Raiders chaplain to open new church on Easter
This Easter Sunday brings with it the grand opening of the brand-new Bridge Point Church. And the church’s founding pastor might be familiar to local football fans: Oakland Raiders Chaplain Adam Ybarra.
Ybarra’s first service, titled “Does My Life Really Matter?” will be held at 10 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 4. The church will meet at 10 a.m. this and every Sunday at Ruby Bridges Elementary School, 351 Jack London Avenue.
“It was just something that had been stirring in our hearts,” Ybarra’s wife, Anna, said of the couple’s decision to start a new church in Alameda. “If we’re feeling something so strongly, we felt we should just do it.”
Demographics played a part in the couple’s decision, too: Anna Ybarra said her husband found that less than 6 percent of Alameda County residents attend church, which to him indicated a need. And the Ybarras had spent lots of time here in their work with the Raiders and the players’ families. He has been the team chaplain for a decade, while she has led Bible study groups for the players’ wives and girlfriends.
Anna Ybarra said her husband toured Alameda in an effort to find a location for the new church, and he was struck by the need in the West End neighborhood they ultimately selected. The couple has been working in earnest to start the church for the past six months.
“It looks like a great area, but if you cross the street, there are these people who no one’s reaching out to,” Anna Ybarra said.
Ybarra once was in the same position as the thousands of youths he’s reached out to: The San Jose native grew up in a single-parent home living off welfare checks surrounded by drugs and gangs. According to one press release announcing his work, Ybarra even used and sold drugs himself before turning his own life around with the help of the San Jose church where he eventually served on the pastoral team (his moving story is here).
In addition to his work with the Raiders, Adam Ybarra founded The Tenacious Group, which has provided outreach to more than 350,000 youths in the United States and Africa, and he has served on the pastoral team of the Cathedral of Faith Church in San Jose. He is also the creator of Raising Expectations Standards and Honor 180, a motivational curriculum for youth.
The couple expects to move to Alameda with their two children sometime in the next few months, Anna Ybarra said. And they’ve recruited helpers to work as greeters, to provide children’s programming and to perform other tasks as the church gets off the ground over the next few months.
The church will follow their Easter opener with a two-week series called “Living With Purpose.” Their phone number is 520-5444.