Our Story

The History of SonRise Church

We would love to share a special video from our founding pastor, Daryl McCready, who will share about the history, heart and values of SonRise Church.

SonRise Through The Years

How it all started...

October 2001 – Where the journey began.
In the summer of 2001, Daryl and Traci McCready had been approached and asked to consider planting a new church.  After praying about it, they became very excited about the opportunity and felt God leading them in that direction. Following a three-day thorough church planting assessment, they were approved by the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware (BCMD) for three years funding to help start a new church!

November 2001 – Berlin First Baptist agrees to be our parent church
Daryl and Traci shared the news with the church they were attending at the time, Berlin First Baptist, where Daryl’s Father was the Pastor, and the church voted to support SonRise as our parent church!  Then Daryl’s dad challenged the entire church to pray and seek God to see who was to go help start the new church and he gave his blessing for anyone to respond.

January 2002 – Gathered the plant team.
Thirteen adults felt God’s calling to become part of the plant team to help Traci and Daryl start this new church!  After landing on the name SonRise they began weekly plant team gatherings to begin the journey! They studied every passage of Scripture that spoke to the purpose and mission of the church and from those passages developed SonRise’s initial seven core values of Evangelism, Discipleship, Relationship, Truth, Prayer, Worship, and Multiplication.  

March 2002 – Attended Church Planting Boot Camp
Daryl, Traci, and plant team member Andy Brown all attended a week-long church planting boot camp in Orlando Florida.  The boot camp taught them how to develop this new church and the steps they needed to take to do so.  It was at the boot camp that they developed SonRise’s Vision Statement of “Living Our Lives So Others Meet Jesus.”  This is still our Vision Statement today.

May 2002 – Practice services at Berlin First Baptist
SonRise held three monthly practice services on Saturday nights at our parent church to see what was needed to hold a worship service.  Our team had never led all the key ministries needed to lead a service. Things like: greeting, worship music, children’s ministry, and preaching! We held one in May, June and July and we consistently saw our numbers decline! We quickly learned that this was not an easy endeavor and that we would desperately need God’s power to succeed. It was a scary time for sure, but we were encouraged in our first service in May when someone attending made the decision to trust in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior!

August 1st 2002 –  The search for a location.
Finding a location to launch our weekly services was a very challenging task.  At that time finding vacant facilities or places to lease for Sunday Services were very scarce.  Only a couple of weeks prior to our soft launch, we reluctantly signed a rental agreement on a week to week basis for the Betting / Banquet room behind the grandstands at the Ocean Downs Raceway.  It was not a casino at that time but only a Horse Racing Track and there were no live races on Sundays so they agreed to rent to us.    

August 18th 2002 – Began bi-weekly preview services at the Horse Track.
We began the soft launch of SonRise Church and held the first of four preview services, one every two weeks, at the Ocean Downs Horse Track.  A soft launch is when you tell people in your immediate circles about the services but are at the same time promoting the official launch date at a later time.  This allows us time to work out some of the kinks and logistics. The meeting location was anything but ideal and it was very hard to find, however, God had a plan!  Our team was blown away on day one when sixty-one people showed up for worship and again we had someone make a first-time decision to trust in Jesus! We were so excited!

Expanding the vision...

October 6th, 2002 –  SonRise Church’s official launch date!
We officially launched on October 6th with ninety-one people in attendance!  Afterwards we had a BBQ in the park to celebrate and had even more people attend the celebration in the park!

August 17th, 2003 –  Moved to Stephen Decatur High School
We moved our location to the Stephen Decatur High School. We had worshipped at the horse track for one year almost to the day.  By this time God had grown us to become a church of close to two hundred in weekly attendance and we had witnessed more sixty-five people find salvation through faith in Jesus Christ! God had also developed in us the vision and love of café style worship which we have continued to this day. As result, when Lou Taylor the then principle of Stephen Decatur High School agreed to rent to us we asked for cafeteria instead of the auditorium. We held our first service in the school on August 17th with one hundred and seventy-six people in attendance.

October 2006 – Planted our first church plant
We hired our first church planter in January 2006 and allowed him to gather a team from our church to plant a new church called “The Gathering Tree.” Even though that church plant did not survive and later closed we have been passionate about helping to start and supporting church plants since that time. To date we have supported and assisted more than 20 church plants get started from Montreal to the Galapagos Islands!

July 2007 – Purchased the Worcester Highway Property
We purchased about nine acres that had a small existing building we made our office complex and thought that the property would be the permanent home of SonRise.   We had planned to build a church there eventually but discovered that we could not get approval for the church we needed to build due to utility limitations on that land.

November 2009 – Added two more core values
God continued to shape us and direct us and it became clear that there were two other core values of our church that God had called us to live out.  The first was Kingdom Cooperation which involves working with all God’s people to advance God’s Kingdom and not just our church.  The second was Open Handed Living which is the idea that God blesses us to be a blessing to others.

April 2010 – Attempted our first Multisite in West OC
This was our first attempt at multi-site growth.  Our church was growing stronger and stronger and our executive pastor at the time sensed a call to lead a church.  We decided to try the multisite strategy for this new work but it did not seem to take root and failed to grow at all and we closed that down about a year later.  Because we believe we cannot go wrong trying to grow God’s Kingdom we celebrated as that Pastor decided to plant his own church later.

October 2014 – Launched the Salisbury Campus
This was our second attempt at multisites. This time we hired a coach and went through a year-long training in multisite strategies with Geoff Surratt. The campus launched with about one hundred and seventy five people!

October 2016 – Launched the Princess Anne Campus
We attempted our third campus in Princess Anne two years later.  However, both the Salisbury and Princess Anne campuses struggled to become self-sustaining and in 2019 we merged the two campuses at the Salisbury location.

Where we are headed...

June 2016 – Purchased Main Street Campus
After a long negotiation process we purchased our new home on Main Street here in Berlin for $1,650,000 and began developing our new property. The twenty-two-acre property had four large buildings in excellent condition but all which needed extensive renovations to fit the needs of our church ministry.

January 2017 – Moved into the office complex
The first building we developed was our office complex which allowed us to move into our new home and sell the Worcester Highway Property.

July 29, 2018 – Moved our worship gatherings to our Permanent Home!
Finally, after sixteen years of being a portable church we moved into our new home on July 29th, 2018!  It was amidst a very challenging season for sure but God was faithful and we completed the work necessary to move our worship gatherings from the school to our new home!

August 2020 – Reached 1000 salvations since starting amidst Covid-19 Pandemic
Our church continued to grow and reach more and more people with the Gospel.  Then 2020 and the world-wide pandemic struck.  Like many churches we did the best we could to stay on mission through the challenges that we faced due to the pandemic and government mandates and restrictions.  But even in that setting God was moving!  We celebrated our one thousandth person receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior on August 16th and the decision happened in our Live Stream Venue which we had just invested in developing!

Going forward
As we continue to grow and move forward we are determined to develop and maximize this great property and resource God has entrusted to us.  We are committed to growing God’s Kingdom both here at SonRise and around the world.  We are devoted to sharing the Gospel with as many people as we can.  We desire to connect people to Jesus, help them grow to become more like Jesus, and to teach them to share their faith in Jesus with others. If you are looking for a church come and worship with us and join the story!!

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together a 8:30 am and 10:30 am.