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Churches thrive at Bayside

Granite Bay church hosts three-day conference intended to inspire renewed passion for ministry
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Church leaders sometimes need a little encouragement. Bayside Church in Granite Bay offers this replenishment during its annual THRIVE conference today through Saturday. More than 3,000 church leaders and volunteers from around the world have gathered at the church for an event intended to inspire a renewed passion for ministry. THRIVE is a key program of Thriving Churches International, founded by Bayside Church Senior Pastor Ray Johnston and Dr. John Jackson in 2009. As the name implies, the ministry attempts to help churches of any size — big, medium or small — thrive in a time when churches across the United States are losing members. “We estimate that about 87 percent of the churches in America are stagnant or declining,” said Jackson, executive pastor at Bayside, in a press release. “We believe that if we are able to help coach pastors, provide spiritual foundations and nourish volunteers, we can begin to see a major transformation in the effectiveness of churches worldwide.” Jackson said THRIVE serves as a catalyst for this transformation. People from 22 states and five countries — Uganda, Cambodia, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States—are expected to attend this year’s conference. The 2009 event welcomed about 2,200 attendees, said church spokesman Mark Miller. “I can tell you from year’s past, I was most excited about growing spiritually through the inspirational speakers, like John Maxwell, as well as personally through breakout sessions on marriage and parenting,” Miller said. “I also really appreciated getting new tips and tools to be an even more effective Bible study leader.” The three-day conference includes workshops for personal development and practical advice from leading Christian speakers, including Maxwell, John Ortberg, Margaret Feinberg and Johnston. The ministry also connects “mentor” churches, such as Bayside, with affiliate churches. “THRIVE is different from many conferences in that about 50 percent of our attendees are unpaid volunteers,” Jackson said. “So many of these men and women are taking time off work or using vacation time to be here, so we work hard to ensure the programs and resources available are useful to those leading Bible studies, supporting youth groups or serving in any number of ways. THRIVE is for anyone looking to connect, learn and serve God more effectively.” THRIVE 2010 takes place at Bayside Church, 8191 Sierra College Blvd. in Granite Bay. Limited space is available for onsite registration. Tickets for the three-day conference are $69 for studio seating. For more information, call (916) 746-8689) or visit www.thriveconference.org. ~ Sena Christian