When Caleb D. Cole and his wife, Chrissy, planted Project Church in Sacramento in 2014, the Assemblies of God congregation immediately began filling with young professionals and creative entrepreneurs from the city’s urban center. Indeed, gatherings at the historic Crest Theater just blocks from the capitol building of the largest state in the union attracted many “de-churched” and unchurched people.
Only a year later, Project Church launched another campus, 4 miles away in West Sacramento, with assistance from the AG’s Church Multiplication Network (CMN). For 6½ years, California native Loren M. Zamora served as campus pastor at the site with his wife, Veronica, a lifelong Sacramento resident.
But then an opportunity arose for Project Church to purchase a property at a reasonable price rather than keep meeting at the leased theater. The 30-year-old structure fit all the church’s needs: 10,000 square feet on each of two levels, ample parking, and retail space that can be rented. A coffee shop is part of the complex.
The church is located in Old Sacramento, which is near the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown Sacramento. Old Sacramento is an historic riverfront district that features cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriage rides, museums, and 125 shops. Many of the buildings date back to the California Gold Rush of 170 years ago.
The church property includes two parking garages, the only site in Old Sacramento with such a luxury.
However, with the new church location being only a little over a mile from the West Sacramento campus, it didn’t make sense to keep both places open. The West Sacramento site closed last year, and the Zamoras became associate pastors at the Old Sacramento facility.
“Loren and Veronica supported the vision of the church, and Chrissy and me as leaders,” says Cole, 40. “They have been a blessing in embracing going from leaders to a supportive role.”
The two couples have a long history in Sacramento. The Zamoras met the Coles while attending Trinity Life Center, where Caleb’s grandfather Glen D. Cole served as pastor after his longtime role at Capital Christian Center. Glen’s son Rick J. Cole — Caleb’s uncle — now is senior pastor of Capital Christian, a megachurch.
Loren and Veronica met at a school affiliated with Trinity — Epic Bible College — where Veronica’s father, Ronald Harden has been the long-serving president. After a yearlong apprenticeship, Loren spent seven years as youth pastor at Trinity.
Both the Zamoras felt called to ministry as teenagers. In addition to their other ministry duties, they now serve as coaches with CMN.
The Project Church staff, as well as the congregants, mirror the overall population of the area. There are several interracial couples, including the Coles (Chrissy is Filipina).
“Project Church values diversity, racially and generationally,” says Loren, 33. “That is reflected on the platform.”
Cole believes the church, which has returned to its pre-COVID average attendance of 500, is poised for growth. Cole is grateful not only for the loyalty of the Zamoras but also their unique abilities.
“Our team has a lot of big vision people, but Loren and Veronica are both highly administrative and systems analytical,” Cole says. “They are practical and get things done. We are supportive of them as they are ready to step out and lead again.”
After 11 years of ministry with Coles, the Zamoras in March resigned his staff position at Project Church. In May, the family will move over 2,800 miles to Tampa, Florida. With CMN’s assistance, Zamora will launch Neighbors Church. Project Church is supportive, paying Zamora’s salary through summer.
The Zamoras have been married 11 years and have four children: Charlotte, 9; Holland, 5; Joanna, 3; and Lincoln, 7 months.