By Sharon Mager and Shelley Mahoney
BERLIN, Md. — In a warehouse in Berlin, Md., hundreds of believers are freely worshipping, singing with all their might, hands held high. They’re celebrating a new location, three campuses, baptisms, salvations and new life in Christ at a recent anniversary celebration at Sonrise Church. The church has operated out of many different locations — living rooms, horse racing tracks, school cafeterias, and — today — three different campuses with thriving congregations in Berlin, Salisbury, and Princess Anne.
When considering almost 900 salvations and more than 800 baptisms have taken place in this church over the years, it is clear all of these locations have two things in common: the blessing of God and a congregational willingness to follow His leading.
Senior Pastor Daryl McCready has faithfully served Sonrise Church since before its official 2002 launch. He is always amazed at the obvious work of the Holy Spirit in the church body, and He never forgets that — although the church faithfully plants and waters the seeds of salvation — it is only God who has given the increase. .“God began even then to do things I could not dream, fathom or imagine,” says McCready, recalling the early days of the church. “He began to move, to draw people to Himself. People’s lives were radically changed as they came to know Jesus and trusted in Him and as He began to transform them. They started bringing everyone they knew who didn’t know Jesus… from 13 people meeting in my living room, we began to grow. Over the last 16 years, we’ve become a church with three campuses, in three counties with an average attendance of 900 a week.”
Twice a year, the campuses gather for joint worship services. The October services are especially exciting because they celebrate the beginning of all of the campuses — each strategically launched in October.
“On Oct. 6, 2002, we launched our public Sunday worship at Sonrise…at the horse track. That’s a cool thing, actually, to have as part of your history,” says McCready with a chuckle. The church launched its second campus in 2014 in Salisbury with Pastor Bryan Lloyd, and in 2016 their third campus in Princess Anne began, led by Pastor Mark Thomas and Pastor Nathan Deisem, a multi-site launch catalyst. Last year the church started a Saturday night venue at the Berlin Campus with Pastor Carl Moyer.
McCready says one of the church’s core values is multiplication. “The purpose of God’s church is to multiply, to grow His kingdom, to reach people with the Gospel and to multiply our efforts to train and raise up other people and pass along what God has given us to others. There’s a constant reproduction happening in this church at every level.”
In addition to the conversions and baptisms, the church has also assisted 20 church plants with prayer, support, and financial resources.
This is part of a “Baptists & Baptism” series in BaptistLIFE magazine.
Shelley Mahoney is a freelance writer and an adjunct professor of communication at Anne Arundel Community College