Born and raised in Hollywood, California, Oden Fong’s mother and father were motion picture actors and lived the jet set life that came along with Hollywood fame. Growing up on the knee of James Clavell and other well known Hollywood names, the appeal of this lifestyle did not hold Oden nor compel him toward a similar path. Instead of following suit with respect to his parents and acting, he opted to study music and became a professional musician by his mid teens. During that time, while in high school, Oden was introduced to experimental drugs and that road led him into a deep spiritual journey for years to come.
In 1970, through an extraordinary experience while “on a trip,” Oden met Jesus Christ and became a believer without boundary or hesitation, although it was not until 1971 that he truly chose to become a faithful disciple and long to serve the Lord genuinely. By way of some Christian friends, he began to attend a little church in the middle of a bean field called Calvary Chapel. Full of the love of God and barefoot hippies such as himself, he was mentored under the leadership of Pastor Chuck Smith. It was here at that little church, Calvary Chapel, that he became solidly grounded in biblical studies and practical Christian living.
At about that same time in ’71-’72, Oden’s longtime friend and fellow musician from the old days, Pedro Buford, was playing in a band called “Mustard Seed.” Oden invited the band Mustard Seed to play music at his Wednesday night backyard potlucks at his home in Laguna. At one point, one of the members of the group left the band and Oden was asked to fill the vacancy. For several years, Mustard Seed Faith ministered everywhere there was opportunity; jr. high and high schools, colleges, juvenile halls, jails, prisons, coffee houses and wherever the Lord would allow! Mustard Seed Faith had opportunity to lead countless people to Jesus Christ over the course of their band ship.
After Mustard Seed Faith disbanded in 1984, forever brothers in arms and faithful friends, Oden continued in music as a solo artist for a season. He later returned to Los Angeles to work in his family’s restaurant houses, Ah Fong’s, awaiting the Lord’s direction for the next chapter of his ministry.
It was only one year later that Oden moved back to Costa Mesa, California and was welcomed onto the pastoral staff of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa as a music minister for a short season. Within time, doors opened once again for touring and Oden was lead to go back on the road. However, Chuck Smith asked him to stay on and become the director of Calvary Chapel Outreach Fellowships (the overseeing office of Calvary Chapel church affiliation at that time). For the next decade, Oden ministered in CCOF, but his heart was always more inclined more toward bible study and equipping the saints. It was at this time he was blessed to begin the now well known Tuesday nights. There were only about 25 members in that fellowship for the first couple of years, but faithfully the saints showed up and worshiped and prayed, inviting the Spirit of God to fill that place. Over time and with a burst it began to grow, overflowing into double classrooms and warranting more space. Moving to the fellowship hall, the 130 began to warrant even more space and were offered the sanctuary for which it filled graciously and fervently. God was doing a unique work. Many would stay as late as 2AM praying, exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the saints were engaged in deep, rich fellowship.
After amicably departing Calvary Chapel staff to begin a small church in downtown Huntington Beach, Oden was able to mister to the downtown HB area with a well placed coffee house and faithful saints who prayed over the city. The ministry set forth was a wonderful bounty of God’s goodness and the work done made lifelong friends, weaving together the fabric of the body of Christ and winning hearts for Jesus.
In the past 10+ years Oden’s tempo and lifestyle has changed with great measure, married for 12 years and raising 3 young sons, he and his wife have been faithfully tending to their beautiful flock in Orange County, CA and steadfast in seeking to serve the Lord.