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After much deliberation and prayer, members at Water’s Edge church in Birch Bay, Wash. decided to keep their church open and to call Jim Carberry as a temporary pastor.

Almost five years later, he is still there and Water’s Edge has grown significantly from the original congregation of 15.

Due to its tendency towards failed churches,
Birch Bay has ominously been dubbed the “graveyard of church plants.”

As Jim Carberry describes it, “The one thing [Birch Bay] people have in common is the fact that they’re not very Christian.”

The diverse community of 9,000 consists of everything from rich gated communities to poor trailer communities.

“We have to get into the community,” says Carberry, who has brought this strategy to the Water’s Edge, and God has blessed the church.

On a door-to-door food drive, he and volunteers knocked on Katy’s door, a single mother of three. Despite having trouble putting food on her own table, Katy felt God’s call and graciously contributed to the food drive. Carberry invited her to church that Sunday.

Through the following months, Katy and her children became faithful attendees at Water’s Edge and invited next-door neighbors to attend with them.

God continued to work through this community connection, and after a year and a half, Katy and two other mothers and four of their children were all baptized and made professions of faith.

Today, God has grown Water’s Edge to a congregation of 70. New members don’t come from other churches. Rather, the church’s mission is to grow by bringing in people from the community.

Funding for Water’s Edge comes in part from the Whatcom County Kingdom Enterprise Zone, a cluster of Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America congregations supported by Christian Reformed Home Missions. This Kingdom Enterprise Zone continues to make a difference in Birch Bay and within the broader network of CRC and RCA church planters.

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