STARTING: REPLANTING A CHURCH
What happens when a church’s membership becomes too small? The people want to do great things for the Lord, but not enough money or hands are available to accomplish those worthy goals. This was the dilemma for Oak Grove Church in Spartanburg in 2015. They were down to 40 members, most of whom were senior adults. Finding themselves without a pastor, they called church planting strategist James Nugent to serve as interim.
Not far away, Hub City Church was meeting in a movie theater on Sunday mornings. Pastor Jonathan Everette had felt God’s leadership in planting a church, and in 2008 Hub City was launched, and they were growing in numbers. One limitation on the church, however, was the lack of a facility in which small groups could meet.
Since the pastors of both churches were friends, Nugent found it completely natural to ask Everette and his congregation to join Oak Grove in prayer as they looked for a church with which they could merge. Soon the answer came: God wanted these two churches to become one congregation.
Change is not easy, and some in both congregations were uncomfortable with the merge, but God continued to prepare the hearts of the people. As Pastor Nugent said, “Every time the move stalled, God did something to keep it going.”
A true encourager in the process was 86 year old John Sharpe. He spoke up to his Oak Grove friends, saying, “We’ve got to do this.” He later called the merge “the most rewarding experience of my spiritual life.”
New members are coming in as the church focuses outward in the community. Hub City Church has made it their mission to reach out beyond the walls of the church.
This church, like so many others in South Carolina, owes a great deal to the Janie Chapman offering, which provides funds for church planters to establish new churches.
- In Greenville there are quite a few churches that have dwindled down to just a handful of members, yet there are so many people in Greenville that need to know Christ. How could a merger between a “dying” church and a new church plant help to further God’s Kingdom?
- When a church focuses on itself instead of the community where God has planted it, that church tends to lose spiritual health. How can you help Rocky Creek to keep its focus outward instead of inward?
- For unity in the church as two congregations merge and welcome new members.
- For steadfastness in looking outward to the community and the world to win the lost for Christ.
Part of the 2017 Season of Prayer for the Janie Chapman Offering.