Here’s a story about how we ended up at Bayside Church in Granite Bay. Ten years ago, Shanti and I were in pursuit of a longterm place to live. We searched for neighborhoods with the best schools and the least crime. But most of all, we were looking for an ideal church. You see, I’m a high school teacher and have seen many students fall away from their faith primarily because their churches and families didn’t reach them or even seek them. I wanted my own children to beg me to go to church and not the other way around. I wanted my children to own their salvation, to live their faith out daily, and to thrive in the midst of a chaotic world.
With loads of prayer behind me, I set out to find a church that loved God, cared deeply for children, served others, and was making a difference in the community and the world. I flew to Texas and visited some churches in the Houston area. Shanti and I went on the quest of “church shopping” for our family. Some had amazing buildings, some had incredible stained glass, some were small and quaint while others were mega churches.
But the very second the service started at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, my wife and I looked at each other and knew it was the one for us. Lincoln Brewster was leading worship and it felt like home. God had a plan for our family and Bayside Church was part of it. So, for the last decade we have raised our five children with the help of the entire Christian community. At Bayside Church, the Bible is preached, God’s Word is professed, and Jesus is sitting in the middle of it all with all our eyes focused on Him. I’ll try to put into words some of the highlights so far…
Children at Bayside Church:
Breakaway Kids Camp: Kids from the entire community swarm onto the church campus for a week of fun, joy, and lessons about God. Here’s a video recap! My wife and I are always two of the thousands of volunteers and we get to pass out Otter Pops to kids each day. We’ve never missed a year and even signed up the kids for golf during Breakaway Extreme last year!
Pier 14: The absolute best kids program around. With weekly meetings on the weekends and kids programs like this during the week! Three of our children are in this right now.
Here’s just one example of the awesome choir performance they put on! (I’m a little biased about the kid doing the solo since he’s my kid…)
Club 56: Two of our sons are currently part of this program. They meet each weekend as well as Wednesday nights. Our kids have grown spiritually and have just plain matured due to the great leadership here.
Jr. High Riptide: Our son is really excited to start this in 6 months. They do missions trips to San Francisco and challenge students to dig deeper in their walk with God. Here’s their Facebook page.
High School: UNBELIEVABLE!!! That’s all I can say. It really doesn’t get better than this program. Like I said, I teach high school and know what it takes to reach teenagers. Robi Quick is the youth pastor in charge of this program and connects with teenagers like nobody else! From Mexico Missions, to Summer Daze, to Apex and Thrive Leadership School, these students are challenged, they are stretched and they are serving God with their entire hearts. Have your teenager watch this video and I guarantee they will want to serve God this Easter:
Opportunities for Grown-ups at Bayside Church:
Bayside is HUGE…let’s just get that out of the way. Some people aren’t “big church” people, but may I remind you of the early church back in Acts 16:5. The Bible specifically states that the early church was strengthened in their faith and increased in numbers daily. People, if our churches aren’t growing then we aren’t living like the early church.
Great Bible teaching:
Pastor Ray Johnston is awesome! Having started off as a youth pastor, Ray is extremely focused on today’s youth. He even jokes that he was “demoted” into becoming senior pastor. My wife and I can both tell that his heart is with the youth, and his calling is to build this generation’s spiritual life. We love his sermons (even though he regurgitates the same old jokes sometimes…don’t get me wrong, they are still funny)! Ray’s sample sermon and his latest book.
Curt Harlow and Andrew McCourt have joined the team as teaching pastors too. They are gifted and their sermons are moving.
Guest Speakers: By far, my favorite is Chris Brown!!! Nothing else to say…you just have to watch him. The first time I heard him speak, he started telling some stupid story that had nothing to do with anything. I wanted to walk out, I mean it was worthless and he hadn’t even opened his Bible. Then, with the utmost gifted talent, Chris Brown took that worthless story and wove it straight into a Bible story with a grace of words that only Chris Brown can accomplish. P.S. Francis Chan is a close second as my favorite guest speaker!
Services and conferences:
Weekend Service: Our family attends the 4:15 service on Saturday (primarily because the childcare was at the exact timing that our young children would always be grumpy and we needed a break!) But there are services on Saturday evening, Sunday Morning and Sunday evening too. The worship is incredible! Did you hear me? The worship is INCREDIBLE!
Multiple campuses: Currently Bayside Church has 4 campuses: Granite Bay is the original while Blue Oaks is in Roseville. One is in Midtown Sacramento, and the other in Folsom.
Thrive Conferences: Known just about everywhere, Thrive has as a stated goal “to make you feel appreciated, loved, encouraged and motivated.” I think people come from all over the U.S and even from around the world to attend these conferences. I went to an Apologetics Conference that was connected to Biola University. My favorite speaker was JP Moreland!
Christmas Eve Service: I think Bayside may be famous for these services. They have like 15 services all packed with 2,000 people…if you haven’t been to one, you may be the only one left on Earth! You can get tickets here!
Serve Day: Last year my whole family as well as about five students from my high school updated the landscaping at our local middle school. It was just a time to serve the community…it was a time for the church to BE the church!
Some final words:
I ask you, if your church shut down, would your community even notice? If not, then what’s the point? We need to serve others, love others, and invest our lives in others. If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prosecute you? If your church was on trial for emulating the early church, would there be enough evidence to prosecute it? Is your church reaching the community for Christ? Well, Bayside, you are guilty! Guilty of serving God and I’m proud to be part of your community! Leave me some comments below to tell me about the great things Christians in your community are doing. Or just post a “shout-out” to your Church if you think they are doing a great job!
A shout out to Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, CA
And also to our Christian school community, The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale, CA