AN ADVENTURE IN FAITH
On Our Way 1988-2002
Sunridge began in 1988 with six couples who moved to the Temecula area with the dream of planting a church in this fast-growing Valley. The fact that they had no financial or denominational backing made their adventure of faith even more exciting.
Our first meetings were held in the local high school football coach’s living room. The coach and his family did not even attend church at the time, but shortly thereafter, they discovered faith and were baptized!
It wasn’t long before we outgrew that home, and Sunridge Community Church was officially formed. We held our first public service in the multipurpose room at a local school, and two hundred people showed up. During the ensuing 12 years, Sunridge continued to rent facilities, and we fondly referred to ourselves as “church in a box” as we had to unpack and pack up everything needed for church each weekend. We concluded each service with a benediction, as well as a request to “please help us by placing your chair in a rack.”
Finding a Home 2003-2004
In 2003 Sunridge acquired the property our campus is on now. At the time, the property was a large warehouse that served as a distribution center for specialty steel products. After nearly one million dollars in renovations, this former industrial space was converted into a place of worship and ministry, and Sunridge finally had a place to call “home.”
For six months prior to those renovations, we gathered for prayer and worship on Sunday evenings, sitting on stacks of drywall, lumber, or in lawn chairs we brought for ourselves. We constantly reminded ourselves that we were making these sacrifices not for our personal comfort, but for those who needed Jesus. We wrote the names of friends and loved ones on the floor all over the building (and we still find those names sometimes when removing carpet or flooring).
Learning Curve 2005-2014
In 2005 Sunridge, like so many growing churches, went through a challenging time, experiencing what can best be described as a “family fight.” The conflict was mainly over ministry philosophy (translated, “how we should do church”). It was painful for everybody, and to be honest, embarrassing as well. This eventually led to a new chapter when our lead pastor of 14 years resigned.
After a number of short-lived leadership changes, Sunridge reached out for help from the church-consulting firm, Vital Church. They assisted Sunridge in rebuilding needed organizational structures, returned us to our gospel roots, and conducted a nationwide search for a new lead pastor. That search led us to Britt Sipe, and he accepted the call to take the helm of Sunridge in December of 2014.
2015 and beyond
Today, Sunridge is healthy, but not perfect! We are a church where it’s OK to not be OK. We remain committed to the mission of helping people find and follow Jesus and are grateful to Him for how he has used this church to touch The Valley with the gospel. If you’d like to know more about us, we hold a Welcome Brunch on the first Sunday of each month at 11:45am. We hope you will join us for that sometime!