Erik Kakimoto

Associate Pastor
Cerritos Baptist Church
Cerritos, CA

Growing up as a 2nd generation Asian-American Christian, I was brought up in a culture deeply rooted in shame along with a theological framework that is often more shame-driven than grace-driven. In other words, I had to be someone “better” than who I was if I wanted to be accepted and valued by God and by others. Being me wasn’t enough—I had too many flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections.

I was burdened to accomplish and achieve as much as I possibly could. I was determined and motivated to succeed in everything I did whether it was academics, athletics, appearance, relationships, or career. I excelled through college where I earned a Business-Economics degree from U.C.L.A. I excelled in my relationships; and I excelled in my career as an accountant. Even after I stepped away from accounting to pursue a life in occupational ministry, I strove for perfection as a seminary student, as a Pastor, and eventually, even as a husband and father.

Yet no matter how much I accomplished, it was never enough. I was still imperfect.
Then I heard the message of grace. For the very first time I was introduced to the reality that I was indeed “good enough.” I didn’t have to earn God’s love. I didn’t have to work on my imperfections by myself. I was free to be me. I was free to live out of who God says I am.

I discovered a passion to communicate this reality to those who are still burdened and imprisoned by their shame and fear. It’s why, as a Pastor, I love seeing the faces of people when they hear the message for the very first time. I love hearing their responses when they’re awakened to their own struggle with shame and with fear. Most of all, I love the celebration that occurs when we begin to experience grace in our lives, with God and with one another.


Brittany Sawrey