Abundant Life is a growing nondenominational charismatic church located in Roseville, California – a suburb community of the state capitol, Sacramento. The population of Roseville is nearing 100,000 and growing, but its proximity to other adjoining suburb communities as well as the larger Sacramento metropolitan area give the local church a potential draw population of roughly 1.3 million people. This evidences itself in a continual flow of new visitors to the church.
Roseville itself has been growing at an exponential rate during the last decade and shows no sign of letting up in the near future. Most of the new housing in Roseville is targeted toward successful working class people or white-collar professionals although there are a few lower income pockets sprinkled among the older sections of town. Because of its strong police presence, detailed city development plan, attractive new industry, and city beautification standards, Roseville has become one of the more desirable places to live in the Sacramento area. It has also become a very desirable place in which to plant new churches. Virtually all of the new church plants in Roseville in the last ten years have shown reasonable growth patterns.
The church is located in what once might have been labeled an “across the tracks” location in the older part of the city, situated in a mix of dated commercial and residential units. In the first part of 1999, however, the City of Roseville not only widened the street on which the church sits but also finished a comprehensive and attractive landscaping program. The street now represents a renovated “gateway” to the downtown area. This thoroughfare connects the church with the city center on one side and a nearby freeway exchange on the other. This allows easy access to the church as well as a continual flow of traffic past the church. A regional mall that was opened just down the road in the Summer of 2000 has added to that flow. Continued growth of the church, then, remains a practical certainty for the church itself and its various ministries.
The present church campus houses a three story 1,100 seat sanctuary that was completed in May of 2001. In the Fall of 2001, the old sanctuary received a complete state-of-the-art youth theme upgrade by a professional design team and now serves as one of the signature youth ministry venues in the greater Sacramento area. In addition to the youth sanctuary and offices, the old building also houses several offices, the church print shop, a multi-use classroom, the youth activity room, a kitchen, and a chapel.
Next door to the Youth Sanctuary is the Lord’s Gym, a professional quality, full-service outreach facility geared toward the youth of the city. Lord’s Gym has been so successful in fulfilling its purpose of reaching at risk youth that that we are presently opening new gyms in other parts of the country and the world. Also on the church property are a number of temporary structures that have been transmuted into offices, classrooms, and storage facilities. The church has certainly done a great deal with just a little. The vision for the entire complex is to one day relocate the church and convert the present property into the Lord’s Gym Youth Outreach Sports Complex, a showcase gathering spot for the youth of our city that includes a full-service gym, skateboard park, sports fields, youth café, and Kiddie Playland.
Abundant Life was a new church plant by Pastors Doug and Janice Bird which they began in July of 1986.
It was neither a church plant of an existing work nor part of an institutional church planting strategy. Hybrid graduates of both Assembly of God and Rhema training schools, they simply felt a burden for the city of Roseville and responded to what they perceived as a call of God to plant a church here. Pastor Bird also had, and still maintains, a central driving vision for his ministry and therefore the ministry of the local church—souls! Though an effective pastor and church leader, Pastor Bird’s primary five-fold gifting and calling is as an Evangelist. Everything Abundant Life Fellowship does is oriented around bringing lost people to Christ. This focus occupies the center of the church mission statement, its program development, and the abiding consciousness of its members.
The church started in the pastor’s home in 1986. The first year saw the church grow to 45 members. They rented another temporary facility on Berkeley Street and in three years grew to 300. In 1989 the church purchased the bowling alley and renovated it for services. By running multiple services, the church had nearly 400 constituents by the end of 1993. A year later they expanded the sanctuary seating from 300 to 500 by removing an interior wall. Since then, running two services, the Sunday morning attendance has grown to over 1300 people. This figure includes those involved in Children’s Church activities that run during both services. Abundant Life Fellowship currently has over 1500 people who call our church their home.
The church has demonstrated strong growth patterns since its inception.
This is due not so much to organization or administration as it is to Pastor Bird’s single-minded passion to win the lost. In the first ten years of the church’s history, the decadal growth rate of the church was over 2100%! A healthy church has a decadal growth rate from between 100-200%. As you can see, God has greatly blessed the ministry of this local church.
Many factors have accounted for the rapid growth of this local church. Certainly, at the core of responsible factors, is the vision and drive of its senior pastor, Doug Bird. He has a passion for evangelism that is communicated in every service and subsequently transmitted through every program at Abundant Life. In addition to this passion for souls, the senior pastor is extremely supportive of new ministry ideas that others present. His philosophy is simply this – Go for it!. He’s very adept at letting others run with their vision. Because of that openness, dozens of viable ministries have started at Abundant Life and continue to involve its members in various aspects of church life. Much of the church’s growth can be traced to this freedom for the members to establish personal ministry points. If to this evangelistic passion and openness to ministry development we add dynamic worship services, congregational excitement, compelling altar calls, plus genuine acceptance of anyone, regardless of circumstances, then we have a good explanation for much of the growth at Abundant Life.
Other factors also account for our success. Our outreach programs are well known throughout the city. The Lord’s Gym Youth Basketball Leagues attract nearly 600 kids plus their families during each of the three yearly sessions. Adopt-A-Block heads out weekly into 13+ neighborhoods and ministers to people by delivering food and meeting other practical needs. Our weekly food and clothes closet along with our homeless ministry also focus on helping those that need a hand up. Many outreaches and events make Abundant Life a fun and exciting church to be a part of.
On the training side, we have a local school of ministry and various intern programs that have produced not only mature disciples and leaders for the local church, but a number of part-time and full-time ministers who are doing great things for God. Under the covering of the Abundant Life Ministerial Association, we now have over 100 licensed and ordained ministers in the field, some in evangelistic ministries, others in pastoral roles, still others involved in church planting processes.
Each week we bus in children for HIGHWAY KIDS Children’s Ministry. Our youth ministry, LORD’S GYM STUDENT MINISTRIES, ministers to over 100 teens each week on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. Every Tuesday night our College ministry, RELEVANT meets at 7:00 pm at the home of Mike and Lisa Hammons. Abundant Life has many ministries designed for all ages, children through adults.
A new premiere ministry is making a big impact on our church life as well as the life of our community: Adopt-A-Block!
Every week we send a team of dedicated volunteers into needy areas of our city to simply show the Gospel in action. Some volunteers sit and talk with the lonely, others mow a lawn, fix a fridge, or supply a bag of groceries. The Adopt-A-Block Team is always on the lookout for needs that they can meet through Christ-like acts of kindness. Love makes a difference!
One final, compelling strength of Abundant Life needs to be noted here – its pastoral staff. They are all strong, competent leaders representing over 150 years of combined ministry experience. Taken together they represent a balanced five-fold ministry team and demonstrate a remarkable solidarity. It is truly a ministry “dream team” and we are blessed by God to have them.
Such is the history and present position of Abundant Life. We are extremely excited as we look forward to the future. We believe that we can touch not only Roseville but also the world.