Bayshore Bible Fellowship Church
by Vito Paratore
Grade 7, age 13
Lakewood, New Jersey
Have you ever gone to a church that sang contemporary music, used drama every other week, and used PowerPoint for the sermons? If you haven’t, then you should go to Bayshore. You could bring you friends too because it is a seeker-sensitive church. Bayshore has an exciting service.
Bayshore Bible Fellowship Church started in October of 1993 when Pastor John Vandegriff, Jr. and others prepared and planned for the first service. The first service would take place on November 6, 1994 at Lloyd Road School in Aberdeen, NJ. Pastor John started the church because he felt God leading him to start a church that is different from others, a church that would use Multi-media, drama, and contemporary music, a seeker sensitive churchthat if anyone who has never gone to a church would know what is going on. Pastor John wanted to have a service that he could use multi-media and drama to present a problem and give the answer in the sermon.
Bayshore Bible Fellowship Church has grown throughout the years. In 1995 the average attendance was 48 and it went up and down until 2001 when there were, on average, 71 people going. They started a youth group in June 2001 and now there are 15 kids attending.
An important factor for a church is leadership. Bayshore’s Leadership is headed up by Pastor John C. Vandegriff Jr. He uses Power Point for his sermons, making them easier to understand. He has many gifts and talents that help in the service. For instance, he can act pretty well and he can sing pretty well. He is able to tell stories well. He can teach and do the multi-media. John can present his sermons in a way that the people listening could understand him.
Bayshore has many ministries in the church like Christian education which consists of programs for the kids during the sermon. Becky Gallagher is the director. The youth group which is for teens is led by Jason and Lynda Falzarano. The youth group meets every other Thursday. Every week during the service everyone sings a couple of songs. Bayshore has certain people that are in the front of the stage singing. The group of people are Anna Popp, Nicole DelBuono, Kim Harsin, and Debi Karlstein. Karry Van Note is the music director which means that she picks the songs that go with the sermon the best. The music that the Praise Band sings is produced by the band. Jason Falzarano plays bass guitar . He is also the band director which means he is in charge. Dave DeRonde plays the acoustic guitar. Steve Ziegler plays the keyboard and John Harsin plays the drums. The sound board is run by Steve Ziegler and Lou Dombrowski is helping him. For example, they make sure that the bass guitar is not the only thing that you hear. Every other week they have drama. Plays and skits are performed by the drama team.
Trish DeRonde, the drama director, organizes the plays and tells the actors and actresses who does what part. Dave DeRonde, Julie DeRonde, Eddie DeRonde, Jason Falzarano, Lynda Falzarano, John Vandegriff Jr., Catherine Blanchefield, Kaitlin Desch, and Kim Harsin are the actors and actresses who actively participate in drama. Jon Vandegriff, III is in charge of the slides and projections for the media presentations and Power Point. Anna Popp is in charge of the backstage. The program director is John Vandegriff, Jr. which means he is basically the main director. John Mezzasalma is in charge of the lights,for example, the spotlight for the singers. Shawn Wirth is the overall coordinater. His job is to tell everyone what to do and when to do it. For example, he tells Lynda Falzarano when to open and close the curtains after a media presentation or a play. All these people come together and work as a team to make an exciting service.
Pastor John Vandegriff, Jr. has a couple of Bible verses that he has pointed out to me. The first one is found in Luke chapter nine verse sixty-two which says: Jesus replied,” No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the service in the kingdom of God.” He also pointed out a verse found in first John chapter three verse nine which says: No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. Those were the verses that mean a lot to him.
During the times that I have gone to Bayshore Bible Fellowship Church I have enjoyed the service. The Power Point presentation made it easier to understand the sermon. I enjoyed the drama. Sometimes it was humorous and sometimes it was serious. The songs were good and easy to sing because of the projection of the words on the screen. The band was great. I thought it was cool that everything went together for the service. I enjoyed the media presentations. Sometimes they would show clips from movies. The movie clips get the people into the service more because it might look familiar to them. I like going to Bayshore.
Some of the exciting things that have happened in the time Bayshore has been a church are baptisms. Pastor Vandegriff has found baptisms one of the most exciting things that have happened to the church. In fact, Pastor John baptized me not too long ago. Another exciting thing is that they will be moving to a building where they will lease and not rent. The First Aid Squad uses it now, but will share the building soon with Bayshore. It is on the corner of Amboy Ave. and Prospect Ave.. They are going to a hearing before the town about zoning on Thursday, March 23, 2002. They plan to renovate the building to make it meet their needs.
At Bayshore, you will have a good time because of all the exciting things that they do. The program committee works very hard each week to prepare all the aspects of the service to reinforce the sermon. I think Bayshore is a cool church. Want to come visit sometime?
Personal Interview: Pastor John C. Vandegriff Jr.