WHAT TO EXPECT
Other than singing and preaching, you know, like at a church.
Dress Casual (pre-service)
Come as you are (as long as you're fully dressed).
Sunday's around here are relaxed and casual, yet reverent. No one around here's particularly fashion conscious, though Calvin Klein is the preferred brand.
Grab a Gift (pre-service)
The Center Church Grocery Tote
As you're greeted outside when you arrive, one of our greeters will get you a grocery tote bag that is filled with some gifts. (You have to come to find out what!) If you have children, our greeters will also help you get your kids checked-in for Sunday School.
Sunday School Check-In (pre-service)
As you enter the building, you will see a table that says "Center Kids." This is where you sign your children (or child) in for Sunday School. The kids join us for the singing and are then released along with their teachers.
Worship (the service begins)
The Singing Part
The call to worship begins with the ringing of a bell. This lets everyone who is out in the lobby chatting away know that the service is about to begin. All the lyrics to the songs are on a large screen. If you don't know the song, foot-tapping is allowed. The children join us for this part of worship.
The Giving Part
After approximately three worship songs, one of our elders (that word just means pastor) explains what our giving goes toward and then prays for the offering. While the offering is being received, there is one more worship song.
The Children's Part
After the offering and song, one of our elders prays for the children and Sunday school leaders and then releases them to the Sunday school rooms that are right down the hall. The safety of your children is a priority around here. (All of our volunteers are background checked.)
The Learning Part
Our sermons are straight from the pages of the Bible and then applied to us today. These are not lightweight self-help talks disguised as sermons. These are in-depth, God-has-communicated-to-humanity type proclamations.
The Lord's Supper
The Remembering Part
The sermon's application is given while sealed communion cups are passed out. The pre-sealed cups have both the juice and the wafer, so no fear of germs. Generally, we have communion every Sunday.
Donuts with the Pastor (post-service)
The Fellowship Part
After the service, guests are invited to "Donuts with the Pastor" where they can meet the pastor and the rest of our leadership team, hear our vision and values and just get to know us a little.
From beginning to end, the service runs 90 minutes. And even then, you'll be disappointed it's over. (There are only so many donuts.)
There are several ways to get connected here at Center Church and these steps are designed for you to take in the manner that is most comfortable for you (in no particular order). You can go as fast or as cautiously as you choose.
Starbucks with the Pastor
This is an open invitation, but it's a sincere one. Sit down with me (Pastor Thor) at Starbucks (I'll buy) and let's just get to know each other.
If you have never taken this first step of discipleship regarding your faith in Christ, let's have a conversation about that at Starbucks (see above).
Begin by taking the "Gifts & Passions" test. Just click the link above that says "test" and you're on your way. We'll follow-up with you afterward.
Our goal is to educate parents in the gospel that parents might educate their children in the gospel. No one will have more influence on your children and their relationship with the Savior than you.
Be part of a community! Center Groups are simply groups of people who gather in homes to worship, read the Bible, pray, enjoy gospel-centered discussion, and eat some snacks. These groups consist of seasoned believers, newer believers who are learning to live on mission, and those not yet convinced of the truth of the gospel.
We offer small groups, which we call Center Groups, twice each year. The first session of groups begins in September and lasts for 12 weeks. Our second session of Center Groups begins in February of the new year and runs for 12 weeks.
If small groups are new to you, then we have our four-week Spiritual Discussion Group (on Mondays). You can jump in at your own convenience. The group lasts four-weeks. Each week is topical, which allows you to start whenever you like. We cover questions like, "Why would God allow suffering and evil?" and "How reliable is the Bible?"
SUNDAY MEN'S GROUP (evening)
(Weekly for 12 weeks) 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. @ 23689 Cruise Circle Drive, Canyon Lake
Subject: Love & Respect Marriage Series
Starts: February 17, 2019 (weekly for 12 weeks)
For info: Daniel Cleary
(Weekly for 4 weeks) 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. @ Starbucks 31800 Grape Street Lake Elsinore, CA
Everyone believes something, but most of us don't ask why we believe what we believe. This group helps people who are skeptical of the Christian faith dig deeper into not only what they believe at the moment but why they believe it. All perspectives will be treated with respect. This group is designed for those who are open to honest spiritual investigation about the claims of Christ. Just come and check it out. Try it once and if it’s not for you, you have no obligation to come back. So, why don’t you check it out just this once?
Start Date: This Monday
Duration: 4 weeks (7:00 - 8:00 p.m.)
For info: Thor Ramsey
(Weekly for 6 weeks) 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. @ 31925 Birchwood Dr., Lake Elsinore
Subject: The Meaning of Marriage Series
Starts: February 18, 2019 (weekly for 6 weeks)
For info: Steve Adler
WEDNESDAY WOMEN'S GROUP (evening)
(Weekly for 12 weeks) 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. @ 25345 Forest Wood Circle, Menifee
Subject: Love & Respect Marriage Series
Starts: February 20, 2019 (weekly for 12 weeks)
For info: Carmen Eide
"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth..." Ain't that the truth!
I have always been convinced that most comedians are just preachers who haven't answered their call, so after 20-years as a full-time standup comedian, I answered the call and helped plant Emmaus Church (you win a Christian maturity ribbon if you can pronounce Emmaus) in Redlands, California, which is now eight-years-old and going strong. Then I was a teaching pastor at Canyon Lake Community Church for four years and have now ventured back into church planting as the lead pastor of Center Church. (You get nothing if you can pronounce that, except the satisfaction of being hooked on phonics.) We celebrated our two-year anniversary Easter of 2018.
Westminster Seminary California allowed me onto their campus even though I baptize grownups. That seminary and its professors have been formative in my life.
But not as much as my wife who I have been married to for 25 years as of July 2018. As a couple, we are both advocates of orphan care, having adopted Kate when she was 11 days old. That's me in that selfie with my wife Dinika, our daughter Eden (17), and our daughter Kate (9). I guess it's not a selfie after all. It's an us-ie.
Children's Ministry Director
Our Children's Ministry is lovingly led by a team consisting of Jenny and Dan Cleary, and Dinika Sides. But since Jenny takes the brunt of the administrative responsibilities, she gets top billing, so to speak.
Jenny works with families during the week as an education specialist for River Springs Charter Schools, so managing the education of children is always on her radar. Dan is one of our elders and teaches economics along with government at Martin Luther King Jr. in Riverside.
Dinika Sides is my wife who gave up a career as a corporate executive to homeschool our children. (Long story on the last name thing.)
The goal in children's ministry is the same goal as the rest of the church -- that Christ is the central figure in every Bible story.
In the selfie above -- Jenny is pictured with Dan and their girls Julia (10), and Charlotte (8).
Steve Adler is a consummate rocker, as in rock n’ roll back when it was rock n’ roll and not whatever it is now. Techno. Exactly. Tech? No. The first rock concert Steve attended was KISS in 1979 and yes, he was in full makeup. Thankfully for us, he has left face-painting behind and leads the worship team at Center Church.
Steve brings his passion for the Lord into the sanctuary and with every note of his guitar. If there is an instrument, whatever it may be, Steven can probably play it, even the ukulele. He started playing music at 11-years of age, was awarded a gold medal at an international music festival with a jazz ensemble in 1984. He is a first class bass player, but his skills go far beyond his instrument of preference. This is why one of his great gifts is in developing other musicians and singers into worshippers who sing to the Lord with their whole heart and on key. Praise the Lord.
Steve has been married to Tammy (who was such a good sport for this selfie which came without warning) for 26 years in October. They have three children, one in college (Dave, 21, studying psychology at Cal State Long Beach), one who just graduated college (Michaela, 22, BS in geology from Cal State Fullerton) and Sam (17) who's still at home.
Rigo is being trained as our first church planter to be sent out from Center Church. Lord willing, he and his family will start another church in the next two or three years in another community, city or country. His wife Vel is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools their four children. Their fifth child, Joshua Calebe, was just born August 18, 2018.
Part of Rigo's past ministry experience has been as a youth pastor, so he has offered to launch our Center Church Youth Group this fall. At present, it looks like we'll be focusing on Middle School youth.
Center Church Youth will not be a fun-and-games based youth group, not that there won't be some fun and games. But the focus will be on helping the kids understand the Person and work of Jesus Christ in their lives, equipping them to understand what they believe and why they believe it.
We are looking forward to what God will do with the youth of Center Church.
Rigo is pictured in this selfie with his wife Vel and their kids Kaylin (16), Tiago (11), David (10) and Paulo (6) and Joshua (baby).
After a year of meeting weekly (except on occasion) to study John Frame's Systematic Theology and to discuss and pray over insights and questions, our elder candidates were confirmed by unanimous congregational vote. We continue to meet to study the Bible and pray, because in order to lead we must not only know God's heart (the Bible), we must have God's heart (prayer). And that is the focus of our elder meetings. That is the place from which we lead.
Daniel is a professor at Martin Luther King Jr. in Riverside, California. He has been married to Jenny for 17 years and they have two lovely little girls, Julia and Charlotte. Daniel also serves as church treasurer. His wife Jenny works for River Springs Charter Schools as an Educational Specialist where she works with homeschooling families.
The complete Steve Adler bio can be found above (as our worship leader), but Steve has also felt the Lord challenging him to deeper waters, so he also became an elder at Center Church and heads up our Angel Tree outreach. Steve's wife Tammy works for Walden Family Services, an adoption and foster agency, as a nurse.
Rigo Tovilla Jr.
Rigo and his family (wife, Vel, and kids Kaylin, Tiago, David and Paulo) have become part of our Center Church family as Rigo is being trained as our first church planter out of Center Church. He and his family will start another church in the next two or three years in another community, city or country. Vel is a stay-at-home mom who homeschools their four children (with another on the way).
How to Become an Elder
An elder is a man who meets the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, is recognized by the congregation as an elder, and leads the congregation by teaching the Word (1 Tim. 3:2), praying for the sheep (Jas. 5:14), and overseeing the affairs of the church (1 Pet. 5:2). We believe God calls an elder. Church leadership affirms or denies someone's calling. In short, let us know if you think you're called to be an elder and we'll begin the conversation.