About Us

The Mission

We start and strengthen churches in Southern California

The Vision

To see 100 healthy planters leading 100 new, multiethnic, gospel-centered churches reaching the last, the lost, and the least in Southern California by 2026.

What We Do

We develop leaders
We start and revitalize churches
We strengthen Gospel movements

Our Staff


Executive Director
Over the course of his career, Larry Acosta founded the Hispanic Ministry Center, Urban YouthWorkers Institute (UYWI) and KIDWORKS, a community development corporation that reaches and educates at-risk youth in Central Santa Ana, which he co-founded with his wife Jayme.  Under Larry’s leadership, UYWI grew from a local, Southern California ministry, to a national urban leadership development organization- training next gen. ethnic pastors and leaders in over 32 cities across the U.S. Larry is currently the Executive Director and Lead Catalyst for City to City Los Angeles. His vision is to see 100 multiethnic, Gospel centered churches planted or re-planted throughout Southern California by 2026. After graduating from Biola University and Talbot School of Theology, Larry completed his doctorate in Leadership Development at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also serves on the boards of Kingdomworks SDG and Azusa Pacific University. Larry is married to his lovely wife Jayme of 31 years, and they have four young adult children that they are crazy about...most days- Brock, Karis, Malia and Diego.

Paul Kim

Director of Coaching

Rev. Rudy Paniagua

Director of CTCLA Español
Paul has been a pastor for over 26 years in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and is presently helping to plant Providence Church in the San Fernando Valley. He has a passion to help people be transformed by the gospel and is a pastor to pastors. He was ordained in the PCA, received various degrees from Biblical Seminary and Westminster Seminary (both in the Philly area), and is a certified coach with Creative Results Management.

Paul has been happily married to Janette for 21 years, and enjoys spending time with his four boys, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, exploring restaurants, and staying fit.

Rudy received his Ordination from the Assemblies of God.  He graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary with an MA in Theology and Ministry.  Pastor Rudy continues to embrace education, as he believes it is a key component to success in ministry.
Once a bi-vocational church planter, Pastor Rudy understands firsthand the unique challenges that are faced by this type of ministry, which many young adult church planters are encountering today.  He is passionate about making the bible comprehensible, which allows him to guide leaders on their journey toward their God-given goals. God has blessed Pastor Rudy with his beautiful wife, Tanya, four amazing children, a lovely daughter-in-love, and two precious grandkids, Julia Rose, and Elijah Rey. They reside in Irvine, CA.

Pastor Enrique Melendez

Director of Training
Enrique has a passion for the urban poor and helping people get connected to Jesus.  With God's grace & help he planted and currently pastors Hope Community Church in East LA and serves as the Director of Training with City to City LA.  Enrique received his MA in Social and Civic Entrepreneurship and is a life-long learner. He and his wife Jennica have been married for 16 years and have three children. In his spare time, he loves a good meal, a good game of basketball, and a good book.

Pastor Sean Fenner

Long Beach Regional Director
Sean and his wife Sarah have two boys, and have been serving at Light and Life Christian Fellowship Church in Long Beach since 2012, where now Pastor Sean is Co-Lead Pastor. One of his main passions is to train, guide, and raise up church planters to reach urban city centers in Southern California. Through his strategic leadership and partnership, Long Beach has become a hub for networking and gathering for CTCLA.

Pastor Lance Penland

Inland Empire Regional Director
Lance is the founder and senior Pastor of Character Church in Riverside California. With over 10 years of ministry and five years in the Pastorate; he shares candidly about the challenges the local church faces and provides spiritual solution driven responses to the matter of social inequities and political injustice with cultural sensitivity. His source of inspiration comes from his faith, his wife Ashlynn, and their two sons.

Pastor Christian Castro

San Diego Regional Director
Christian Castro is the Lead Pastor of Rolando Church in the Community Church Movement. He has been involved in church planting for decades - having planted churches in the Midwest and on the East coast, before getting the call to come to San Diego. Christian is also a leader in the San Diego Church Planting Movement and is the San Diego Regional Director for City to City. He has been married to Liz for 23 years and together they have three teenage boys.

Pastor Daniel Jansson

Mission Catalyst
DJ and his wife Crista are southeast LA natives. They got married in 2008 and planted Imago Dei in 2015. Together they have five awesome kids. DJ loves Jesus and is passionate about preaching the Bible, planting churches, and raising up leaders who will help make Jesus known!

Pastor Marcos Quiñonez

Tijuana Regional Director
Marcos Quiñonez was raised in El Paso, TX, and has been involved in ministry for 20 years. Marcos's passion has been serving others, from leading college ministry to church planting. You can find him training and coaching other leaders and pastors in ways to do ministry in a healthier way. Marcos is married to Laura, and both share a love for the church and ministry. Additionally, Marcos is a foodie, and enjoys trying new foods everywhere he goes or cooking a variety of foods at home.

Melodie Bendana

Executive Assistant/ Social Media Director
Melodie was born and raised in a ministry family and values education and ministry. After receiving her B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and her  M.A. in English, Melodie has been focused on church planting ministry with CTCLA and leading at her home church, LLCF. Melodie and her husband Josue live in Long Beach with their plants and hope to continue using their gifts to serve the Church and share the Gospel! 

Sarai Villegas

CTCLA Español Executive Assistant
Sarai Villegas is a dedicated wife, mother, and devout Christian. Born and raised in Orange County, she has been happily married for 12 years and is blessed with four children: three boys and one girl. Sarai and her husband are actively involved in their local church, where they play a crucial role in developing leaders and disciples, contributing to the growth and spiritual development of their community.