Terrace Shores has a history spanning over a century with vibrant members who carry a diverse set of ideas and experiences, although we align on a set of core values and beliefs. It was St. Augustine who said: "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." We seek to understand God's plan for our lives as individuals and a community. Come enjoy life with us.
To glorify God by becoming and helping others become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ (i.e., To work at fulfilling the Great Commandments and the Great Commission, Mt. 22:37-40, 28:19,20).
Click here for 25 common questions about Christianity answered by Pastor Gary.
Our Core Values:
God's Revelation- We believe there's overwhelming evidence that the Bible accurately reveals God's loving message and plan for humans. It is our passion to learn what God has to say, to live it, and to communicate it in meaningful ways!
Growing Relationships Christianity is all about relationships--a personal relationship with God and close relationships with people. This is clear from Jesus' statement that the most important thing in the world is to love God and love people (Mt. 22:37-40). To discover what a growing relationship with God looks like, click here.
"In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ."
1. We are Bible-centered but not mean-spirited. We believe that the Bible is completely true and to be taken very seriously. However, we do not draw battle lines over minor points or make them a test of friendship. We value a humble and loving environment that is unified with our Lord, with each other, and with Christians from other churches (Eph 4:3-6).
2. We value relevance without compromise. It is our goal to express our faith in modern and meaningful ways without compromising the Bible or our character. There are many aspects of culture that should be adapted to help our friends know God, but there are some aspects of culture that cannot be adapted (1 Cor 9:19-23, Rom 12:2).
3. We value ongoing growth of both head and heart (See our Grow page). True faith is both rational and relational, and without good works it isn't alive (James 2:14-17). Therefore we value solid biblical content as well as a dynamic relationship with the Lord. We primarily teach verse-by-verse through both the Old and New Testaments, but we try to do so in such a way as to help people of all learning levels & styles learn to love Christ and His Word (John 5:39-40, 2 Cor 1:13).
4. We value healthy relationships, which includes (1) spending quality time with one another (2) being gracious instead of harsh or controlling; (3) being truthful and speaking what needs to be said instead of holding things in or manipulating (4) being vulnerable and accountable, and (5) setting healthy and biblical boundaries (Eph 4:15, Prov 27:5, 2 Cor 6:11-13, Gal 6:2, 5).
5. We value the entire family of God. We want all of us regardless of age or culture to make the effort to interact with each other, depend on each other, and worship together (1 Cor 12:12). This is why we value blending everyone's musical preferences in our services (Phil 2:1-5).
6. We believe that all truth is God’s truth. God has written three books - His Word, His World, and His People (Ps 19, 2 Cor 3:3). The special revelation of the Bible is most important, but valuable insights can be gained from the study of his world (i.e. science, psychology, business, etc) as well as from what God has done in the lives of His children.
7. We value gift-driven ministry. We want people to understand their spiritual gifts and serve accordingly (1 Cor 12). Ministries are most effective when they are being led by people who have the gifts and passion to lead them. Therefore, our church only does the ministries that we are genuinely gifted for.
8. We value congregational church government. Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church, and each member of His church has been given His Spirit, spiritual gifts, and responsibility to help the Church be healthy (1 Cor 12:13, Eph 4:11-16). In light of this, we value a form of church government where each member helps decide and govern the church’s affairs under Christ.
9. We value joy and humor. Laughter flows out of God’s joyous nature and is a way to help people relate to His message and messengers (Ecc 3:4, Gal 5:22). We value laughter in our personal relationships as well as in our church services.
10. We value utilizing our resources wisely. We try to do as much as we can for the Lord with what we have, faithfully using the resources and time with which God has entrusted us (Prov 6:6-8, 22:7b; Luke 14:28-30, Eph 5:16). We want to constantly reevaluate our usage in light of God's priorities, especially the worldwide need for the Gospel.
1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
The Human Condition
3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
The Work of Christ
5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
The Holy Spirit
6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.
8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
Response and Eternal Destiny
10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
Our denomination, the Evangelical Free Church, is an association of over 1,250 autonomous congregations joined together by common purposes, principles, and practices.
The word Evangelical refers to our commitment to the authority of Scripture as being inerrant in the original writings, and that Scripture is the only safe and sufficient guide to faith and practice. The word "Evangelical" also refers to our commitment to outreach. We seek to proclaim this "Good News" given by God, to meet the needs of man.
The word Free has historical significance. It refers to a declaration of independence from state interference and from domination by the state churches of Europe. Our church government became congregational, which means that the final authority, under the Lord Jesus, resides in each local church rather than in the denomination itself.
We are an Evangelical Free Church. It can truthfully be said, however, that our church has long been one of mixed ecclesiology, not just among members, but also ministers. We would like to think this results in a certain hybrid vigor.
How far back do we go? By one reckoning, 1863. That is when the building that served as our first meeting place was built at the junction of what are now county trunks T and TT, the site of what would become Weiser Cemetery. A German Evangelical Church, it became later in the 19th century the largest within the Wisconsin Evangelical Association. (Remember that, back then, most churches in the state were Lutheran and Catholic, with sizable numbers of Methodist, Baptist, and Reformed.)
In the 20th century, the church merged into the Evangelical United Brethren, and it continued its rural ministry until World War 2, when the gas rationing imposed on citizens made attendance difficult. Congregants chose churches within surrounding municipalities, and the little church in the vale closed.
Easter, 1954. The Reverend and Mrs. Erwin C. Westhause reopen the building under the name Pleasant Valley Community Church. Erwin was Congregationalist, and Ruth was Presbyterian, but this new communion of saints was organized as a nondenominational church of conservative Christian credentials generally matching those of Moody Bible Institute. People who had come in bygone days resumed attendance. The church grew. By the end of the decade, it had outgrown the antique, one-room building.
The Dodge family was in the process of founding a new lakeshore development called White Sails near the southwest corner of Green Lake. They wanted a good church within what they anticipated would become a thriving, even if unincorporated, community. Mrs. Margaret Dodge donated a lakefront lot to the Pleasant Valley congregation in 1960. Come Easter of 1963, Terrace Shores Community Church commenced ministry in a new chapel-style building.
Things went well until 1968. Then a church schism resulted in at least half the congregation departing. Thereafter, growth in numbers and finances stalled, but dedicated disciple-making continued. A hallmark of the Westhause ministry was sharing the pulpit with a goodly number of Godly guest professors, evangelists, teachers, musicians, pastors, missionaries, and artists, as well as former alcoholics and addicts. Male and female, they represented a variety of conservative perspectives: Baptist, Methodist, Reformed, even charismatic. Names some people may today yet recognize: Eugenia Price, Jack Odell, Warner Sallman, E. Merrill Dunlop, Ford Philpot, Bruce Porterfield, and Ray Mossholder. The Westhauses retired at the end of 1980. Sadly, the congregation then numbered less than a couple dozen people. Even so, the church would not close.
In the course of seeking a new pastor, the congregation decided in 1981 to affiliate with the Evangelical Free Church of America. The church’s first E-Free pastor, Paul Hansen, came with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Elizabeth, directly from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, even before he had graduated. A former staffer with Campus Crusade for Christ International (now Cru), Paul’s zeal helped quickly to turn things around. By 1984, the church neared a need to expand. Pastor Hansen wanted to launch a new building project; many people objected to abandoning picturesque and valuable real estate. Pastor Hansen acquiesced, but then took a post at a larger church outside Washington, DC.
Enter Art and Sue Volkmann, with their two children, Amy and Dan. Art has Methodist and Baptist background, Sue has Baptist. Both helped plant a Plymouth Brethren congregation in Illinois. He has been to Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, both as a student and as an employee. He has ministered to international students. Both have served as missionaries with SIM in Ethiopia.
It is 1986, and the church must again consider expansion. The decision acceptable to everyone is launching a new church in Ripon, which came to be called Trinity EFC. Pastor Volkmann did the Methodist circuit-riding thing and served both congregations until mid-1988, when...Mark and Sue Townsend, with their children Blair and Quinn, come to Terrace Shores EFC. Mark, though more or less of the Covenant persuasion, was also a graduate of Trinity seminary and had a background in law and finance. Expansion again became an issue. This time – 1989 and 1990 – the existing chapel got enlarged both above and below ground to provide more classroom space, a larger lobby, and a better kitchen. The Townsends took a post at a Covenant church in Minnesota in 1991.
Gary Zacharias has been the pastor of Terrace Shores EFC since 1991. Prior to that, he and his family served two other churches in the pastoral ministry, one Wesleyan and the other Lutheran (Missouri Synod). They served for a time as EFCA missionaries to the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Gary graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a double major in Bible Theology and Evangelism, attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to earn a degree in history, and then attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he received Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees.
Church expansion projects can be hard on ministers. During the Zacharias tenure, different strategies have been employed that have minimized wear-and-tear:
- In 1997 and 1998, the church cooperated with Waushara Community Church in the planting of an E-Free church in Montello. Terrace Shores EFC contributed congregants and money.
- In 2002, the church bought what is now the Turning Point, putting a strip joint out of business and providing needed space for youth ministry and other meetings.
- In 2005, the church building was again enlarged to provide a library and two more offices.
- In 2009, the church opened a second campus in Berlin called River Shores, which became an independent church in 2019.
-compiled by Donn Wright