Brenda QIt’s my pleasure to introduce Brenda Quiroga to the Clarity Hollywood Initial Launch Team.  Ashley and I have had the privilege of knowing Brenda while she was a student in our youth group when we were youth pastoring in Los Angeles.  We have been blessed to  be apart of her life and watch her grow in so many ways

Brenda felt the tug on her heart to pursue full time ministry so she attended TCMI for a year and worked as my administrative assistant and lead youth worker.  Upon completing TCMI, Brenda went to Bakersfield where she joined Pastor Chris Ferguson and his initial church plant team for New Wine.  Brenda served at New Wine for two years  as their secretary and assistant to Pastor Chris.  She also served in various ministerial positions while at New Wine.

Brenda is in the process of getting her credentials with the Southern California Assemblies of God and has a heart for people and for missions.  Her experience with church planting will add tremendously to our team and we know that God has ordered her steps.

We’re excited about Brenda joining our team and I would ask that you pray for her as she makes this transition.




Hollywood ClarityWow!  All I can say is that God is so faithful.  Why do I say that?  I’m glad that you asked.  It’s because we have people like yourselves who have committed to pray for the Bello family and Clarity Hollywood.  We understand that a strong prayer base is what’s going to make the difference in this church plant.

We have great and exciting news that we want to share with you as our prayer partners.  Clarity Hollywood had an outside supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, pay three months on the lease for the building that we’re going to be launching our church out of.  This outside supporter wanted to ensure that the owners of the building didn’t lease it out to another group before we were able to launch.  This means that we have a building until the end of April.

We’re going to be launching the church out of the Oasis which is located on Ivar Street one block away from the busy intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.  We couldn’t have asked for a better location to launch a church.  The directors of the Oasis have agreed to lease us the building, in order hold the facility, at a reduced rate since we will not be launching until late 2013 or the beginning of 2014.  They have also agreed to allow me to use the facility for work space, hold meetings, and when ready, have our missional community meet there.  This is amazing news!

So how can you continue to pray for us?  Again, I’m glad that you asked!

Pray that the Lord would surround us with a strong financial support base to be able to build and sustain the work in Hollywood.

Pray that we would be able to pay the monthly lease on the building to hold our prime location after April.

Pray that the Lord would bring the right people to be apart of our initial launch team.  We’re asking that He would bring 25-30 people to be apart of Clarity Hollywood’s initial launch team.

Pray for the Bello family, our marriage, and our two beautiful daughters, Brooklyn and  Talia.

The Bello’s family thanks you for believing in us and for joining us on this journey through your prayers.  We consider you apart of our team.

Alberto and Ashley Bello

Chris and TaylorI am thrilled to announce that we have welcomed a new team member to the Clarity Hollywood Initial Launch Team.  Ashley and I are more than excited to be working with Chris Bradley.  All I can say is that it was a total God moment as to how we reconnected and it’s exciting.

Chris had just recently left the Music Institute in Hollywood  and was in pursuit of what God had for his life.  Through a series of events, Chris was thinking about moving out of Hollywood and it just so happened that he read a post of mine on Facebook about Hollywood that caught his attention.  One thing led to the next and we went from drinking coffee at Starbucks on Hollywood and Vine, to him getting involved with the team at Clarity Santa Monica, and  we finally had a conversation about him joining our team.

Chris is extremely gifted in the area of music and sound and that’s exactly what he’ll be helping out with as well as serving alongside the vision.  Chris currently lives in Hollywood and works in the film industry doing extra work.  He has a beautiful baby girl named Taylor Ann who is 17 months.  Chris is rightly positioned to be able to impact the industry for the Kingdom of God.

Would you please join us in praying for Chris and for the future team that God is strategically putting together.  Who knows, you might be next…lol!

keep it burning…

Never Say Never

Posted: December 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

wewehn07nn1p8c6t3nn0Have you ever had those moments in life in where you said that you would never do something only to later find yourself doing the very thing that you said that you would never do? For instance, I said that I would never marry a Cuban and so did my wife and look at us now. We are two Cubans married with two Cuban babies. I also said that I would never live in Bakersfield and that’s where we have lived for the past two years doing ministry. I had someone tell me once that I should say that I’ll never go to Hawaii so I did and a few months later I won a free vacation for my wife and I to Hawaii. The Lord has a great sense of humor.

One thing that I thought was always going to be an absolute in my life was youth ministry. I remember telling people that I would never leave youth ministry, as so do many youth pastors, and I also said that I would never be a senior pastor. You’re probably thinking to yourself, does this guy ever learn? The answer to that is “I guess not”. For the last several months God has really been dealing with Ashley and I in a crazy way. We started to feel a shift within us and we couldn’t quite put our finger on it. All of this happened when I was approached about the possibility of church planting. When we were first approached we thought that there was no way that this was for us and left it at that, but as time passed, we couldn’t stop thinking about it. Through the course of several different events, Ashley and I have felt the tug from God to step out of youth ministry and into the unknown of becoming church planters in Los Angeles. We love the city and more so than that we love LA and the lost!

We have resigned from Bakersfield First Assembly as the Student Ministry Pastors and as the Director of Elevate School of Ministry to pursue church planting in LA. We are coming on staff at Clarity Church in Santa Monica under the leadership of Nathan and Jessica Kollar to learn about church planting for the next year. After that first year we will be launched to plant a Clarity Church in the heart of Hollywood.We are leaving it all and the comfort of what we have known to become missionaries to the city.

The Bello’s are going to miss our church family, our youth and young adults, our Elevate students, our leadership team, and our pastoral team who is like family. At the same time we are extremely excited and a tad bit scared…ok so I lied, we’re totally freaking out but in a good way. We have such a heart for Los Angeles and the culture especially with my wife being in the makeup industry and myself who came from the fashion industry. We really feel like we can plant a missional church through the guiding hand of the Lord in Hollywood.

We ask that you please pray for us and after that we would ask that you would pray for us again…lol! We will spend the next year pastoring, training, speaking, and raising financial support.

We want to thank you for believing in us and for being apart of our lives.

keep it burning…

How We Do Outreach at Ignite

Posted: November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

We totally believe in Outreach at Ignite Student Ministries and because of that we came up with a game plan to reach more students for Jesus.

If you’re a youth pastor or a youth worker you know that you can’t reach students as well as your students can, therefore it’s our job to empower them to do so and because of this we developed what we call “The Andrew Project”.

The Andrew Project is based on Andrew who brought His brother Peter to Jesus and when translated in the original language it literally means that Andrew carried Peter to Jesus. What a great concept and illustration of the passion that Andrew had towards bringing his brother to Jesus. With this we didn’t want to simply create an “invite night” but rather a “bring your friend night”.

So what do we do?

1. Every 6 weeks we do and Andrew Project night during a Wednesday night gathering and we literally pump this night up BIG time with promotion.

2. Our creative team develops a theme or concept that would make this night different from all of the other night’s. You don’t need a creative team to do this if you don’t have one-you and a leader are you’re creative team. To get ideas it’s best to see what season your students are in. For example, football season, winter formal, prom, etc and then you can come up with some really cool themes.

3. We make sure that we develop a time of community after our gathering in order to be able to connect with new students

4. We create an incentive for our church kids to bring the most amount of first time guests as possible (right now some of you would say that the joy of mere salvation for a lost friend should be enough incentive and that’s where I would say “get real”! This is true but it’s an extra boost to get students to move into action)

4. We are super intentional about our service. We actually shorten our service to allow more room at the end for our altar workers to meet with students who want to accept Jesus and so that we can really have more community after service.

5. I never ask the students who come up for salvation to repeat a prayer. I ask them to come up and our altar workers take them to our VIP Sweet and I allow them to explain what it means to accept Christ and then lead them in prayer. We want to be super intentional and not just create a hype with their emotions.

6. We also make sure to be super intentional with all of our first time guests. We extract all of our first time guests during our announcements to our VIP Sweet and we have them fill out our guest cards. We also give them free food and have a hospitality team that introduces themselves and explains our service and ministries (we do this every week).

7. Lastly, I make sure to send a text message, a personal hand written card, and a phone call to all of our first time guest. If God brought them to us we want to make sure that we’re good stewards and follow-up on our end.

What’s going to be our next Andrew Project Theme?

In January we’re doing a generation service for Jr. High and High School students in our gym and the theme is going to be “Winter Wonderland”. We’re making like a winter formal for students with tables, hors d’oeuvres, picture stations, and me and my Jr. High pastor will tag team preach and we are super pumped!

You ARE ABLE to do GREATthings-don’t box yourself in!

keep it burning…

ImageI have to say that the night we split our Jr. High and High School Services I was totally bummed out and yet excited at the same time. I’m not going to lie and say that our first high school service wasn’t brutal. It was just plain awkward not having the room full and feeling like we had lost so many students. I thought we were done for yet I also understood that when you make any change the program will suffer for a moment but later pick up.

Once the 2nd week rolled around I was terrified at the thought of what service was going to look like and to top it off we were having a guest speaker so I thought we were going to be in trouble. To my surprise, the 2nd service we had was great, and the 3rd was even better, and last night was HUGE!

A few things that we’ve noticed in the past four weeks from splitting our Jr. High and High School.

1. Jr. High has tripled in size in just four weeks

2. Our High School student attendance has increased by 30%

3. We already see that we are able to be more intentional about relationships and connectivity with students

4. There is a sense of ownership with the students and because of that they’re bringing their friends

5. We are able to do better at follow up and we’re seeing first time students come back and bring friends when they do return

6. There is a new sense of excitement within our leadership team because

7. We are able to appropriately preach/teach the same message but we make it fit to their context

We recognize that we are riding the wave right not and we must continue to lean on the Lord for His guidance and direction acknowledging that it is because of Him that we are seeing these results. We have also been laying down a NEW foundation for almost two years to arrive at this place so in actuality this was not what you would call an “Overnight Success” but rather a “Process of Success”!

keep it burning…

Church Split Made Easy

Posted: September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

So the BIG question is why did we decide to split up our Jr. Higher’s and Sr. Higher’s?

1. Our leadership wanted to see it happen

2. We felt like focusing on the two groups separately would allow us to be more intentional and allow for more spiritual depth

3. Our youth room was getting overcrowded at times

4. It would allow room for numerical growth

5. Jr. Higher’s were getting the short end of the stick

6. Sr. Higher’s didn’t want to be with the Jr. Higher.s

7. It limited what we could preach on

8. Parents didn’t feel safe having their 7th graders mixed in with 12th graders on the brink of hitting 18

9. We wanted to be obedient to our leadership and carry out their vision

As you can see these were enough reasons to make some changes so we got to work on a strategy.

The first thing that we had to ask ourselves was did we have enough staff to send over to the Jr. High department in order to get this thing off of the ground? Which we did. We had, at that time, 18-20 volunteer leaders and our group was about 30% Jr. High and 70% Sr. High so we could make this happen with a well balanced ratio of leaders.

Another thing working for us is that I have an associate YP whose focus is Jr. High. Some of you just thought to yourself “well no wonder that this guy can do that, he has an associate YP”. I see your point but at my previous church we did the same thing and we used a volunteer for Jr. High because we didn’t have an associate YP. It is possible if you select the right person and it’s crucial that you just don’t throw them into it without mentoring them prior to the split and showing them how to do it.

Secondly, we developed a well thought out strategy for the split of the two groups. We mapped out a full year to slowly and steadily make this transition because we wanted it to succeed.

Here was the strategy…

1. We had to figure out what we were going to do first, so we prayed and prayed and then hit the lab with a pen and a pad. We decided that we would do two services on the same night simultaneously and then developed the strategy to accomplish the vision.

2. We shared the vision with our leadership so that they would have a clear understanding of what we were planning on doing

3. We shared the vision with our Youth Volunteers and then asked them who felt a call to work with Jr. Higher’s. Bam, we now had two separate teams!

4. We had a vision casting meeting with parents at the beginning of the year after our 2nd service and provided lunch. This worked out perfect because we didn’t create another night out and we had food which brought in a bigger crowd than we had anticipated-that’s a good thing. We allowed parents to ask questions as well and after our meeting they were all on board and excited. This a good thing when parents become your allies and not your enemies.

5. We separated our Sunday School Classes into a Jr. high and a Sr. high to begin to create the separation.

6. We then began to separate our activities and do things as just Jr. Higher’s or just Sr. Higher’s

7. We continued throughout the year to talk about the split and we kept the vision before them

8. We’re creating a Jr. high mini youth center area with a snack shack, couches, TV’s, and video gaming systems (you don’t need all of these things to have a legit Jr. High ministry)

9. We’re now launching our separate services In 2 weeks

We are separating everything and that includes worship. We didn’t want to do worship together and then do that awkward dismissal and this is why it’s taken us a whole year. We are actually going to keep the sermon series in both groups the same so that we can share that common ground. It will help me and the Jr. High pastor because we can work together to develop sermons and sermon series. This will also make developing graphics, illustrations, and any videos we use easier than having to do two of everything.

I hope that this helps!

P.S. I wish that I could say that everything has gone smooth and we haven’t had any issues or that we haven’t had to adjust anything along the way but if I did I would only be lying. We have had to be flexible to change, youth volunteer fall out, logistics, and everything in between, but the vision has kept us on track.

keep it burning…