January 6, 2023
Over the holiday break from school, our friends at Front Porch Housing hosted a Winter Camp for the kids who live there. Each day, about 15-20 kids got to hang …
relationally connected Front Porch Housing
Over the holiday break from school, our friends at Front Porch Housing hosted a Winter Camp for the kids who live there. Each day, about 15-20 kids got to hang out, play games, share meals, and participate in other fun activities. They even got to learn from the Greenville City Fire Department and visit the Greenville Zoo!
All this was made possible by over 200 volunteers (of all ages) who donated over 600 hours of their time to support this community. Thank you to everyone who participated—your heart for others is seen and appreciated!
If you are interested in volunteering with Front Porch Housing, there are many opportunities available. Click below to learn more.
January 3, 2023
Last month, our Pelham campus hosted a special Christmas Luncheon for DSS workers in Greenville County. These men and women serve foster children and families in our community tirelessly and …
foster and adopt pelham culturally engaged
Last month, our Pelham campus hosted a special Christmas Luncheon for DSS workers in Greenville County. These men and women serve foster children and families in our community tirelessly and often without thanks, so we wanted to find a small way to show them that we see and appreciate all they do.
About 150 people attended the event, and they got to enjoy a delicious lunch, Christmas goodies, games, a photo booth, and simply spending time with one another. We loved seeing joy on everyone’s faces, and one participant told us, “I was so honored that Grace Church would do something so special for DSS workers.”
Supporting our DSS workers is just one way we seek to serve the Foster & Adopt community. If you are interested in learning more about our Foster & Adopt ministry and how you can get involved, click below.
December 21, 2022
During the Christmas season this year, all our campuses served their communities through seasonal giving projects. Thank you to everyone who participated—this was a special way to show Jesus’ love …
During the Christmas season this year, all our campuses served their communities through seasonal giving projects. Thank you to everyone who participated—this was a special way to show Jesus’ love to those around us. Check out each campus’ project below!
Anderson—collected about 100 coats for youth at Homeland Park Primary School and Westside High School. They also adopted four families from the Homeland Park area who have been through a season of challenges, bringing them each a Christmas meal and gifts for their whole family.
Downtown—partnered with Front Porch Housing this Christmas to provide Visa gift cards to families for Christmas shopping. Over $5,300 worth of gift cards were collected!
Greer—partnered with Greer Relief to help with their Renew Christmas Shoppe, which is where our neighbors participate in the Renew program to earn rewards to participate in the Christmas program, which includes dinners and toys under the Christmas tree.
Harrison Bridge—hosted a Thanksgiving Food Drive for The Good Shepherd Free Clinic.
Pelham, Travelers Rest, & Español—partnered with the Greenville County Foster Parent Association to provide $100 gift cards to either Target, Walmart, Amazon, or a VISA Vanilla to help foster families with their Christmas shopping. Over $16,000 worth of gift cards were collected!
Powdersville—partnered with the Dream Center to stock their Santa Shoppe, which provides Christmas toys and gifts for families in need.
Spartanburg—collected items for Front Porch Housing, providing household goods like new bedding, kitchen necessities, and more to communicate to each resident that they are valued.
Taylors—Partnered with Mitchell Road Elementary to collect Christmas gifts for children in need.
December 14, 2022
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been using Night of Prayer to focus on the Lord’s Prayer in our Teach Us to Pray series. It’s been both challenging …
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been using Night of Prayer to focus on the Lord’s Prayer in our Teach Us to Pray series. It’s been both challenging and encouraging to examine this passage line by line, allowing the Scripture to shape how we think about prayer. This fall, we focused on “Give us this day our daily bread,” which points us to God’s daily provision and our need for him and each other.
Some of our members had this to say about what they’ve learned through Teach Us to Pray:
The "Give us" in the Lord's Prayer reminds me that I am God's creature, under the reign and in need of an all-knowing, caring Creator, Savior, and Lord. When I pray and God answers (in whatever way he does), I’m reminded that good things don’t come from self-dependence or performance, but a daily relationship with and reliance on the Lord. He knows best and has been faithfully answering my prayers for almost 24 years now—and even before I was born! Why would he fail now?" —Jess Tietz
The use of plural pronouns (our, we, us) in the Lord's Prayer reminds me that I can't do life alone. As I get older, it’s tempting for me to isolate, and the Lord‘s Prayer reminds me that I need to be in community. At times, I need to force myself into it. I need others to keep me in check. —John Childress
If you would like to go back and watch a previous teaching from our Teach Us to Pray series, be sure and visit the Night of Prayer resource page. There, you can also find additional resources and prompts to help you establish regular rhythms of prayer in your life. Click below to learn more.
December 8, 2022
Over the past few years, many of our international missions trips have been put on hold due to the pandemic. So this fall, we were excited to be able to …
outreach missions culturally engaged kenya
Over the past few years, many of our international missions trips have been put on hold due to the pandemic. So this fall, we were excited to be able to send a medical mission team to serve with our partners in Kenya for the first time in three years. The team consisted of medical providers, dentists, nurses, and several other members who helped support and organize the clinics—a total of 19 members.
Our partnership in Kenya is with LEFTI, Life Empowerment for Transformation International, led by Bernard Kabaru. Through local church networks, LEFTI provides pastoral training and support for the body of Christ in Kenya. LEFTI also works through community and school networks to support children and their families participating in the OVC Kenya program.
This most recent mission team worked to provide practical resources and meet physical needs for individuals and families in the Kenyan community of Turuturu, serving alongside Kenyan pastors who provided spiritual support. In partnership with a local church, the team helped host a three-day medical clinic for over 690 individuals. While people waited to be seen, pastors and Kenyan believers were able to share the gospel with them. As our clinical team provided medical, dental, vision and pharmaceutical care, they enjoyed having more personal conversations and praying with individuals as God provided opportunities. As a special treat, the team visited one of the schools where children in the OVC Kenya program attend. Several Grace members who are OVC Kenya sponsors were able to meet their child and their child's family! A safari and time in the local market capped off the week for this team as they debriefed and prepared to fly home.
Some of the team members had this to say about their experience:
God reminded me of how restful it is to lay down my life, forget myself, my comfort, my foolish desires, my desire for control. How truly I’m blessed when I live in dependence.
My biggest takeaways were being challenged on being intentional and kingdom-minded with my sphere of influence along with believing and claiming power in prayer.
God reminded me that the world is much bigger than my little bubble and that there is a great need for the body of Christ to continue to go out into the world to help and serve others.
This trip was not only an opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters in Kenya, but an important pathway for our members to be discipled. If you would like to learn more about our partnership in Kenya or apply for an upcoming trip (applications are being accepted for our April 2023 trip), click below!
December 5, 2022
We have staff members in both campus staff and support staff roles all over the Upstate! We want you to get to know some of them as you stay updated …
Harrison Bridge staff relationally connected
We have staff members in both campus staff and support staff roles all over the Upstate! We want you to get to know some of them as you stay updated with what’s happening at Grace Church.
What brought you to Grace Church?
I was looking at a few different churches to see if my family and I would be a good fit. I came across Grace church and decided to apply for a pastoral position. That was the first step in the Raulersons’ connection with Grace Church.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy working with the Harrison Bridge staff to equip our leaders to do the work of the ministry. I know that sounds cliche, but I love the process of working through our team to make sure our people feel cared for and equipped. I love the fact that the ministry at each campus doesn’t rest on one person’s shoulders. So, I enjoy the team aspect of my job the most.
What is your favorite thing about your campus?
The people. I mean, the distance to QT is nice too! Seriously, I love being a part of a church family where so many people are sacrificing their time, energy, and resources to help people experience life change. So many couples and families are taking the call to discipleship seriously. It’s my favorite part of being a part of the Harrison Bridge campus.
What are you most excited about right now?
I’m really excited about our Grace Church Kids and Students ministries. We have a lot of young families at Harrison Bridge. Knowing that adolescence is such an important time in life, I’m excited about the way our GCK and Students teams are strategically ministering to our kids, students, and parents.
What is one interesting thing about you?
I like to draw. I love drawing pictures for people that I know will be meaningful to them.
November 30, 2022
Last month, a group of students from Allendale County, along with Grace staff and members who have been involved in our Allendale partnership, went on a mission trip to Queens, …
Last month, a group of students from Allendale County, along with Grace staff and members who have been involved in our Allendale partnership, went on a mission trip to Queens, New York. We were excited to see this new facet of our partnership with local churches in Allendale come to life! The team included five students from Allendale County, two of their moms who are community leaders, and seven participants from Grace, including three Grace staff members.
The team worked with a local ministry that is seeking to build a community of believers in the Afghan population in Queens. They spent time getting to know people in the community by passing out water bottles at parks, praying for people, and connecting them to Scripture and Bible studies in their own language.
During the evenings, students heard teaching from the book of Daniel and unpacked the big ideas in small group discussion, exploring what it looks like to follow God in a culture that pulls us in a different direction. They also got to enjoy seeing some sites and experiencing New York City! The entire trip was a time of learning, serving, and growing, and we were thankful to be part of this opportunity along with our friends in Allendale County. We hope you’ll join us in prayer—that those who went on the trip are reflective, and that the seeds they planted are fruitful.
To learn more about our partnership in Allendale County, click below.
November 22, 2022
Eric Archibald is a member of our Pelham campus, and he recently shared the story of his recovery from addiction and how God has worked in his life over the …
recovery overcomers culturally engaged outreach
Eric Archibald is a member of our Pelham campus, and he recently shared the story of his recovery from addiction and how God has worked in his life over the past few years. After a difficult season of addiction, Eric went through the program at Miracle Hill’s Overcomers Center, a six-month residential addiction recovery program for men suffering from life-dominating addictions. As he did the hard work of recovery, Eric met Jesus, and the entire course of his life was changed. To hear more about Eric’s story and how God is using him to serve others, click the video below.
November 17, 2022
A little over a year ago, Grace purchased over 12 acres of land in Piedmont for our Natural Burial site. We believe that death and dying are discipleship issues that …
natural burial ministry focused
A little over a year ago, Grace purchased over 12 acres of land in Piedmont for our Natural Burial site. We believe that death and dying are discipleship issues that the church needs to be involved in, and this has prompted us to pursue the option of natural burial—a way to shepherd our hearts and minds as we surround our loved ones in death. As a peaceful, less expensive, and simple alternative, there is no vault, coffin, or embalming.
Over the past 15 months, we have buried eight people, and it has been humbling to be able to walk through the grieving process with these families. We are thankful for this unique opportunity to wrap around families and support them while they grieve.
We have also been able to develop the land in various ways so we can better serve our church body. Land has been cleared, fencing installed, trees moved, and stone columns are being added. We have also built a shed to store tents, chairs, and other items that are used to serve families during the burial process, and in the future, we hope to add a chapel as well.
Natural burial has created new discipleship opportunities for our members as well. Volunteers have been involved in making caskets, digging graves, landscaping, greeting, parking assistance, connecting at the burial site, preparing flowers, and sending prayer cards. We are so thankful for each volunteer who makes this ministry possible, and we pray that God would continue to use our efforts to bless the church.
If you are interested in learning more about natural burial or getting involved as a volunteer, click below.
November 14, 2022
One of our goals at Grace is to build and strengthen healthy families. We all know that we live in a broken world, and this has affected many families in …
outreach families count culturally engaged
One of our goals at Grace is to build and strengthen healthy families. We all know that we live in a broken world, and this has affected many families in our community whose children have gone into DSS care. One way we support reunification efforts for these families is by offering a parenting class—Families Count.
This seven-week biblically based class is state approved, and it helps biological parents meet requirements to reunite with their children. Each participant has a mentor from Grace who walks with them through the course, and many help with transportation as well. We also have volunteers and community groups who provide a meal before the class.
We just completed our eighth Families Count class, and 12 parents graduated. We are so excited to see parents grow and move towards being reunited with their children. This is also a great opportunity for us to show God’s love by treating each participant with dignity and making sure they know they are valued.
Will you join us in praying for these families? Pray that God would continue to work in their lives and that we would continue to serve them faithfully. If you are interested in serving with Families Count, our next class begins in January. Be sure you are subscribed to Stuff That Matters to learn about upcoming serving opportunities!
November 11, 2022
Between the years of 2007 and 2011, Marilyn Mays lost both her parents and her husband. As each loved one passed away, her grief became overpowering and her life spiraled …
Between the years of 2007 and 2011, Marilyn Mays lost both her parents and her husband. As each loved one passed away, her grief became overpowering and her life spiraled to a very dark place. Her drinking habits went from unhealthy to full-blown addiction. And then the substance abuse began. The following months and years were a downward path—addiction, jail, mental hospitals. In one of her darkest moments, Marilyn realized that in order to break this cycle, she needed help. And in February of 2018, she began her journey of recovery at Miracle Hill’s Renewal Center. There, she faced her past and learned how God could rescue her from herself.
At first I tried to run, but they talked me into staying. I was so angry at God, but one night, I finally let out every emotion I had held in for all those years. I gave up. I surrendered all of it to God, and I felt his power in that moment.
When she graduated from the Renewal program, Marilyn began visiting Grace Church Taylors. The campus had just been launched, and she was drawn to the smaller setting. Learning about God and the Bible was still very new to her, and she knew that she needed to be taught. However, it wasn’t always easy. Because her background was so different from most people at Grace, she often felt uncomfortable. But Marilyn knew the enemy would try and use her discomfort to keep her away, so she kept attending and went through re:generation.
Things had been going well, but in 2020, Marilyn had a one-night relapse that ended with a wreck, a DUI, and losing her job. It was devastating. She knew that she couldn’t recover alone, so she reached out to her friend and mentor, Cindy Chibarro. Through Cindy’s encouragement, Marilyn met with several staff members, came under the umbrella of Grace Housing, and began working through a plan to move forward.
They came together and helped me come up with a plan. They prayed, they gave me friendship, set up meetings to check on me, gave me rides to church. They would listen. I knew God was trying to show me something.
In the following months, God stretched and strengthened Marilyn in new ways. When she was asked to co-lead a closed re:gen group, she initially resisted. And even though she eventually agreed to do it, she struggled with feeling different from the other ladies in her group. But every time she wanted to quit, Marilyn’s mentor would encourage her to keep going. Towards the end of the program, one of the ladies in her group said this to Marilyn: “I know the Bible from front to back, but I’ve never seen someone experience God the way that you have. It blesses me.” In that moment, Marilyn saw clearly how God was working both in her and through her to encourage others.
I got to watch those ladies transform as they worked through their issues and struggles. And even though we were different, we were all the same by seeking God in our trouble—looking for that relationship with him.
Now, when Marilyn looks back, she is so thankful for God’s power to rescue her from her path of self destruction. She still faces many challenges, but she has learned to pray for guidance, strength, and wisdom to live in a way that honors God. And she knows that God will continue to use her to encourage others along their journeys as well.
November 9, 2022
Last month, Grace hosted the first Mosaic Family Retreat! Mosaic is our ministry for children, students, and adults with special needs or disabilities, and this retreat was a great time …
Last month, Grace hosted the first Mosaic Family Retreat! Mosaic is our ministry for children, students, and adults with special needs or disabilities, and this retreat was a great time for everyone. We had 30 families attend—50 caregivers and 68 individuals (participants in Mosaic as well as their siblings). There were also 90 volunteers present to make this day happen, and we are so thankful for their faithfulness and generosity in serving our Mosaic families.
The retreat provided two tracks—one for caregivers and one for individuals in Mosaic and their siblings. Caregivers attended teaching sessions specifically geared towards the unique experiences and challenges of caring for an individual with special needs or disabilities. They then had a chance to engage these ideas in a small group setting after the teaching. It was such a blessing to see parents and caregivers from all our campuses come together in community, support one another, and learn together. Caregivers also had time to process the idea of lament as well as come together and worship. Another special element of this retreat was that caregivers had a few hours of free time in the afternoon to either stay on campus and fellowship, or go out on a date or activity together!
Our Mosaic individuals and their siblings had a special day of fun! They got to watch Finding Nemo, play Nemo themed games, make crafts, enjoy outdoor activities including bounce houses, and just be loved on by our volunteers.
A few participants shared how the event encouraged them:
I’m so thankful for the Mosaic ministry and all of the volunteers and people coming to love on and minister to caregivers of those with special needs. We enjoyed great eats, treats made by those with special needs, lunch, and then a date at Top Golf—all of this while we know Zane is being loved on and having a fantastic Saturday with his friends! —Randi Harper
The room was full, and we learned about living in community and bringing our burdens to the Lord through the body of the church. Bearing up sturdy under being seen by the Father over the urge to hide from the eyes of others and their potential thoughts, praise or otherwise, whether perceived as good or not. Oooh, we all felt that! It gave comfort that we are not alone and hope to carry on as we count it all JOY. —Joy Foster
Will you join us in celebrating how God worked through this retreat? We are beyond thankful for all the staff and volunteers who made it possible, and we pray that God will continue to provide opportunities to serve our Mosaic community well. To learn more about Mosaic, click below.
November 8, 2022
There are moments when you are forced to step back and see the Lord working in someone else’s life, and you can see how he’s working in yours.
serving life change Harrison Bridge
There are moments when you are forced to step back and see the Lord working in someone else’s life, and you can see how he’s working in yours.
When Hugo and Tracy Chavez moved to the Upstate from Tennessee in 2012, they had no idea how much their lives would change. Hugo made the initial move in order to find a house and get settled, and while playing soccer with some friends on the weekend, he was invited to Grace Church. Immediately after the service, he called Tracy and said, “we found our church.”
While they had attended church at their previous home, they had merely been consumers—not serving and not in community. As they attended Grace, sat under biblical teaching, and went through the membership process, God opened their eyes to what it meant to be part of a local body of believers. So they committed fully to what was then the Golden Strip campus, working alongside staff and other members as they made the move to Harrison Bridge. The more they got involved, their hearts were captured by the idea of not only being in community, but serving others.
Instead of protecting our time and space, we began to think about what we could do for others and how we could help. We began to say yes.
Serving became an integral part of living out their faith. They’ve both served in various capacities over the years—with students, on the events team, audio visual—and each of them has found a space where God is using their unique gifts. Tracy found her niche in Mosaic. She shared, “I remember the first Mosaic individual I shadowed. She was nonverbal, and I had no idea if I was doing anything right. But then out of nowhere, she began singing Jesus Loves Me. It was a compelling moment for me to see God’s power at work.” Hugo currently serves in Fusion, but because he’s a problem solver and good with technology, he’s also everyone’s go-to guy for any tech-related needs.
Both Hugo and Tracy have also been through re:gen as participants as well as leaders. This was a formative experience for both of them. Not only did they grow in self awareness and do the work of recovery, they then got to see others be changed by the gospel.
That’s the gospel—it has all the power. We simply made space for God to work, and then we stood back and watched the turnaround in people’s lives.
There are aspects of serving that have proved challenging. Both Hugo and Tracy work, and they homeschool three of their four children—ages 17, 10, 8, and 5. They have also decided to live in a trailer on their property while they are building their home. But even amid all the busyness of life, serving has become an opportunity for family discipleship in addition to their personal growth. They’ve seen their oldest son grow in his ability to see others’ needs and be willing to step in and help. It’s also been compelling for their children to simply be in proximity to those who are serving. They see what their parents are doing and how it’s affecting them.
When they reflect back on their lives, Hugo and Tracy can see God’s hand purposefully orchestrating every move, every connection, every choice they were faced with. He has brought them this far, and they trust he will continue to grow their faith as they serve his Church.
We’re still early in our journey, and even though we’ve seen tremendous growth, there’s a long way to go. We are thankful that we get to carry the gospel with us through all these stages of life.
November 7, 2022
Fer and Ana arrived a year and a half ago from Mexico for work. After only two years of marriage and a baby on the way, they were encouraged to …
life change relationally connected español
Fer and Ana arrived a year and a half ago from Mexico for work. After only two years of marriage and a baby on the way, they were encouraged to begin a new journey. A week before traveling, they experienced the painful loss of their baby. This was the second time they had to deal with such painful news as a family. But, so as not to add further sadness to their families, they did not share the news and decided to walk through the grief alone.
The first month in the United States was the most difficult. Living in a hotel room, they dealt with grief, while also adjusting to a completely different culture. After a few weeks, they began attending Grace Church’s Pelham campus, where they were invited to our Español campus. Ana says that coming to Grace en Español and just hearing a "hello" made a huge difference in their cultural adaptation process and would later have a significant impact on their walk with Christ on a personal and marital level. They quickly became involved as volunteers and began attending re:generation. By being part of this family in faith and being available to Christ, they have been able to see God healing wounds in their marriage, developing love and patience in their hearts, and have been able to recognize that in Jesus, there is hope even in the midst of trials.
God granted them a third pregnancy, which they joyfully celebrated with their families and friends. At their second appointment, they found silence as they tried to listen to the baby's heartbeat. The unexpected news was accompanied by a surprising answer: peace. Ana and Fer were not the same parents they were a year ago. They had prayed for one more pregnancy and for God to use the baby's life for his glory, and he did. The church came together in care and love to minister to them in the midst of their grief. And now, after holding a memorial service for their three children, Fer and Ana are preparing to enter the world of reproductive medicine, trusting that God is in control and that, no matter what happens, they will always find joy in him.
November 4, 2022
Just last week, Grace Church Worship released an album of new, original songs—Church Arise. This collection has a common thread running through it—individual believers, experiencing the gospel together in community. …
relationally connected worship
Just last week, Grace Church Worship released an album of new, original songs—Church Arise. This collection has a common thread running through it—individual believers, experiencing the gospel together in community. Through these songs, we hope to encourage our church body to praise together, weep together, endure together, and go on mission together. Corporate singing is one of the most unifying things we get to do as a church, and we pray these songs help give us common language to unite us around all God has done for us.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)
To listen to Church Arise, download the lyrics, or check out our other original music, click below to visit the Grace Church Worship resource page!
November 1, 2022
Nick and Annie VanWingerden are missionaries serving in Grenoble, France, and we are privileged to support and partner with them. Like most typical post-Christian European countries, France has great spiritual …
outreach missions serving partner culturally engaged
Nick and Annie VanWingerden are missionaries serving in Grenoble, France, and we are privileged to support and partner with them. Like most typical post-Christian European countries, France has great spiritual needs. Its proximity to North Africa and immigration have changed the landscape both ethnically and religiously. The VanWingerdens and their local church can connect with young people from all over the world. They are seeking to reach the least reached peoples where they are most reachable to make an impact for God's Kingdom.
Facts about France and Grenoble:
The work that Nick and Annie are part of is necessary, developing the relatively few Christ followers that already exist and reaching those who have never heard. Through their church community, they want to give students an opportunity to hear the truth of the gospel by exposing them to God's Word and Christian community. After a year sabbatical and experiencing much of the Grace culture, the VanWingerdens are now serving partners. We are committed to monthly financial and prayer support, but even more so, hope that we can send teams of Grace members to come alongside them in special seasons of ministry opportunity.
As we begin this partnership with an exploratory team in January, please pray for God’s guidance to give us discernment for the future. If you would like to receive the VanWingerdens’ newsletter, email [email protected]. To hear more of their story, click the video below.
October 27, 2022
Seven years ago, if you had told Chad and Elisha Conrad that their lives would someday revolve around church, serving, and biblical community, they would have laughed.
pelham life change relationally connected
Seven years ago, if you had told Chad and Elisha Conrad that their lives would someday revolve around church, serving, and biblical community, they would have laughed. Even though they grew up in the Catholic church, they had no personal relationship with God, nor did they truly understand the gospel. After getting married and moving to Greenville in 2007, they both pursued their careers as top priorities and only attended church on holidays or when they felt guilty about their absence.
During this time, they connected with a couple who attended Grace and became friends. This couple embraced Chad and Elisha, answered their questions about the Bible, and invited them to church. However, although Chad and Elisha were interested in learning more about Christianity, they weren’t ready to give up their lifestyle. Chad especially was invested in climbing the corporate ladder, and they both preferred to spend their weekends at the lake with family.
Over the next few years, they had two children, and their lives got more complicated. They began to have more and more conflict in their marriage, Chad was in heavy pursuit of his career, and their self-centered lifestyle began to feel empty. Although they had been sporadically attending a Catholic church, they didn’t feel connected there. And when Chad and Elisha hit rock bottom in their marriage, they called their friends from Grace, who had since moved away from Greenville, but they got on a plane and flew back to help the Conrads in their crisis.
Resolving their marital issues was a long and hard journey, but this crucible moment acted as a turning point for Chad and Elisha. They realized that their lives were empty—living for themselves had consequences, and they wanted more for their children. It was a humbling experience, but they leaned into their friendship, sought counseling, and began attending Grace.
The first sermon we heard at Grace was from the book of James, and it was about judgment. We sat in the back and cried. We knew we deserved judgment, but now, we were hearing about a way out—a hope for something better through Christ.
Chad and Elisha immediately knew God wanted them at Grace, and they quickly got plugged into a community group and began serving on the connect team. As they learned from teaching and community, they knew they needed to turn from their old lifestyle and trust Jesus. So they fully engaged the process of healing, repenting, and learning what it meant to be a believer, and God used people around them in extraordinary ways to disciple them. Friends in the workplace, neighbors, mentors at church—God used believers in different areas of their lives to encourage and challenge them as they grew in their faith.
We were like sponges—soaking everything up and trying to absorb it. We were amazed at how many people were seeking to connect with us and know us. We had highly underestimated the power of community.
Over the next few years, Chad and Elisha grew by leaps and bounds. God was working in their lives, and they wanted to tell everyone they knew. As their lives began to revolve around church instead of themselves, their family noticed the change. They didn’t understand why Chad and Elisha preferred to attend church over spending time at the lake on weekends. As they navigated these conversations with their family, they realized that even though they had both been baptized as infants, they needed to take that step of obedience and publicly demonstrate their commitment to Jesus through baptism. They also wanted to set an example for their children about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
We knew baptism was a step of obedience. We wanted to show our family that church wasn’t just a weekend hobby for us, and we wanted to show our children our commitment to Christ.
Looking back now, Chad and Elisha can see how far God has brought them. Now their children are connected to the church, participating in small groups, and being challenged to follow Jesus in just the same ways that they were. They are overwhelmed with thankfulness at how God is working in so many ways they never anticipated. They recently saw their story come full circle when their daughter Kinsley got baptized. It was an emotional moment, full of gratitude that God would use his people to rescue them and their family from the path of self-destruction they had been on.
It was a downward spiral of sin, and we didn’t know where it would have ended. But God used it for our good, and we got to see the promises of Scripture play out. It could easily have gone the other way. There would have been no hope for our kids—because we would have been pursuing the world. But the Christ-centered life gave all of us hope.
October 26, 2022
As our Foster & Adopt ministry grows across our campuses, we are grateful for the opportunities God has provided to care for vulnerable children. We desire to engage with foster …
outreach foster and adopt culturally engaged
As our Foster & Adopt ministry grows across our campuses, we are grateful for the opportunities God has provided to care for vulnerable children. We desire to engage with foster and adoptive families personally and regularly throughout their journey. Each campus has a Foster & Adopt Champion that connects with families and coordinates support when they need it most. Recently, a community group at our Downtown campus hosted a barbeque picnic for foster and adoptive families at their campus. This was a simple but tangible way to support these families and create space for them to connect with each other.
Another facet of our Foster & Adopt ministry is the resource center, which houses clothing, baby equipment, diapers, toys, and much more. Since August, the resource center has served over 120 children. Also, volunteers are currently putting together equipping bags for Greenville County DSS workers with useful items so they can be ready to serve their clients.
On October 14-15, we hosted a simulcast for the Replanted Conference at our Pelham campus for over 65 people. Replanted is a conference designed to encourage caregivers so they can come away refreshed, equipped, and inspired, and it was a blessing to be able to provide this resource to our community. We also had over 70 door prizes such as books, pottery, and photography sessions provided by Grace Church members for those attending.
Please pray for our foster and adoptive families, the DSS workers in our communities, and the volunteers who serve them. If you are interested in getting involved serving our Foster & Adopt community, there are many ways you can show support. Click below to learn more about how you can serve.