Our Pastor

Rev. Luis A. Garcia

Rev. Luis A. Garcia was born in Monterrey, Mexico. At age 16 he had his “heart warmed” in a youth camp and started going to the Methodist church. After college he was invited to work in a church-related program in Mexico called Heifer Project. Thus began his missionary career.

In 1993, he and his wife, Janet, went to Chile as missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries and served there for 10 years. They worked in educational intercultural ministries for Native Chilean people in the north and south of Chile. In 1998, Luis took a sabbatical to earn his master’s degree in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena CA.

In 2003, the Garcias moved to the U.S., at which time Luis joined the staff of First Church in Chula Vista. At that point, Luis became “Pastor Luis” by earning his status as Local Pastor and in 2009 he finished his master’s in divinity from Fuller Seminary as part of the ordination process. At First Church, Pastor Luis developed a Spanish-language ministry, serve in the missions ministry, as well as serving as Associate Pastor for the English-speaking congregation.

In 2013, Pastor Luis became solo pastor of Nestor UMC in San Diego CA. During his 8-year tenure there he started a congregation in Spanish within the Anglo/Filipino English-speaking congregation. Also, during his ministry, the congregation reached an agreement with CORE, a not-for-profit organization, to develop affordable housing for seniors at risk of homelessness. That project not only provides needed services for many people in the community, but also new resources for the ministry of the congregation.

In June 2018, Pastor Luis became an Elder in the California Pacific conference.

As Covid was receding in July 2021, Pastor Luis was appointed to an area in San Diego where a majority of the population is Hispanic. In a dual appointment, Pastor Luis served St. Paul UMC and Chollas View UMC in San Diego. The following year he continued in Chollas View UMC and supported the ministry in Jacumba UMC, one hour east of San Diego.

During this time in Chollas View UMC, with the support of both District and Conference funds, the church started a group in Spanish as part of the revitalization process of the whole congregation. Presently, that group has a weekly bible study in Spanish and is in process of developing a worship service in Spanish.

During his years of ministry in the Cal Pac conference, Pastor Luis has  volunteered in the binational church-to-church program that connects Methodist churches in Baja California and Southern California, called the Joint Commission. He developed a program for rapid response to the deportee crisis in 2006. He represented the UMC in the UN Migration Global conference in 2013. Pastor Luis has participated with ICWJ (Interfaith Committee for Workers Justice) in advocacy efforts in Sacramento CA and Washington DC.

During his 20 years of pastoral ministry in this conference, Pastor Luis has participated in multiple committees at the district and conference levels and is presently serving on the Orders Executive Committee and the Judicial Committee, both at the conference level.

Pastor Luis enjoys all sports, particularly soccer. He enjoys hiking, movies, and eating! Besides Mexican food, he likes Thai food and salmon, and he loves eating pancakes on Saturday mornings. But his favorite past-time is spending time at home with his family.

Luis and Janet have three adult children: Luis Jr. was born in Mexico, Diego was born in Atlanta GA and Maricarmen was born in Chile!!


Our Mission Statement:

Love God Completely, Love One Another Correctly, Love Others Boldly!