This was our spiritual home for about 10 years. We loved it desperately. This time last year tears streamed down my face in church each week as a chapter of our lives closed and we prepared to say good-bye to Sandals Church. This is the church Husband and I attended in our courtship. The lead pastor performed our wedding and the music pastor at the time performed all of the music at our wedding and reception. It’s the place that shepherded the early years of our love story. We learned how to walk side-by-side and grew in the Lord together. God blessed us with good friends there and gave us a ministry together. After close family and friends, leaving Sandals church was the hardest part about leaving California.
We started looking for a new church home our first weekend in Boulder. After three weeks we found what we thought would be our new home. A megachurch with great music and a focus on being real by acknowledging that many of us echo “me too” when someone confesses their struggles. The was reminiscent of “being real” from Sandals, so we felt an immediate connection. However, the church was pretty far and so was the community where most of the ministry was focused. After several attempts to try and make friends and build relationships with others, we decided that this was just not the right fit for us.
After Googling churches in Boulder yet again, I came across a church I had not seen in our previous church searches. We’ve known since the first 20 minutes we sat in the auditorium that this was the place God had for us. God has spoken so clearly to each of us individually about this place, and that truth has only continued to become more apparent.
I absolutely adore this church and am in awe of the way God is at work and using this place. More than that, I’m humbled that He allows us to be a part of this family. He has clearly changed and molded us in preparation for this place. We have grown in such a way that we can now say we no longer miss Sandals. That is no longer our home, and that is ok. I in no way say that to be derogatory to that place. That is still the place I would suggest anyone go who is looking for a church in the Riverside area, but I am so thankful for the way God has changed us to be in this place and to join this body.
Each week at both church and missional community group I feel simultaneously overflowing with God’s love and mercy, but I am also challenged to glorify Him in new ways. It has been a long time since I have felt God molding and shaping my character in this way for His glory. God has made me hungry to be changed and to bring glory to Him.
The lead pastors of both of these places are clearly gifted by God to lead churches. One, I believe, is gifted to speak to the masses. I have not heard a pastor in my life who is more captivating on-stage than Matt Brown. You just want to listen to him talk, and God speaks through Him. I have not heard a pastor in my life who challenges me to make disciples more than Matt Patrick. He makes me anxious to get going, to make observable changes in my daily life that better glorify God and make disciples.
If you live anywhere near Riverside and are looking for a church. I totally suggest this one. If you don’t want to go alone, let me know. I can hook you up with some awesome people who will make you feel welcome and love on you. If you live anywhere near Boulder, I invite you to come with us sometime. We’d love to sit with you, introduce you to our community, and love on because Christ loves us. Sit with me and husband and visit a community focused on glorifying God and making disciples.