A fast expanding, community-focused church in north central California is impacting its area in ever growing ways. CIF issued two loans to help the 12-year-old Adventure Church of Yuba City to purchase and renovate a 43,000+ square-foot former bowling alley space that serves more than 1,000 church attendees each Sunday.
Just 45 minutes north of Sacramento, the church serves a Yuba City/Marysville metro community of 183,000 with a substantial Hispanic and Asian population. It’s also home to many Mormon and Sikh adherents, and some have visited the church. The economy in this regional hub and county seat is agricultural, with additional jobs in the public administration, health care and education sectors. Strong growth in households is projected.
Adventure Church began in 2012 as a non-denominational and Evangelical Free church. It was born out of a 2009 vision by Pastor Greg Mansur that was for “the right place but the wrong time.” Back then, he found Riverbend School as a potential meeting place, but it didn’t come through.
Mansur then left for a ministry position in upstate New York, considered moving to another area near Sacramento and then returned to Yuba City, meeting with about a dozen people in October 2011 to discuss the new church concept.
“Ten years ago, I was working at Walmart with no clear direction about the future of our family or ministry,” said Mansur in a 2021 Facebook post that marked the building’s purchase.
New church is born, on the move
Adventure launched weekly services in January 2012, meeting at (you guessed it) Riverbend School. There was much setting up and tearing down of equipment each week. By 2015, a larger facility was needed, so the church moved to a rented warehouse in August.
“From the very beginning, it’s been about the lost, the unchurched, the de-churched, people who just aren’t connected,” said Mansur.
Church considered buying warehouse, but God had other plans
Several years later, a substantial search began for a church home of their own. In 2019, Adventure looked into purchasing the three-building campus where it rented, but this didn’t work out.
Soon after, Nu Generation Lanes bowling alley came up for sale during the COVID-19 era. It was in a commercial area near hotels, stores and restaurants, and a massive Sunsweet Growers dried fruit facility. Thankfully, area zoning also allowed for churches.
Good structure, plenty of parking, answer to prayers
The 43,000+ square-foot steel building built in 1990 was in good condition and had 278 parking spaces. It sat on five acres, enough for 25+ additional spaces.
“We were always hopeful and prayerful that God would allow us the opportunity to purchase something for the long-term future,” said Mansur.
Moving quickly to secure property, make plans
The church needed to act fast to secure needed funding for the building and property purchase. Whereas many CIF projects combine a building purchase with a construction loan, Adventure Church separated the two so the building purchase could happen more quickly.
A real estate loan of just under $2.8 million was approved by CIF, with an additional note coming in the next year for just over $2 million to help cover renovation costs.
By the spring of 2022, the church was growing at an even faster rate than expected, and plans were moved up to complete the full renovation sooner. It was averaging 800 to 900 attendees each Sunday, with about 1,300 for Easter.
For the renovation, Adventure ran an 18-month “Momentum Campaign” to raise just over $500,000. Topping the list of renovation costs were electrical and mechanical improvements, finishes and framing.
Adventure’s Vision is, “To love God, love people and share the Gospel of Christ with a hurting world.” The church values biblical authority, intimacy with God, activated disciples of Christ, prayer, love for God and others and dependency on the Holy Spirit.
Adventure welcomes new attendees, saying it’s a place to belong and believe, a safe place to bring your kids and a place to ask questions.
A place to call home, bring others into God’s Kingdom
Renovations were 95 percent complete by the end of August 2023. Adventure held a three-day grand opening with guest speaker Ray Johnston, Thrive Worship, food trucks and an open house.
“The building is beautiful, we are grateful for it and it’s a wonderful home,” said Mansur.
It houses a 700-seat sanctuary with sophisticated sound and lighting and an LED wall. Toddler and nursery areas are close by. There are classrooms for younger children and a youth center with an extensive teen room.
Adventure Church has a myriad of ministry groups for growth, compassion, mercy, men’s and women’s ministries, students, seniors, prayer, local and international missions.
‘The church is not a building’
Executive Pastor Dave Sauer said the facility is unbelievable, giving God the glory for the physical setting He has provided. The focus, Sauer said, is on God, and what He’s doing.
“Two weeks ago, we had 21 people baptized,” said the pastor with a smile. “We don’t deserve that.” Sauer went on to explain that it’s not about the pastors either. “That is God moving in people’s lives, saying ‘I’m going to be obedient because I love God more than what anybody else thinks.’”
Mansur said more space equals more opportunities to serve their community.
In a recent sermon, the lead pastor said the congregation is not the building. “I love the renovations in this building. I love what's happened . . . these kids’ spaces are amazing. This youth center is still kind of a work in progress . . . it's ridiculous, like, how great that is,” said Mansur. “But we are not paint and we are not chairs and we are not lights and we are not LED walls.”
Mansur said the building is not a landing zone, but is instead a launching pad.
Strong partner, financing, enhanced potential
Speaking for the ministry team, Mansur said they are so grateful to have a partner in CIF. “They were the experts. They were patient with us, they were understanding, they were super clear in their communication . . . We could not recommend highly enough the great people at CIF.”
Adventure Church’s vision to reach its community for Christ has great potential, and plans are in the works to open up the facility for more community use.
Its hometown has grown by nearly 90 percent since 2000, to just under 70,000 residents. Yuba City sits across the Feather River from some smaller communities including Marysville.