Our next ministry partner is Project HOPE Foundation, an organization that offers a lifespan of services to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.Read More
Our first ministry partner out of four is Jump Start, a discipleship ministry that serves current prisoners in 17 South Carolina state prisons and also assists former prisoners with re-entry to society.Read More
We have a team in Puerto Rico this week specifically working on earthquake relief through construction and care.Read More
We Choose is our two year ministry plan. It is a strategic way to budget, discuss, raise, and spend resources in a manner that will help us accomplish our mission of making disciples.
We Choose sustains the ministry we have already been entrusted with, as well as looks ahead to future opportunities God has put in our path.
Didn't get a hard copy?View our ministry plan
Our next ministry partner is Project HOPE Foundation, an organization that offers a lifespan of services to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
-1 in 59 children is diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
-Grace and Project HOPE working together:
1) We have committed to giving Project Hope Foundation (PHF) $100K/year for two years.
2) PHF offers services at seven locations across the Upstate, including one Grace campus, and hopefully a second in 2020.
3) More than 200 Grace members from all ten campuses helped clean and paint the PHF school in Landrum last year.
-You can learn more about Project HOPE by clicking below!
Our first ministry partner out of four is Jump Start, a discipleship ministry that serves current prisoners in 17 South Carolina state prisons and also assists former prisoners with re-entry to society.
-96% of people who complete both the inside and outside programs do not return to prison.
-Grace and JumpStart working together:
1) We have committed to giving JumpStart $112K/year for two years.
2) We share staff: Inside Program Director of Jump Start, Cary Sanders, also works on Grace Outreach staff.
-You can volunteer with Jump Start by clicking below!
We have a team in Puerto Rico this week specifically working on earthquake relief through construction and care. They are helping build temporary structures and counseling many individuals and families who have lost their homes. Please be in prayer for them and especially for the families we are serving there.
We have staff members in both central roles and campus staff roles all over the Upstate! We want you to get to know some of them as you stay updated on the life of our church. Click below to learn about one of our women's ministers, Cindy Barwick!
As a church, we believe it is crucial to take a look back at how God has been working in the past as we move forward into the future. One way we do this is through a digital document called our "Year in Review" that walks you through everything that has happened in the life of our church in the past year. It is exciting, humbling, and encouraging! If you haven't gotten a chance to scroll through it yet, click below.
Continuing our recently-started three-year Grace Institute Nicaragua in Chinandega, Tom Fowler has returned for the week to train approximately 70 pastors and leaders. Tom is leading the participants through two studies: 1) Study of the Holy Spirit; and 2) Bibliology - A Study of Biblical Doctrine. These classes continue to lay the foundation for the curriculum to be executed over the next 36 months. Please pray for Tom and all the students who participate.
We are so excited for the opening of Jasmine Kitchen! Jasmine Road, one of our ministry partners, will open a restaurant this month, providing job training, employment, and career-building opportunities to survivors of sexual exploitation and addiction.
Jasmine Road is South Carolina's first two-year residential program for adult women survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. You can find out more about Jasmine Kitchen and Jasmine Road below.
We thought it would be fun for you to get to know some of our staff that you may not run into at your campus! Get to know Madei a little! ⬇️
What is your job title? Graphic Designer
What do you enjoy most about your job? Making Matt Williams' teaching slides every week. ;) But really, I most enjoy working with our awesome Communications team and pitching in on print layout projects where I get to bring to life ideas from our campus and ministry staff in engaging and interesting ways.
What campus do you attend and what is your favorite thing about it? Travelers Rest! We just joined a new TR community group this year and it meets two doors down from our house—now that’s local community! Not only is it convenient, but our group has been amazingly vulnerable, real, and intentional with each other in just a few short weeks.
What are you most excited about right now? Watching my two-year-old and my nine-month-old begin to play together—their giggles are just about the best sound in the world!
What is one interesting thing about you? Being from New Orleans, I was a princess in a Mardi Gras parade when I was eleven, so basically, I’m royalty.
What is your favorite of the series graphics that you've made for Grace? Probably the one I made for the Citizens series because it was the first one I ever created! I still remember where I was in 2015 when my boss called and asked me to make it.
This past weekend, we held our first annual Camp Impact Junior Staff Christmas Party in Allendale County. Junior Staff members (ages 12-17) are from the Allendale community and serve at Camp Impact during the summer, while also taking leadership, life skills, and bible classes for six weeks.
Nine volunteers from Grace Church attended the event. After sharing a meal and celebrating with Christmas games, we broke into gender-specific small groups, where we introduced Men's Roundtable and Ezer curriculum to these students for the first time!
As an extension of the last decade of ministry in Kenya, we have been working with our partner, Bernard Karubu, to expand our ministry into nearby Rwanda to help train and equip other pastors there. We are excited about ministries in three African countries (including our members, the Nelsons, living in Cape Verde) meeting together and the ways God is using our service and relationships in Kenya to meet needs and provide similar training in Rwanda. Watch the video below for more details.
Bernard also runs our OVC Kenya program as we continue to make efforts to care for orphans and vulnerable children. If you are interested in helping with this program, here's how you can help: We need 8-10 more advocates for our OVC high school and college-aged children. High school support is $50/month and college support is $100/month, and we ask advocates to commit for the duration of the student's schooling. You can apply to be an advocate below.
Grace Church foster families recently attended special training on Trust-Based Relational Intervention by Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. This training was aimed towards not only helping foster parents understand the relationship histories of children from “hard places" but also to give parents tools to move forward and deepen connections with them. This training will be moderated by Kelly Childress, a practitioner of Trust-Based Relational Intervention who was trained at the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. Goals for this training were to: gain knowledge and insight about what secure attachment looks like between children and caregivers, learn helpful ways to build a connection with children who come from hard places and did not have secure attachment, understand the impact attachment history can have on children’s behavior, gain insight and awareness about how our own attachment history influences the way we care for children, and learn appropriate proactive strategies to empower children with behavioral tools.
On November 11, over 100 of our church family gathered together to learn more about one of our ministry partners, Homes of Hope, and how we can serve them.
Homes of Hope is working to provide foundational, safe environments for low to moderate-income families in the Upstate. By providing affordable, energy-efficient rental and homeownership options, their clients can now afford housing and power bills. Supplemented by Homes of Hope’s financial wellness program, affordable housing gives families the freedom of a disposable income so that they can begin saving and investing.
At Meet Homes of Hope, we shared several opportunities to serve with this ministry. If you missed the night and are interested in serving, click below.
That's a wrap on Fusion, 24Seven, and Forge Fall Weekends! Each ministry had a weekend retreat together where they spent time playing games, worshiping, sitting under biblical teaching geared towards their age group, and hanging out with their small groups at host homes. 5th-6th grade students learned about the power of our words to bring life or bring death, 7th-8th grade talked through their identity and significance that can only be truly found in Jesus, and our high school students were taught on humility and what it looks like to find freedom from performance in what Christ has already done for us. All the teaching from Fall Weekends is now available to you! Click below to watch.
When most people think of Mosaic, our ministry to those in our church family with special needs, they mostly think of our ministry on Sundays to adults, students, and children. However, we have the joy of serving adults and students during the week, as well. One of those components is our monthly supper club! Each month, a different community group brings dinner and joins our students and adults for fellowship and a meal together. This gives parents of adults and students with disabilities time to go out to dinner, and it gives our church family time to fellowship together. One of the goals is for our families with disabilities to feel supported and be strengthened by the community they have with each other and with our church as a whole. To learn more or figure out how you can volunteer, contact Madison Carithers, administrative assistant for Mosaic, at [email protected]
A couple of weeks ago, Grace hosted a breakfast for the Greenville Behavioral Health Coalition. This was a great time to learn about how to remove barriers related to mental health stigma and access to care. Faith leaders from across the Upstate were able to come together as one to hear from educators and speakers on this crucial topic. Leaders were also equipped with varying community resources at information desks that helped to broaden everyone's support network.
Because of the lack of biblical resources in Spanish, our desire is to create discipleship opportunities to fill that gap and translate studies as necessary. We have now translated all four of our Ezer studies for women—most recently, the A Woman’s Words study. Doris Bickel, from our Downtown staff, is traveling to Nicaragua to teach the female staff of our partners, Christ for the City International (CFCI), and some pastor's wives as well. Our goal is to equip the CFCI staff to teach this material in their churches and in nearby towns where they have relationships built.
We recently visited Leath Correctional with 25 of our volunteers and staff for a women's conference on finding freedom from shame. 60 Jumpstart participants learned that they did not have to be bound by the shame of their past but instead could experience true freedom found in Jesus Christ.
We recently held a conference for some of our women who are leading in our church through Re|engage, re:generation, care ministries, our Ezer ministry, Grace Church Students, and more. We trained our leaders on "Active Listening" and "How to Create Trauma-Safe Spaces", and we announced updates on new materials and resources. We also had several organizations from our community join us to be part of a ministry fair to provide additional resources!
A group (pictured below) left Friday, September 27, to help run a conference for local missionaries in Papua New Guinea. We will be there for two weeks leading worship, teaching, and equipping these men, women, and children as they continue to pour out to the people in Papua New Guinea. Please pray with us that it would be a time of encouragement and nourishment for these missionaries. Click below to learn more from Matt Williams, one of our teaching pastors.
We value the individual passions and strengths of our members and believe that God intends to use them to build his kingdom both here and around the world.
Missions Grants is a funding program that invites our members to apply for yearly grants of $1000-2500 to support specific projects or programs of their personal ministry. Recipients receive financial support as well as personal encouragement, ministry development, and a communication platform. Applications for this round closed on October 10.
Click "Learn More & Apply" to find a list of current recipients and what they are doing with their grants, FAQ's, more details, and a section to apply.
Please also consider ways you can personally support, pray for, and encourage our members as they are serving.
This past weekend, our Grace en Español campuses held a women's conference for 120 women across all three of our Spanish-speaking congregations. These women will continue to meet in groups together for the remainder of the book study, Craving Grace, which was the foundation of the conference. Click "Read More" to hear from Nathalie Richard, who paved the way for this conference and heads up our women's ministry at our Grace en Español campuses.
We sent a team to Puerto Rico for the first time in August and it was a great trip! They served alongside Hunger Corp. to assist in building and restoring homes for victims of Hurricane Maria. We already have teams set for a November 2019 trip and February 2020 trip as well. Please be praying for these teams and for our friends in Puerto Rico during hurricane season.
Our next Puerto Rico trips are set for August 8-14, 2020 and October 31- November 6, 2020. You will be able to apply for these after the start of the new year.
One of our partners, JumpStart, was recently featured on the Greenville News, telling the story of a couple of men who have been impacted by the program and the ministry's efforts. JumpStart’s ministry focuses on long-term discipleship of men and women currently in prison and those recently released. The discipleship program is led by program graduates inside prisons and is supplemented by volunteers.
The Greenville News article begins with the story of Don Williams, who, in 2003, "was days away from finishing a year-long sentence for a drug trafficking charge at the Broad River Correctional Facility when he got a call from his sister. His oldest brother, who had been released from the same prison a few months before, overdosed on heroin after eight years clean, triggering a fatal heart attack . . ."
We are committed to supporting orphans and vulnerable children in our community in numerous ways, including supporting the DSS staff who tirelessly serve the children and their families. Recently, we collaborated with Alfmeier Friedrichs & Rath and the Greenville Foster Parent Association to refurbish the Greenville County DSS visitation rooms to help provide clean, durable, and welcoming spaces that foster an encouraging atmosphere for children, their families, and staff.
Click below to learn about different ways you can support fostering and adoptive families.
We are not only a multilingual church but strive to be a multicultural church as well, as we step into a growing and changing area in the Upstate. Our Grace en Español congregations continue to meet in three different locations weekly (Harrison Bridge, Spartanburg, and Taylors) with over 250 people in attendance. Throughout the Grace en Español congregations, we have 17 countries represented.
Click below as Robby Richards, our Grace en Español Campus Pastor, introduces this idea to our church at large. If you or someone you know is bilingual or Spanish-speaking, you can access all of our Spanish teaching here or on our Grace Church app.
Welcome home, Greer and Anderson campuses! Both of these congregations have moved in to permanent buildings. Watch the video below to catch a Sunday morning in their new homes!
We are trying to equip and motivate our members to get involved in someone else's life, meet their needs, and help them grow in their relationship with Christ. With this lens, we have made several decisions of how to best use our finances as a church. Please watch this financial update from David Delk for all the details.
Continuing a partnership started 16 years ago, we are excited to launch a new three-year Grace Institute Nicaragua. Tom Fowler and Herson Lopez will be training approximately 70 pastors & leaders in Chinandega, Nicaragua from August 26-30. To kickoff the new set of classes, the participants will go through 2 studies: 1) Soteriology; and 2) Survey of Genesis. These classes help set the foundation for the curriculum to be executed over the next 36 months. Our teams are excited to return to Chinandega, as it takes us back to our "roots". The first Grace Church team to serve in Nicaragua spent a week serving in a local church in Chinandega, and the city is also the childhood home of the Christ for the City International - Nicaragua Directors, Fabricio & Claudia Mendoza.
This past Sunday, August 20, was Student Kickoff! We had over 1,400 5th-12th grade students across all campuses come to Fusion, 24Seven, and Forge program! This semester, Fusion (5th-6th grade) will be studying Key Relationships, 24Seven's (7th-8th) curriculum will be about the life of a Believer, and Forge (9th-12th) will be looking at what we idolize over God in #LifeGoals.
Click below for more information on Grace Students, and follow us our new student Instagram account at @GraceStudentsSC!
Another summer of Camp Impact is in the books! Here's a snapshot of our summer in Allendale, SC:
-90 campers (most have been at Camp Impact for all 3 years of camp)
-213 Forge students (278 including leaders) served on short-term trips to run camp and provide hands on support all summer
-8 Camp Impact staff who acted as camp leadership for six weeks while living in Allendale
-19 junior staff members (11 from Allendale, 8 from Grace Church) who acted as "camp staff in training" while taking leadership and Bible classes)
If you want to learn more about the camp staff experience, click below (applications will open in November). And to watch the video of this past summer in Allendale, click "watch video"!
One of our ministry partners, Project HOPE, was recently featured in Greenville Journal. We're excited for the long-term work they are doing to serve people with autism, and we are grateful to get to partner with them as they continue in their ministry. Click below to read the article or learn more about Project HOPE.
Over 900 backpacks full of school supplies were collected across 8 of our campuses last weekend. Thank you to all who participated in this year's Back-to-School Drive!
We want this to be a starting point for building relationships with kids in care and those who work with them throughout the year! We have full-time staff available to help you consider how you might support the foster community, whether working with children directly or serving those who do. We have people in our church body who provide free childcare, freezer meals, haircuts, tutoring, birthday cakes, home repairs, and so much more; the possibilities are endless! Click below for opportunities and to reach out about other ways to serve.
Our Anderson and Greer campuses will meet in their new buildings for the first time on August 11! Click "Watch" to get the full update from Bill White, one of our teaching pastors.
Our Downtown campus has been partnering with League Academy for the past school year and will continue to walk alongside their faculty, staff, and students in the upcoming year. In the last year, here are some of the ways Grace Downtown was able to serve:
-Kept the food pantry stocked for 28 students to take home each weekend
-Funded an after school program for students who cannot afford the normal costs for after school care
-Recruited mentors (partnership with Mentor Upstate)
-Had community groups write encouraging notes to teachers and pray for them
Click below to hear from League Academy principal as we celebrate the past year!
Our Greer campus will be moving into their new facility soon! We recently got to have a prayer night together at the new building, specifically praying for God to use our church and our new place of worship to make disciples in our community. As we thought through Ephesians 3:13-21, we walked through each area and prayed over the ministry and discipleship that will take place there. We took some time to talk through how we want to glorify God (v. 21) by making mature disciples, “made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God”(vs. 19), and living out our core value of being prayerfully dependent with boldness due to God’s ability to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (v. 20). We also had the opportunity to write prayer requests on the floor of the stage for our friends and family in the community. We are so thankful for this opportunity! Our first service in the new building will be Sunday, August 11.
The Nelsons, Grace Church members, are serving in Cape Verde with their two children. They lead a gap year program called Global Year, sending students on a gap year to live and work in areas of the world that are either unreached or have very little access to the gospel.
We are making a two year commitment to the Nelsons as our first missions partners. Missions partners are covenant members serving in a ministry capacity outside of the church, and they will receive financial assistance as well as ongoing encouragement and support. Please join us in praying for the Nelsons and their ministry in Cape Verde. Click below to watch their video or click here to learn more about Global Year.
Outreach and missions is centered on our core value of being "Culturally Engaged". Through engaging our neighbors locally and internationally, we can strategically create relationships that provide opportunities to share the gospel and care for those in need.
Click "Read More" for what the Wood family had to share about their experience on the Chicago trip together!
In two days, June 22, three Grace Church members and staff leave for follow-up training with pastors and leaders in Nicaragua, specifically in Rivas (2010-2012) and Matagalpa (2013-2015). Merritt Anderson will be teaching our "Leadership Values" course, David Vaughan will be teaching a "Study of Parables", and Wes Cavin will be leading a session on "Growing Church/Christian Unity".
Summer interns are here! Be sure to say hey to these guys when you see them around. They’ll be with us until August, working with various ministries and campuses while serving and taking internship classes. Watch this video introducing each of them!
In January, we began a series of discussions on “The African American Experience: How We Got Here” in order to better understand our current situation in the Upstate and beyond, and to discuss how our church can help bridge some of the gaps that still exist. Click "ACTION ITEMS" below for eight action items that we have taken as a church over the last few months.
To visit our page on "How We Got Here", including the full discussion on video, and the downloadable notes, resources, and presentation, click here.
Eight college students are spending seven weeks of their summer running Camp Impact in Allendale, SC. They got here last week and will be here for the rest of this week training before they head out. If you're going on a trip this summer, be sure to say hey! Click "WATCH" below to meet our Allendale Camp Staff!
To learn more about Allendale and meet some of our key partners, watch this video.
To read more about our partnership with Allendale, click here.
We have the privilege of writing biblically-oriented worship songs that our congregation can enjoy. "Hope to Carry On" is a Grace Church Worship original song based in Paul's letter to the church of Thessalonica. In the midst of persecution and uncertainty, Paul was calling the church to stand firm in their faith and to walk in holiness as they anticipate the return of the Lord. Not just in their own power, but through the encouragement and life change that comes through selflessly loving each other.
"And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen."
— 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
Because we are driven by the desire to do discipleship in the community we are surrounded by, it is important to us to have a permanent location for each local congregation in our church family. Our Greer and Anderson campuses are under construction in completely new buildings and will be finished soon! Click below and scroll down the page to see the Greer and Anderson building progress pictures, or click "watch" to hear Matt Williams give an update on each.
Zach Mercado, our Harrison Bridge Students Director, will be teaching this weekend on 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28. Get to know him a little! ⬇️
An important partnership for us is supporting DSS across several communities in the Upstate. One of the ways we have recently done this is through our Foster and Adopt Resource Center. Some of our volunteers from the resource center have cleaned and replaced the toys in the DSS visitation rooms for foster children and their parents. We will continue to clean and replace toys in the rooms for DSS as needed. Thank you to everyone who is helping out!
To learn more about our ministry for foster and adoptive families, click below.
As part of our ongoing commitment to invest in young leaders in the German church, as well as provide discipleship resources, we hosted intern Franziska Klein for seven weeks this winter. Click below to watch as her and Chrystie Cole, our women's director, sit down to talk about her time with us and the difference in local church across different cultures and countries.
Our goal over the next years is to support or establish a healthy church with leadership development and DNA among the English-speaking internationals of Munich. This church can also serve as a base for supporting and resourcing young German church leaders.
Grace Church Equip exists to help advance the growth and success of the local church. On May 7-8, we hosted 22 churches and 3 nonprofits—65 people total—for a conference on how to do discipleship in the local church. It was an incredibly encouraging time and we look forward to continuing to help equip and build up other local churches. For more info, contact [email protected]
"The Equip conference gave us tools and strategies that are actionable and time tested. More than motivation and strategy, Grace Equip was an experience that reoriented us to the purpose most of us got into ministry—to see people changed to be more like Christ."
—A recent participant from Rock Hill, SC
Dr. Carson Felkel, the lead physician from Bon Secours Behavioral Health, further equipped our staff today in assessing suicide risk and learning to identify mental health issues while caring for our members and their families. We also heard from Ken Bickel about Family Grace and the support it offers to family members.
Family Grace is a family support care group we offer for families and spouses of those with a loved one dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulty or disorders. Click below to learn more about our care groups and to sign up if you are interested in being a part.
We choose to partner with JumpStart as they help prisoners, through Christ, move towards a future greater than their past. Recently, over 50 Grace members chose to go inside of Perry Prison to show appreciation to the prison staff for their difficult work and to learn more about the mission of JumpStart. Click below to learn more about JumpStart.
Our Chicago team (pictured below) and Allendale team (pictured above) are spending their spring breaks serving others!
Our Chicago team left this past weekend, and they are spending the week serving a local church with construction projects and VBS activities to further the church’s efforts in their own community.
Our Allendale leaves tomorrow and comes back April 20, coming alongside local Allendale churches for a weekend including a community service project and a field trip with kids in the community.
Chicago team pictured here.
We recently wrapped up our month of Grace Church Students retreats. Thank you to all the volunteers who spent their weekend with our students. We danced a lot, worshiped, played games, spent quality time with our small groups, and sat under teaching about pride, creation, parables, and who we are following. Needless to say—God was present, and lives are being changed in these students. We are grateful to know them and grateful that our parents give us the chance to speak into their students' lives. To watch the teaching and recap videos from each retreat, click below!
We are a multilingual and multicultural church, spanning across 12 campuses, in which three of those are Spanish-speaking. We have just launched two new Grace en Español campuses in Spartanburg and Harrison Bridge. We are excited for what God is doing through these communities! By clicking below, you can watch Daniel and Mariagracia tell their story of life change and finding a church family through Grace en Español, and you can also hear Matt Williams share the update on our new campuses.
This medical team is in Kenya this week, focusing on providing support for local churches as they seek to have a credible voice in their communities. To learn more and get involved in what we are doing in Kenya, click here. For real-time updates and photos from our Kenya team while they are there, click below.
What has changed?
While the situation in Nicaragua is still very fragile, we're seeing several encouraging signs. In addition to a resumption of talks and negotiations between the government, private sector, and religious entities, we are also learning about other missions teams from the U.S. that are returning to Nicaragua (medical teams, teaching teams, and construction/other humanitarian teams).
3 Minute Read
This past weekend, Bill White taught at our church plant in Charleston, Grace City Church. They are going through a series on Judges, and Bill was able to step in and teach on Judges 5. Grace City is pastored by Will Plonk and was launched over a year ago. Please continue praying for them with us as God works in the lives of their people.
To learn more about Grace City, visit their website. To listen to Bill's teaching, click below.
It takes a variety of churches to reach the city with the gospel. Mitch Miller is leading a church revitalization efforts at Griggs Memorial Baptist Church in the Poe Mill area of Greenville. Will Broadus planted Reconcile Church in an urban context in West Greenville, South Carolina. Grace is contributing $1250 / month to help these churches.
Retreat month is underway - this month we will have over 2000 students and leaders attend a weekend retreat where they are encouraged and fed spiritually.