top of page

Church Check: North Coast Church in California

Updated: May 31, 2020

Basic Church Information

The Questionnaire

Did the church answer the questionnaire?


1. What is your church's official position on tithing?

North Coast doesn’t provide this information on their website as far as I can tell. They don’t mention it in their statement of faith, on their Donate Page, or anywhere else, but we do see in the notes of one particular sermon on the Widow’s Offering that they may in fact preach tithing. Just not as openly or clearly as many other churches.

Here are some statements we read in the sermon notes that suggest they do in fact preach tithing:

“Money is an instrument of worship”

“Giving is worship and obedience”

“Money is our primary value indicator”

“This weekend we heard it’s not about what God wants FROM us, but rather what He wants FOR us. So where do you start? Proverbs 3:9-10 is explains “giving off the top” which is both an act of thanking God for his current provision AND a way of trusting Him for future provision. When it comes to giving, we’re all at different places. Here are some steps to help you start and continue to move forward:

Go from nothing to something, …

from something to systematic, …

from systematic to tithing, …

from tithing to sacrifice.”

While there are also some statements in these sermon notes that suggest they DON’T serve money, such as their list of “six wrong attitudes regarding giving,” it seems odd to me that they would confirm that “giving is for the church” is in fact a wrong attitude to have regarding giving, and then at the very bottom contradict that by encouraging tithing and systematic giving to the church.

Until we can speak to someone from the church directly, I think our understanding of this church’s position on tithing will continue to be unclear. We’ll just have to find a church checker in California to do some in-person investigations!

2. Does your church have an official membership with a membership agreement or contract?

We see no signs of official membership at this church on the website, although it’s still possible that they do have one. The reason I find this to be unlikely is because of how well-organized the website is in general. Typically churches this organized on their website will provide every piece of information a potential churchgoer could want. We don’t see any kind of membership information, so we assume they don’t have one.

On the other hand, they stonewalled our Questionnaire, and all other attempts we’ve made to find out this information have been ignored entirely. It’s quite possible that this church does have official memberships. We’ll just have to do more digging to find out for sure.

3. Is your church transparent with its financial information? How much does your church bring in through donations and tithing, plus additional income, and how is that money distributed?

I’ve emailed the Contributions team at North Coast to see if they’ll answer this question, but so far we’ve gotten no answer on this. We do know that if you’ve contributed to North Coast Church, you can register an account on their website to see a contribution statement, but that’s nowhere in the way of financial transparency, so for the time being, we’ll have to assume the answer to this is ‘no.’

4. Which denomination does your church align with the most, if any?

Google doesn’t list North Coast as a non-denominational Christian church, nor does Facebook, but their website doesn’t list any denominational affiliations. On their Who We Are page, they simply state that:

“We are a Bible-teaching church and would love to help you grow.”

For now, we will have to assume they are non-denominational.

5. Is your church's pastor available for other questions or comments regarding the church, its doctrines, etc.?

North Coast has a few teaching pastors that alternate teaching all six campus locations, but none of them provide their email address or any real contact information on the church’s website. They provide their websites, their Twitter pages, and one teaching pastor (Larry Osborne) does provide his Facebook Page, but whether or not he actually responds to PM inquiries has yet to be seen.

We do know that you’re supposed to be able to contact this church through their website, but so far, none of our questions have been answered, so we’d have to say ‘no’ to this question as well.

6. How is your church's doctrinal flexibility and tolerance regarding minor, non-essential doctrines? If a member has a disagreement with the pastor or leadership on a certain doctrine, how is it handled?

While according to this church’s statement of faith, they don’t appear to be particularly dogmatic on any non-essential doctrinal positions, we don’t know how this kind of situation would be handled in this church. More digging will be necessary to find this one out.

7. Does your church require that its members be baptized? What is your church's official position on baptism?

By going to the New Believer Info page on the church’s website, you can find what appears to be their official position on baptism:

“Baptism is an important step as you follow Jesus. It’s an outward symbol of the work that God has done in your life. Baptism events are offered at each campus. We look forward to celebrating with you!”

It doesn’t appear that they require baptism for membership if they even have a membership at all.

8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like in your church.

Go to the What To Expect page on this church’s website and we find everything you could possibly need to know about a typical service at North Coast Church. Here’s a summary:

“All of our worship services have a casual and informal atmosphere. The worship and music style varies depending upon the campus and the venue you choose.

Worship at all of our campuses is upbeat and contemporary, led by a worship band.

The Vista campus also offers a wide variety of music styles from rock and roll, to country, to traditional hymns, gospel, and more, all depending on the venue you choose.

All campuses and venues share in the same weekend sermon delivered by either Larry Osborne or Chris Brown. The message is broadcast on a huge video screen (think movie theatre) or in-person in the LIVE venue on the Vista Campus Saturday night and three times Sunday morning.”

Sermons are topical.

9. How many people do you have on staff at your church, both paid and volunteer?

While the website does provide a full staff directory, this doesn’t tell us how many of these people are paid and who are volunteers. There could be hundreds or even thousands more who volunteer but aren’t listed in this directory.

10. What is the pastor's educational history?

You can read a mini-bio of each teaching pastor at North Coast Church on their Teaching Pastors page.

Pastor Chris Brown graduated from Azusa Pacific University and pastor Larry Osborne holds a Master of Divinity and a Doctorate from Talbot Theological Seminary.

11. How does the church discipline its members with their sin?

Another piece of information we’ll have to dig much further to find. There’s nothing on the website that we can see that answers this question.

12. How is the pastor compensated (income, benefits, bonuses, etc.)?

When we emailed the Contribution Team at North Church, we asked this question. We haven’t received a response, but we’ll update this post if we ever do.

13. What is the size of your church and any other space the church owns for meetings and church services?

The total regular attendance of this church is in the tens of thousands and their Facebook Page has over 13,000 likes and follows. They have six campus locations, but how many total buildings and spaces this church owns for meetings and church services is unknown.

They mention several times throughout the website that they offer so many different worship styles within a single campus as well as a “bustling Plaza”, that we’d have to get someone at the church to actually tell us the exact number.


bottom of page