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Newcomers lay down roots for Blue Oaks Baptist Church

Services begin Oct. 17 at elementary school, during search for permanent home
By: Lien Hoang
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A handful of new people have moved into the Roseville area, and with them they’re bringing a new place of worship. Blue Oaks Baptist Church begins services Oct. 17.

“We want to be the kind of church where families don’t just get together on Sunday, but create lifelong friendships,” pastor Jason Azzarello, 29, told the Press Tribune.

For now, those friendships will sprout at Rock Creek Elementary School, at 2140 Collet Quarry Drive in Rocklin. Blue Oaks is still raising funds and scouting out a location for a permanent home, which could be available in as early as three months.

Wherever the church plants its roots, Azzarello said he wants to stick close to Highway 65, at a central location to serve Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln.

Part of what drew Azzarello here were the spacious suburbs, not far from the state capital. In a promotional video, Azzarello noted the area is growing rapidly and considered one of the top places to live in the country. But he also sees a niche that needs filling.

“These communities are completely void of aggressive, soul-winning churches,” he said in the video.

He came to that conclusion after a Goldilocks-like search among different cities, until settling on the Roseville area.

Azarello moved his wife and three children to Roseville from the Bay Area in September.

Eight months earlier, Jeff Bowersock, 52, moved here with his wife from Frederick, Md. to lay the groundwork for Blue Oaks’ arrival. He’s been a pastor for 28 years, but at Blue Oaks he will assist and advise Azzarello, whom he invited to helm the church.

In April, they began distributing tracts, going door-to-door to roughly 25,000 houses so far.

“Something that’s good news, you generally want to tell people,” Bowersock said of spreading God’s message.

In June, the church began its meetings and Bible studies.

Neil Reddick, who attends those studies, happened to move to Roseville for a job transfer right before this. He knew Bowersock’s son back in Santa Maria, which is how he heard that a Baptist church was coming just in time for his move.

“That was just God’s way of telling us this is where he wanted us to be,” Reddick said.

Blue Oaks has relied on financial, personnel and other support from dozens of churches across the country, chiefly the West Valley Baptist Church of Woodland and the Lancaster Baptist Church.

On his blog, Jasonazzarello.com, the pastor lists a budget of start-up costs totaling $18,942, with requests for everything from a laptop to high chairs to a coffee pot.

Eventually Azzarello would like to plant more churches, even internationally.

But in the meantime, his focus is to build Blue Oaks to less than 500 members, and to be a more traditional church based on activities, fellowship and family.

“We’ll try to use what we can effectively to reach people,” Azzarello said.

Lien Hoang can be reached at lienh@goldcountrymedia.com.

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WHAT: Blue Oaks Baptist Church
WHERE: Rock Creek Elementary School, at 2140 Collet Quarry Drive in Rocklin
WHEN: Begins Oct. 17, Bible study at 9:45 a.m., morning worship at 11 a.m.
INFO: Blueoaksbaptist.com, (916) 678-0352