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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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.
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 …
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. …
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 …
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.
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 …
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.
October 21, 2022
We are celebrating that over the past two weekends, 449 students, along with 258 leaders and volunteers, attended the Forge retreats at Carolina Point! These weekends were full of energy …
We are celebrating that over the past two weekends, 449 students, along with 258 leaders and volunteers, attended the Forge retreats at Carolina Point! These weekends were full of energy and a meaningful time of worship, teaching, and community for our high school students.
The FAKE retreat, for our 11th and 12th graders, explored the idea of exposing the fake gospels in their lives and fighting to find clarity, truth, and freedom in Jesus. The Mirrors retreat allowed our 9th and 10th graders time to learn how freedom from anxiety and being self-focused comes by removing yourself from the center of your life, putting God in the center, and focusing on loving others.
In addition to teaching, worship, and small groups, students were also able to have fun and explore the lake, ride go karts, participate in tournaments, and experience the OGO ball during their free time! We are so thankful for everyone who helped plan and served on these retreats. Join us in praying that God continues to work in the hearts of these students and that there is growth in their lives from the seeds that were planted on these retreats. To learn more about Grace Church Students, click below.
October 19, 2022
Louie and Johnna Gaunch had lived in West Virginia their entire lives. However, when they became empty nesters, God moved in their hearts to explore the Upstate of South Carolina …
I know I can confidently expect the Lord to be who he is even when I can’t confidently expect much else in life.
When Louie and Johnna Gaunch were in their early thirties with three young children, Louie suffered a heart attack, underwent quadruple bypass surgery, and learned that he would deal with severe heart disease for the remainder of his life. It was a major turning point for their family. Louie and Johnna had been struggling in their marriage, and God used this event to reorient them to what was important. They renewed their vows, reexamined their lives, and were blessed with many more years together—raising their children and seeing them move into adulthood.
Louie and Johnna had lived in West Virginia their entire lives. However, when they became empty nesters, they decided it was time to move since their children were all living out of state. God moved in their hearts to explore the Upstate of South Carolina where their oldest daughter was living. She and her husband attended Grace and were expecting their first child at the time. When Louie and Johnna visited, they fell in love with the Anderson area. They visited Grace’s Anderson campus, made some connections with staff, and began their plans to move.
Everything fell into place—they found a lot to build on, Louie was interviewing for jobs, and they were in the process of packing their belongings. In the midst of all these moving parts, on September 27, 2021, Louie had a major heart attack and died almost immediately. The following days and weeks were a blur for Johnna as she grieved and tried to process what was happening. However, she was very quickly faced with a decision. And in her heart, Johnna knew that God was calling her to do the hard thing, leave behind all that was familiar, and move to Anderson by herself.
I had to lean on God for everything. It was beyond me. I’m not courageous, I’m not talkative, I’m not a solo sort of person—and I had to be all that. My husband’s favorite passage was Joshua 1:5-7, and God has taught me so much about what it means to be courageous. It’s been our family’s anthem through all of this.
Even though God was clearly working through Johnna’s move, it was still a difficult transition. She moved into an apartment while her house was being built, and because she worked from home, she was often alone for long periods of time. However, she found support and community at church.
I sat in the back corner of the worship center week after week, month after month, and cried through the service. But I never sat there alone. I’ve been embraced by the members of the Anderson campus. Some Sundays I couldn’t talk, but they didn’t care. They created a hedge of protection around me, and I knew people were praying for me even though I didn’t ask them to.
Over time, those connections have grown into friendships, mentoring relationships, and true community. Johnna went through an Ezer study and was embraced by the women in her group. Although they were in different seasons of life and dealing with different struggles, they were all trying to find their identity. This was a major part of Johnna’s growth as she had to relearn who she was without her husband. She also joined a community group, even though it was difficult to attend alone, and found people who were willing to be known and who wanted to know her.
It’s been a little over a year since Louie’s death, and Johnna is still processing, grieving, and walking with her children through their own grief. Even though the rest of her life won’t look like she planned, she knows God is calling her to keep loving her family and serving others. More than anything, she is thankful to know God and experience his presence so clearly through her suffering.
We’ve cried and we’ve laughed, it’s been great and it’s been terrible, and I knew those things could coexist, but it’s another thing to experience it. And when I was in the midst of grief, I experienced God. It wasn’t words on a page. It wasn’t theology. I experienced his presence more than anything else.
October 11, 2022
Senior Honor is our elder care ministry, and each campus partners with at least one assisted living community to host worship services and offer support on a regular basis. September …
Senior Honor is our elder care ministry, and each campus partners with at least one assisted living community to host worship services and offer support on a regular basis. September 11-17 was National Assisted Living Week, and all our campuses were able to come alongside their Senior Honor partner communities and offer special encouragement.
Our Anderson campus had some especially fun treats for their partner community, Dominion Senior Living. On Monday and Tuesday, volunteers handed out journals, handwritten notes of encouragement, and candy to staff and residents. Another day, a volunteer helped facilitate Bingo and hand out prizes supplied by Grace. And on Thursday, volunteers hosted a carnival! Residents played games, enjoyed carnival themed treats, and especially enjoyed connecting with some of our younger volunteers. A catered lunch was provided on Friday to cap off the week.
One volunteer had this to say about serving during this special week:
The staff who I knew thanked us profusely with tears in their eyes. They said all the little things (signs, candy bars, handwritten notes, etc) and the big things (lunch, Bingo, snack cart) lifted morale and were such an encouragement all week long. You could tell walking into the nursing home that week that there was a joyful buzz about the place. It was definitely a joy for us to serve them!
What a great opportunity to serve our community and show the love of Jesus in this tangible way. If you would like to learn more about Senior Honor or volunteer opportunities, click below.
October 6, 2022
One of our serving partners is David’s Table, an organization whose mission is to demonstrate the love of Jesus to adults with disabilities and their families by creating community, connecting …
One of our serving partners is David’s Table, an organization whose mission is to demonstrate the love of Jesus to adults with disabilities and their families by creating community, connecting to resources, and making disciples.
Last month, David’s Table held their annual family camp! For two days, 275 people—campers, their families, and volunteers—came together to get away from the daily grind of life, draw closer to God, and connect with one another. Each camper had a buddy so parents and caregivers could have space to build community with each other. Campers heard teaching on the amazing story of God’s love, while parents and caregivers learned more about God’s all-sufficient grace. And of course there was also plenty of free time so families could participate in activities including go-karts, swimming, paddle boarding, arts and crafts, and more!
We are thankful to be a small part of supporting David’s Table, and we are excited to see how God will continue to use this ministry to bless individuals with special needs and their families. To learn more about David’s Table, click below.
October 4, 2022
When Paul and Drew Talbert moved to the Upstate early in 2020, they were able to attend Grace’s Powdersville campus once before the pandemic set in and shut down in-person …
When Paul and Drew Talbert moved to Greenville early in 2020, they were able to attend Grace’s Powdersville campus once before the pandemic set in and shut down in-person services. But even through those months when church looked a lot different, they knew God had brought them to the area for his purposes, and part of that was serving in the context of the local church. After joining in the fall, they immediately jumped into serving with Senior Honor—specifically because it was a ministry where they could involve their two boys, Anderson (9) and Whit (7).
Both Paul and Drew grew up in the context of a small church where everyone was expected to serve, so the idea of being involved through serving was ingrained in both of their hearts. They also have specific memories of serving alongside their parents—learning the importance of putting the needs of others before their own. So with a vision of discipling their own boys through firsthand experience, they took on the role of Senior Honor Champion with their campus partner facility, Oakview Park. In addition, Paul serves as a shadow for Mosaic, they all serve through Mosaic Respite Nights, and Paul and Drew both serve by leading worship monthly in re:generation.
Serving as a family has its challenges. Naturally, the boys often prefer pursuing their own interests. But this has provided great opportunities for Paul and Drew to talk with each other and their boys about why they serve.
It’s a rare Sunday that we’re all excited to serve. But rarely is serving meant to be a beautiful, happy experience for everyone. It’s meant to be hard. We struggle with the same feelings of not wanting to go sometimes, so we’re honest with them and talk about why we serve.
Even through the challenges, it’s been a blessing to see their boys grow a heart for others and understand that even as children, they have something valuable to offer. Paul and Drew have also experienced spiritual growth through serving. Paul shares that serving has taught him about the concept of “imago dei”—everyone is made in God’s image. Because of that, all are valuable and worthy of love; the world does not revolve around him.
Serving is a great way to think less about yourself. We have the example of Christ, and he laid down his life to serve others. As you serve, you can’t help but think—this is what my Savior did for me. I’m not thinking about paying him back; I just know this is the best way to grow.
Drew has learned the value of serving in obscurity. Because she grew up in a small church, her family’s role was much more visible. At Grace, she had to examine the “why” of her involvement. Did she serve because it was simply expected of her? Or because she truly wanted to serve God’s people?
I learned that I was there to serve God, not to be seen by others. He has called me to serve by faith, following Jesus’ example in Scripture, and there’s no automatic payoff for serving. It’s part of cultivating a heart for him.
In the two years the Talberts have been at Grace, serving has been the heartbeat of their spiritual growth and provided a valuable structure for discipling their children. While they know it is important to feed their own souls through teaching, worship, and personal study, Paul and Drew view serving as an integral part of their connection to the church. When asked what they would say to someone considering serving, Paul and Drew shared:
Be prayerfully dependent, but don’t wait for the magical moment to feel called or led. Just get involved—think about the season that you're in and commit. We’re called to serve. If you want to see growth in your life, it’s one of the main things you need to implement in order to flourish.