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Becoming Bayside will better church's mission

By: Gene Maynard, Bayside Auburn
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On June 8, 2008, Sonrise Church voted overwhelmingly to align with the Bayside Family of Churches and to change its name to Bayside Auburn. The journey that led to this decision really began two years ago when we re-envisioned what our church was about. We soon saw that we could say in one word what we are about: transformation. Rather than being a trendy buzzword or a mysterious theory, we saw that transformation is about a genuine encounter with Jesus. What is so great about Jesus is that you can experience Him. Invariably, when you experience him you begin to live your life under His influence. For us, this discovery changes everything! For example, it’s transforming how we do worship. Instead of a tired ritual or a shallow show, worship is about a heartfelt, authentic, fun, relevant, and inspiring encounter with Jesus. Given this environment, Jesus regularly touches and heals the deepest places in our lives. It has also led us to decide to do all we can to reach the emerging generation. Ministry to children and youth is a high, high priority and we can hardly think of anything more important than to lean into and impact the trajectory and destiny of a young person’s life. Plans are underway for making our church a center for reaching, encouraging and developing the young people in our area. Our experience of Jesus is also leading us to focus simply on loving and accepting people. We all know that people are not changed by sermons, by church or by religion. People change when they experience genuine love and acceptance. When that happens, over time we dare to believe that we matter, that we belong, that our life can become a masterpiece and we become infused with hope that the best is yet to come. Once our mission and values became clear, it didn’t take long to discover that the “DNA” of our organization and leaders was similar to that of Bayside Church. We began to seek out their expertise and experience and we were amazed with their leaders’ genuine willingness to help. By January, 2008, leaders in both churches realized it made sense to begin exploring the possibility of Sonrise Church joining the Bayside Family of Churches. Following an invitation in mid-May from the nine other Bayside Family of Churches, Sonrise Church accepted the chance to become the 10th Bayside Church. We are incredibly excited about this opportunity. As Bayside Auburn, we believe that we’ll only become more effective at turning the mission, dreams and values that I’ve described above into reality. As Bayside Auburn, we look forward to providing a new center for worship and ministry next to the theater, on Nevada Street. As Bayside Auburn, we look forward to loving Auburn and the Foothills area. As Bayside Auburn, we look forward to doing whatever we can to help everyone encounter and experience the transforming love and acceptance of Living God. Gene Maynard is senior pastor of Bayside Auburn, formerly known as Sonrise Church.