In 1986, several small Bible study groups came together and began meeting in a living room. They eventually began meeting at the Coastside Community Center, calling themselves Mariners Community Church.
Paul Richardson and his wife, Lisa, were called to lead the church in April 1988. All the supplies needed for the worship service could fit in one file box. An overhead projector and one guitar rounded out each Sunday’s service.
God began to grow the church from forty to eighty, and then to one hundred.
New space was rented in Shoreline Station that was used as office, Little Lambs club, music rehearsal room, prayer room, youth room, and Sunday School for children.
The church had plateaued at about 120 people. A group of leaders (known as “the team of 12” met together in Santa Cruz to pray and seek God’s direction for the future of Mariners.
In Fall of 1999, Mariners ‘relaunched’ with a new feel, new look, new sound, new attitude, new logo and a new vision. We committed ourselves to be a church of coastsiders intentionally reaching the unchurched on the coast with the life-giving message of Jesus Christ.
The church grew to over 250 people since the re-launch. Growth Groups were added to the church to help disciple the new attendees.
Pastor Len Banks joined the staff to help with the growing church.
Mariners went to two services on Sunday mornings to accommodate the crowds at the Community Center.
Additional office space was rented to hold multiplying children’s ministries.
We leased an old Thai restaurant in Shoreline Station. We gutted it and remodeled it to hold worship services there. We also leased more space in Shoreline Station to accommodate an expanding children’s ministry.
Fall 2008, a third service (Saturday evening) was added to provide an alternative to Sunday morning.
Due to our growth and the financial cost of renting we came to recognize the need to own our building in order to better serve our congregation and the greater coastside community.
We launched the “Making Ourselves Ready” campaign. We had no idea what property might become available; we just knew we needed to ready ourselves financially and organizationally. We set out to raise 1 Million dollars in a three-year period.
As we were nearing the end of the campaign it was clear that even in the midst of a recession, God was leading our congregation to give generously. The Post Office seemed to be the property God was leading us to, and yet the delays were frustrating. Surprisingly, a better property became available, the Odwalla Headquarters, and negotiations moved quickly.
We closed on our purchase of the Stone Pine property and moved to renovate it so we could have a church home. To this day we look back in amazement at how we were able to secure and renovate the building in order to hold our first worship service at our new home in November.
We were experiencing significant growth in weekly attendance and recognized that we needed to make changes in our staffing to serve the people God was bringing in to us. Pastor Len became the Pastor of Connections and Kaitlin Gehret was brought on staff to lead the Surf’s Up KidMin.
We studied other areas we deemed as ‘bottlenecks’ to further growth and impact in reaching our community. As wonderful as our facility is, we came to recognize that it would soon limit our ability to reach coastsiders. Another area we felt led to pursue was that of our growing Latino population. We established a team to see what role Mariners should play in reaching the 2nd generation English speaking Latinos.
As the new year began, we welcomed Ivette Moctezuma to our staff as a part-time Director of Community Outreach to help us connect with our ethnically diverse community.
In order to reach more youth on the coastside, we brought Curt Vanderstelt to our staff as the Director of Youth Ministries.
Our New Wave Faith Journey continues…