Pastor Charles is the founder and Lead Pastor of Light & Life West in Long Beach, California. He’s been married to his wife Carolyn since August of 2000, and together they have three children: Candyce, Jaymar, and Christopher. He deeply values the Free Methodist Church and the ways it creatively seeks to make God’s heart clear, and his passion is for discipleship and leading people on a path to wholeness in Jesus.
“Don’t be afraid of what’s over the next hill. Don’t be afraid of what’s around the next corner. Don’t be afraid of the next month. God will definitely meet you there every time. And he’ll have direction and instruction.” – Charles Latchison, December 2017
Born in Torrance, California, and raised in Compton, Charles Latchison (or Latch as he’s commonly known) grew up playing baseball and kickball just like the other kids in the neighborhood, all the time unaware that God, or at least his godly mother, had a bigger plan for his life. The first inklings of God’s calling on him came at age five, while he was sitting in the pews at church, listening to the words of an old spiritual hymn. The hymn moved his heart so deeply — expanded it exponentially — that he knew for certain that God was touching him. As tears streamed down his face, Latch knew that God wanted him as His own.
As he got older, his mother had him learn the Creation Story, and recite it at various churches and events. Always serving and always involved in the church, his mother was preparing him for a life of pastoring, long before it was even on his radar. She was sure that Latch would be a pastor, and would tell him so; her prophetic word spoken over him would be instrumental later on as he looked for God through the hard times.
“Don’t be afraid of the person you discover you are. Don’t be afraid of what you’ll find inside yourself. Don’t be afraid of those things; the One who made you, formed you even before you were in your mother’s womb… He already set the course.”
It was as a young man, out of work for nine months and struggling to find a job, that he experienced one of the toughest and lowest moments in his life. He immersed himself in the church quite seriously, but still didn’t know if he would get out of that season alive. He’d heard and witnessed plenty of stories of people in vocational ministry that made him want to run from his calling; however, it was his genuine encounter with the Lord, assuring Latch of the plans He had for him, that was irrefutable in his mind and heart, and that allowed him to persevere.
As he moved into ministry, Latch saw sign after sign that he was stepping into his calling. In fact, the first sermon Latch ever preached is one of his greatest memories because the Lord’s affirmation was so undeniable. His testimony speaks of the power of God’s restoration: once in a place of emotional and spiritual unhealthiness, where he felt he should have either quit or failed in his career, the Lord worked in him to restore him to a place of emotional and spiritual thriving. He now works to come alongside others so that they might also be restored.
“And go forward with hope and with fervor with expectation — you’ll win if you trust God, you’ll win.”
Latch first learned of the Free Methodist family at a lunch with superintendent Rev. Dr. Larry Walkemeyer. After sharing his heart to become a pastor, and after Larry’s sharing about the denomination’s passion for planting churches, Charles knew it was where he was meant to be.
What he loves about the FMC is its commitment to diversity, its respect and care for the poor, both inside and outside the church, as well as its advocacy for women in leadership, in church and in life. He brings a uniqueness to the superintendent table: a relentlessness to succeed, and to recover from rough places; a heart to mentor men and women toward the same restoration in Jesus he himself has experienced; and a passion to strategize how he can best lead people to walk into the fullness of what God has for them. He has persevered, kept the faith, leaned in to God and to his calling, and has enjoyed the fruits of obedience to the full.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to meet the nominees for Superintendent Team at two upcoming town hall meetings.