Welcome to Cedar Ridge!Thanks for checking out our website
Cedar Ridge Community Church is a diverse, open, and affirming community of followers of Jesus, sharing God’s love with everyone and working to make the world a better place for all. We invite you to join us on our journey of growing to be more loving people who recognize that change must begin with us.
We are a diverse group of people in the Baltimore/Washington area who simply believe a better world is possible and are doing all we can to make that real, both for us and those around us. We are followers of Jesus of Nazareth, and we passionately believe that God loves everyone with no exceptions. Although we are not a very “religious” community, we take our faith very seriously. We don’t think spirituality should be pushy or forced, and we are honest about our doubts and struggles. So we create space for everyone to ask questions, to wrestle with the bigger issues of life, and to go at their own pace.
We are passionate about becoming better people and working to help make the world a better place, so on this website you will find a lot of information about how we go about that and how you can join in. Below you’ll find a few frequently asked questions. We invite you to explore this site in general to find out a lot more information.
Our vision is a good place to start in learning about our church community.
We hope you will stop by and visit us on a Sunday. I look forward to hopefully meeting you soon.
What I love about Cedar Ridge is the people. I’ve invited many people to Cedar Ridge over the years, people from all faiths (and some with none at all) backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities, sexual and gender identities, etc., and I have never once had to worry whether they would be accepted and embraced as they were.
There are many opportunities throughout the year to get involved. See what’s ahead at Cedar Ridge.
At Cedar Ridge we value both the opportunity to gather in a larger group on Sundays and in small groups we call “Discipleship Groups,” an important part of how we live out our vision to follow Jesus in a setting in which we can get to know one another better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions that come up in conversations with visitors and newcomers to Cedar Ridge. We have provided some brief—and therefore incomplete—responses, but would love to talk to you directly about your thoughts or concerns. We don’t claim to have all the answers, and look forward to exploring the issues with you! Email email@example.com or contact lead pastor Matthew Dyer.
What programs do you have for kids and youth?
Children and youth are a priority for us at Cedar Ridge. Usually their Sunday groups track the message topics so families can have conversations together. We try to equip families and parents to help their kids grow in following Jesus, rather than thinking that children come here to get their spiritual teaching. We believe that discipleship is based in relationships, so we encourage all adults to interact with children and youth, and take responsibility for their growth. We don’t emphasize Bible memorization; we tell Bible stories and discuss how they might apply to a child’s life. Bryan Peterson oversees young children’s activities (through to elementary school), and Trish Audi oversees older kids and youth (middle school and up).
Does Cedar Ridge have programs that I can get plugged into?
Yes! We have small groups called Discipleship Groups that meet in people’s homes or at church to care for each other, help one another grow spiritually, and reach out to serve others together. There is a book study group that meets each Sunday for an hour before the service. From May to September, you are welcome to serve with us on the Cedar Ridge farm. Additional ways to serve can be found here. To learn more about Cedar Ridge and explore membership, sign up for the next Journey course. We are a very diverse and inclusive community, and we learn a lot by getting to know and love others who we might otherwise ne ver even meet, so our groups and events are typically intergenerational and open to all.
What will the Sunday service look like each week?
Our Sunday services vary, but we generally have a central message using scripture, and always have a time of prayer and worship with communion. We try not to use a bunch of religious jargon, so our services are accessible to people who don’t have a church background. We like to include rituals and prayers from various Christian traditions because we all experience God in different ways. You can learn more about our what to expect at our Sunday services here.
How and when did the church start?
CRCC started in our founding pastor’s living room with about 12 other couples in 1981. We spent our first decade as a nomadic church, meeting in different school auditoriums. A major fundraising effort resulted in the church buying this property, and we constructed the building in 1998. When our founding pastor, Brian McLaren, began traveling a lot as a Christian author and speaker, we conducted an extensive lead pastor search, and Matthew Dyer came here in 2006, by way of Vineyard churches in Cincinnati and England. You can find out more about the church’s leaders here.
Is all this property yours? How do you use the property?
The church sits on 63 acres, and several of the old farm buildings are historic preservation sites. We have renovated the Barn—that’s where our youth group meets, and we have other activities there as well. We are currently working with county authorities to rehabilitate the original farmhouse. We take our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s earth seriously. We support healthy wildlife habitat with bluebird boxes, fruit trees, wildflower meadows, and even bee hives—we make a bit of our own honey here. We started our community farm in 2009 using organic methods and we give all the food to the needy. Please explore and enjoy the property. We have a prayer walk that goes through the woods and down by the stream and also a built-in prayer labyrinth. Find out more about our property here.
How are you governed?
The members of our Pastoral Team set the spiritual direction for the church, working in conjunction with leaders from all areas of our community. Pastors and staff run the day-to-day activities of the church. As a non-profit, we have a Board of Trustees that makes sure we comply with all legal and financial requirements, holds the Lead Pastor accountable, and ensures we remain true to our vision. The Board approves all plans and budgets annually.
Are you affiliated with any denomination or parachurch organization?
No, we are an independent community church that is earnestly trying to follow Jesus in our own time and context through spiritual growth, community and service to others. We see ourselves as one small part of the church at large, and seek to work with other churches and faith communities. We call ourselves “multi-denominational” because we see strengths to draw from in many varied traditions. Some people refer to us as “progressive” because we see following Jesus as a journey that involves a lot of change over time.
What are your views on homosexuality?
We welcome and affirm everyone no matter what their sexual orientation. We have gay people, straight people, and transgender people here. All are welcomed and affirmed, and all are encouraged to follow and become more like Jesus in all areas of their lives.
Do you preach from the Bible? Are you a Bible-believing church?
We cherish the Bible, use it in messages and small groups every week, and teach our kids from it. We are committed to the essential truths and practices made clear in the Bible, which Christians have held in common through the ages. We do not worship the Bible; we worship God and follow Jesus as the ultimate authority. You can read more about our approach to scripture here.
Where can I find the Cedar Ridge statement of faith?
You can’t! We are a diverse community and we do not all subscribe to the same beliefs. We recognize we are all on a journey—setting out from different places and walking unique paths. But what brings us together is our desire to follow Jesus through growth, community and service. We do not all believe the same things, or agree on what is right behavior, but we are united by the fact we are all in a process of following Jesus. We share a common vision; we accept everyone (no exceptions!); and we support one another as we continue on our journey of faith. You can read more about what holds us together as a community here.
What does Cedar Ridge teach about being ‘saved’?
At Cedar Ridge, we emphasize that we are all on a journey of faith, and that salvation is not instant, but is a process of transformation from brokenness to wholeness, from death to life. We encourage people to follow Jesus to experience this lifelong transformation, but we do not believe we are called to be gatekeepers of who is saved and who is not: We recognize that God alone knows the real spiritual state of any person. At Cedar Ridge, we view “belief” in Jesus as being a daily commitment to following in Jesus’ way of self-sacrificial love, rather than an agreement with a set of theological statements. You can read more about this topic here.