on expository preaching and soulwinning. Close to 100 people are currently enrolled in their discipleship program. They have extension ministries on two college campuses and in two neighboring cities. Their bus and van ministry reaches children from across the community. They also have services in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The church is strongly touching lives and making a difference with the light of the gospel.
Pastor Fong has been used of God to help extend the church influence with a current Faith Promise amount of $400,000 for foreign missions. In addition, through the start of Spiritual Asian Leadership Training (SALT) men have been called to preach and many pastors have been helped through Bible and pastoral theology training. SALT began in 2012 as a training ministry to restricted access countries of Asia.
Another recent miracle of God was the raising of $2M and the construction of a 10,000 square foot combined fellowship hall and gymnasium that has been designated as the Heritage Center. This new building has been a blessing as it has served the multiple needs of the church for preaching services, special meals, and sports events. The church is in the process of raising funds for its second building phase which calls for a 13,000 square foot two-story building that is designated for classroom space for Sunday school, Bible study, and new ministry expansion.
The church is situated in an ethnically diverse area of the country that is becoming home to immigrants from Asia and Latin American countries. Religious diversity abounds in this area with many Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, and “none’s” (those who tend towards Atheism and do not identify with any religious belief). Pastor Fong has a vision to see churches and extension ministries established throughout the Bay Area doing the same thing as is being done in San Leandro. God is using Heritage Baptist Church to shine the light brightly and systematically reach and retain the people of this area.
Heritage Baptist Church is the Lord’s church! When you attend one of its services, you will experience an extraordinary friendly church, dynamic services, inspiring conservative music, preaching that reaches into the depths of the heart, and a pastor and people that love you. The best days are still ahead for Heritage Baptist Church and the people that make up the greater San Francisco Bay Area.