Skyline Church is an evangelical Christian megachurch located in La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego, affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination. The church currently averages 2,500 in attendance per week.[citation needed]

Skyline Church
Skyline Wesleyan Church
32°44′34″N 116°57′09″W / 32.74278°N 116.95250°W / 32.74278; -116.95250Coordinates: 32°44′34″N 116°57′09″W / 32.74278°N 116.95250°W / 32.74278; -116.95250
Location11330 Campo Road
La Mesa, California 91941
CountryUnited States
DenominationWesleyan Church
Founder(s)Pastor Orval Butcher
Senior pastor(s)Dr.Jeremy McGarity[1]
On the hill across from the church, slightly higher in elevation.


In 1954, Orval Butcher founded Skyline Wesleyan Church in Lemon Grove, California and served as senior pastor for 27 years. In 1974, because the church had outgrown its original 350-seat sanctuary, a 1,000-seat auditorium was completed. Weekly attendance had grown to about 1,100 when he retired in 1981.[2]

In 1981, John C. Maxwell succeeded Butcher as the church's second senior pastor. Under Maxwell's leadership, Skyline nearly tripled its average attendance, from 1,100 to 3,000. In 1995, Maxwell stepped down to focus on his international ministry, Injoy, which provides leadership tools and materials to pastors and lay leaders. Maxwell went on to success as an author and "leadership guru."

Jim Garlow became Skyline's third pastor in 1995.[3] Garlow is often cited as an evangelical leader in the political arena, quoted on issues such as the 2012 Republican presidential primary.[4][5] In 2008, Garlow and the church were noted for their leading role in organizing conservative religious groups to support California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Obergfell v. Hodges .[6][7] He is a leader in the "pulpit freedom" movement, which insists that pastors should be free to carry out political advocacy from the pulpit, which currently is in defiance of federal law and Internal Revenue Service regulations for "double tax-exempt organizations", that is organizations such as churches which not only operate tax-free but which also receive contributions which are deductible from the donor's federal income tax.[8]

In 2000, the church moved to a new facility in La Mesa. (Although the church's address is in La Mesa, it is often described as being in adjacent Rancho San Diego, California[9]). The move was plagued by difficulties,[10] resulting in nearly $27 million being spent preparing the site infrastructure for a building that should have cost only $6 million.[11] Up until 2012, Skyline had one three-story building, called the "Family Center," which was Phase I of the church's master plan. Four weekend services were held in a 1,000-seat auditorium in the Family Center. Ground was broken in November 2010 for a worship center to include a 2,500-seat auditorium, a multipurpose room/gymnasium, a 200-seat traditional chapel, and a café.[12] The new 60,000 square foot sanctuary opened in March 2012.[13]

References and notesEdit

  1. ^ Stone, Ken. "Jim Garlow Quitting Skyline Megachurch, Moving to Washington Ministry". Times of San Diego. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  2. ^ Gonzalez, Blanca (October 22, 2010). "Orval Butcher, founding pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church, dies at 92". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "Skyline Wesleyan has new pastor, charged with building new church", San Diego Union-Tribune, September 29, 1995
  4. ^ "Updated: Evangelicals' backing gives Santorum major boost", CNN, January 26, 2012
  5. ^ "Conservative activists scramble to stop Mitt Romney", Washington Post, January 10, 2012
  6. ^ Stephanie Strom, "The Political Pulpit", The New York Times, September 30, 2011.
  7. ^ Jessica Garrison, "Pastor rallies clergy against gay marriage", Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2008.
  8. ^ "Clergy warned about ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’" Archived 2011-11-05 at the Wayback Machine, Iowa Independent, September 30, 2011
  9. ^ "Church's future is set in stone | Rancho S.D.'s Skyline Wesleyan has prevailed over grumbling -- and granite", San Diego Union Tribune, November 28, 2001
  10. ^ "Proposal for church downsized | County OKs revised plan for Rancho San Diego site", San Diego Union-Tribune, August 22, 1996
  11. ^ "Heaven, earth moved to get church built", The Post and Courier, December 24, 2000.
  12. ^ Construction begins on Skyline Church worship center, East County Magazine, December 13, 2010
  13. ^ "Megachurch Holds First Service In New Sanctuary", San Diego 10 News, March 4, 2012

External linksEdit