To the Rev. Dr. Hosea Collins, the definition of ministry is simple. He says, “Ministry isn’t ministry if it isn’t serving the needs of people.” Guided by that philosophy, Collins and the congregation of Calvary Baptist Church in Hawthorne have established an array of outreach services to assist local community members – both physically and spiritually. The services include resources to aid unhoused people, counseling for those experiencing trauma, and online worship to uplift the soul.
“Ministry is about providing a place where no matter how jacked up your life is, you can be educated, you can get training, you can grow, and you can get rehabilitation,” insists Pastor Collins.
“What I’m talking about is meeting people right where they are in order to not leave them as they were. I envision ministry where there’s no stone unturned, regardless of where they are. We’re coming to meet them right there and not wait on them to come here!”
Collins enthusiastic approach to ministry is contagious and inspiring to his multicultural members. Historically, Calvary Baptist had White congregants, but as the neighborhood became more diverse, so did the parishioners. Today, the fellowship is comprised of Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and other ethnicities coming together to praise the Lord.
The pastor’s optimistic outlook about ministry at Calvary is indicative of his deep faith and strong relationship with Christ. A life-long child of God, Collins was raised in the church and accepted his call to preach in 2001.
“I pastored my first church, New Hope Baptist in Coushatta, Louisiana, in 2002 and for five years, God allowed me to minister to His people. I was only 26 years old and worked in the school system as my day job, so I had a good contact with the young people,” recalls Collins.
“We were able to accomplish a lot of great things. We paid off the church, burned the mortgage, remodeled the building and upgraded the sound system. Also, we bought two 15-passenger vans, so it was a good five years.”
But, after his close cousin – who had survived two miliary tours in Afghanistan – was killed in Los Angeles in a drive-by shooting near Florence Avenue and 5th Avenue, Collins heard the Holy Spirit directing him to relocate to L.A. and minister in that city. He arrived alone in 2007 as he describes, “on a wing and a prayer.”
Soon, he landed a job as a truck driver and returned to Louisiana to bring his wife and three children to Los Angeles. As for his next step, Collins says, “I just started trying to do what God called me to do.”
He began by holding Bible Study in his home, which grew so large that he launched House of Truth Ministries on Manchester Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue in South L.A. At the same time, Collins’ also visited several churches because he “firmly believed that every pastor needs a pastor.”
The quest took him to the City of Refuge led by Bishop Noel Jones and Collins and his family became members. For the next few years, he donated his time and talents to various ministries, which resulted in Collins eventually being appointed as the director of the Young Adult Ministry.
Responding to the urge to grow more in Christ, Pastor Collins also enrolled in the Bible Believers Christian College and Seminary, which held classes at Calvary Baptist. While working towards his doctorate degree, the college president, Dr. Vera Milton, shared that Calvary was seeking a pastor.
“She told me that this church was currently open to interviewing nonwhite pastors because it was traditionally an all-White Southern Baptist Church established in 1948, but now the neighborhood has changed,” Collins says.
“I submitted my resume, did a couple of interviews and they hired me as the pastor. There were about 20 and 30 members left, but it was very diverse – White, Black, Asian and Hispanic couples,” he remembers.
“That was six years ago, and God has blessed us and we’ve been able to do a lot. We have grown with now over 500 on the rolls. We’ve remodeled and upgraded. Also, we do a lot of community work that focuses on the youth and we ‘ve been able to make a great impact in the city of Hawthorne.”
Encouraging believers and nonbelievers alike to join him in ministry, Pastor Collins says, “Everybody can come see me at Cavalry Baptist Church, 4081 West El Segundo Boulevard in the city of Hawthorne, California. We have services every Sunday morning at 8 a.m., and 10 a.m., and every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. If you can’t get here, we are also on Facebook and YouTube Live!”
To learn more, visit cbchawthorne.org or call (310) 679-1723