Downey church renting movie theater to celebrate anniversary

DOWNEY − Seven years a church may not seem like a reason to celebrate, but for Praise Chapel Downey the upcoming anniversary is much more than a number. Since its initial service on June 3, 2007, Praise Chapel Downey has had its share of setbacks, but Pastor Jason Neville says the best is yet to come for the 200-member congregation.

“In the business world, they say if it makes it to five years then it’s a success,” Neville said. “We’ve weathered some storms, but I really believe we’re about to step into a new season.”

Neville, and his wife of 17 years, Jackie, started Praise Chapel Downey as a church plant from Praise Chapel Huntington Park, where the couple served as youth pastors for nine years.

Jason’s parents, Mike and Donna Neville, founded Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship nearly 40 years ago in Maywood, California. Since then, the fellowship has grown to more than 1,000 churches worldwide.

Growing up in the shadow of his parents, Jason eventually adopted his own way of communicating his relationship with God -- gospel rap. Over the next 20 years, Neville, known in the music community as rapper Fros’T, would use his hip-hop music to evangelize in venues around the world.

“This is my life -- I was never on drugs, drinking or smoking, but I was still a sinner that needed Jesus,” he said. “As a teenager I found Jesus and I preached my first sermon at 16 years old.”

Seven years ago, Neville traded in his music career for a senior pastor’s desk, but the father of three is no less busy today. Neville continues to travel, speaking at conferences around the country.

Since its first gatherings at the Los Amigos Country Club in 2007, Praise Chapel Downey has held services at the West Downey Plaza, and most recently, rented space from Desert Reign Church on Lakewood Boulevard.

In January, the church began meeting at the Barbara J. Riley Community Center for Sunday services at 10 a.m. and the Lord’s Grace Church for mid-week services at 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

This Sunday, however, the church is taking its 10 a.m. service to the movies as the congregation will celebrate its seven-year anniversary at Krikorian Theatres in Downtown Downey.

“We’re going to have a red carpet like at a movie premiere,” said Neville, who joked there would be ample time for selfies. “There will be a special video to take us down memory lane -- and every anniversary we honor those who have been at the church for five years.

“We’re just looking for a time of celebration...I’m believing God for even greater things over the next seven years.”

For more information on Praise Chapel Downey, visit or call (562)254-5498.



Published: June 26, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 11