In the early 1970's, a Japanese-American family, the Shota's, relocated from the city of Gardena to the city of Cerritos. Since they had been attending Gardena Valley Baptist Church, the assistant pastor, Rev. Sam Tonomura, helped start a Bible study in their home. Rev. Tonomura noticed that a number of families were moving into the Cerritos area from Gardena and after further research he determined that there was a need for a church in the Cerritos area. The Bible study that began in the early 70's became the core group for Cerritos Baptist Church.
In the late 70's, when plans were being made for forming the church, Rev. Tonomura approached a young seminary student, Gary Tawa, from Gardena Valley Baptist and asked if he would consider pastoring this new church. After prayerful consideration, Gary and his wife, Valerie, took a step of faith and provided leadership to this budding church. The first worship service was held on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1979.