EPIC Community Church, which meets at Ripken Stadium, celebrated its third birthday on March 20. EPIC has doubled in size over the last two years and is currently outgrowing their space.
By Sharon Mager
Many of the people who attend EPIC Community Church are previously unchurched. Brian Watts, the lead pastor, comments, “I’m not sure that we are doing anything that special. God has been good, and we have sought to create a culture in which people are loved, the Gospel is central, and discipleship is intentional.”
EPIC seeks to be a community in which people are loved. Watts states, “We often hear from guests that they feel special and cared for when they attend EPIC. Our Welcome Team does a tremendous job of making people feel welcome. It is impossible to overestimate the importance of loving [your] community in [and] leading people to faith in Christ.”
EPIC places a high value on being a blessing to the community. EPIC serves the local schools regularly (collecting school supplies, supplying winter coats, cleaning up, landscaping, etc.), supports and partners with local organizations (Harford Family House, Alpha’s Glory, Habitat, The Grafted, etc.), and blesses many families with meals, financial coaching and counseling.
In addition, EPIC hosts large community outreach events such as movie nights, Easter Egg hunts, Fall Fest, and more. This past Halloween, 3,500 people attended EPIC’s Fall Fest. One of the women who attended the event commented on Facebook: “My nine-year-old who is in a wheel chair has never gone out for candy due to steps or people staring. We decided to take him and his twin sisters and it was awesome! He didn’t have any obstacles in his way and the awesome people giving the candy were so great! Thanks again! You all really helped make his first fall fest great!”
Watts said one of EPIC’s deeply held values is Gospel-centered ministry.
“We believe that the Gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ, is what transforms people’s lives. Therefore, the focus of our groups, our sermons, our services, our kid’s ministry and everything is on proclaiming the Gospel clearly and powerfully.
“We believe that the church can be both deep and wide (deep in its growth in Christ and wide in reaching lots of people). And the key is remaining focused on the Gospel. The Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand and deep enough for the world-renowned scholar to never exhaust its meaning. The main thing every Christian and every non-Christian needs is the Gospel. So, we preach the Gospel every week no matter what book we are in or what topic we are discussing. We are far from perfect, but we are faithfully building a Gospel-rich church and disciples are made in Gospel-rich communities.”
Watts said EPIC helps every person understand his or her calling as a follower of Jesus. They have a simple way of defining a disciple: “Disciples treasure God above all else, share life with others, and multiply (make more disciples).”
“Disciples are not mass-produced nor are they made consistently in unintentional environments. Disciples are made intentionally through life-on-life interaction. So, we have sought to be clear about what a disciple is and provide key steps, important resources and intentional relationships to help people grow.”