Building a Beacon of Faithfulness in Greenville, South Carolina
For more than a century, the Greenville Seventh-day Adventist Church has been known in the Upstate South Carolina community for their faith. Now, with an aging infrastructure and limited physical facilities, the congregation knew they would soon be forced to remodel or build a new church. But as they looked to their future in this rapidly growing city, they realized they needed more than just a new building. They needed a new vision for daily applying their faith—to now be known to their community as a center of true joy, peace, and restoration through authenticity, openness, and opportunity.
Monday to Friday, most church buildings stand empty, with locked doors and darkened windows. However, the needs of those who pass those buildings aren't limited to the weekend. This church is stepping out in faith to build something new—something that stands as a daily refuge for those seeking encouragement, community, and connection in a continually fractured world.
The church has partnered with a leading worship-and-community architect to plan a space that includes:
An expansive, open lobby with open access to outdoor green space, a kitchen, and public restrooms, designed to host a wide range of community events, from concerts to farmer's markets to job fairs.
A main Worship Center that is also equipped with theater loading access behind the stage to facilitate other community uses outside of worship services.
Retail space as a community commons with reservable meeting areas.
A modern, connected boardroom for NGOs to use freely in pursuit of their mission.
Logistics and storage area for their community clothing drives and homeless outreach efforts.
A two-car, in-ground oil change facility for single parents or people without resources.
Secure, extended-stay, temporary housing spaces for those with nowhere else to turn.
Greenville County Police annex that serves their neighboring school facility and increases security and monitoring for the facility and surrounding community.
Soccer field that supplements the community parks in the surrounding neighborhoods and provides space for underprivileged kids to engage in athletics Summer Camps.
The Greenville Church believes that their Gospel impact begins on their own street, in their own neighborhood. They have a renewed commitment to serving others as Jesus served. He didn't just heal the blind, lame, and leper – He healed their hearts too. He was present and engaged among the outcasts and invisible. He was a friend for sinners and screw-ups. And He preached a life of repentance and forgiveness of sins, only found in Him.
That's the Jesus they hope to show their community, not by just talking about Him, but through how they develop their facilities, leverage their capabilities, and increase their reach. Together, they will build a beacon of faithfulness that shines bright across their city with Good News.
If you are interested in learning more about the future of Greenville Seventh-day Adventist Church or their mission, visit www.buildingabeacon.com.
— Henry Johnson, Pastor GSDA