New Church 2011 Holds First Service
The congregation launches with more than 600 people in attendance.
New Church 2011 held its very first service as a congregation Dec. 5 with more than 600 attendees.
According to Pastor Craig Bowler, the mission of the church is "being transformed by the Gospel to live and love like Jesus."
Bowler is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and was the director of spiritual formation at North Metro Church. He also serves in the humanities department as an adjunct professor for the University of Phoenix.
The church has not found a permanent home. It is holding services in various locations. The team planning the new church didn't know what kind of attendance to expect for the first service, held at the West Cobb Church between Marietta and Powder Springs.
The ushers quickly found themselves out of parking spaces. The sanctuary filled, leaving some standing or sitting in hallways or another room watching the sermon from a television monitor.
Sonny Lallerstedt, the worship leader at New Church 2011, led the congregation in praise and worship. Everyone stood and sang with Lallerstedt while large screens displayed the lyrics in the auditorium.
Bowler delivered a heartfelt sermon. He was animated, passionate and frank. The congregation laughed, cried and felt the sincerity of the message.
According to Bowler, he received a text the next morning that read: "Craig, my dad has been a pastor/preacher for 30+ years. He just told me that last night was the most powerful service he's experienced in his life."
The church plans its next service Dec. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at West Cobb Church,
1245 Villa Rica Road. Please RSVP at the church's website.
If you would like information about New Church 2011, call the 24-hour hot line at 888-231-6990 or visit www.newchurch2011.org.
Name: Craig Bowler
Congregation: New Church 2011 (no permanent name yet)
Where I was born: Boston, but I grew up in Southern California.
Where I live: We live in Brookstone III.
Where I went to school: Graduated from Mayfair High School in Lakewood, CA. Go Monsoons! Undergrad at the University of New Mexico. Graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.
Last nonreligious book I read: I just finished To Kill a Mockingbird.
Last movie I saw: Unstoppable.
First music I ever purchased: Styx, Paradise Theater.
TV show I can't miss: None.
Favorite sandwich: In-N-Out Burger, Double Double.
Mac or Windows: Mac.
When I'm away from the pulpit, I like to: I am a runner and coach Audrey's soccer team at the Northwest YMCA.
If I weren't a pastor, I would be: A professional surfer, why not?
Quotation I live by: "Come follow me."