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Posted: September 3, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Comin’ down the Avenue

Avenue Church in Social Circle to hold grand opening on Sept. 12

There’s nothing unusual about a church celebrating a milestone; churches take time to mark special occasions regularly. But when a church has a grand opening, it is a truly unique observance. The Avenue Church in Social Circle will mark its grand opening on Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Social Circle Theater.

The Avenue Church has actually been in existence for nearly two years, and meeting regularly for almost a year, but the vision for the church was born in the mind of Lead Pastor and Worship Leader Bryan Hoover a couple of years before that. Hoover, who has been involved in other church plants in the past, felt God moving on his heart to plant a church in this area. Hoover was able to cultivate a relationship with Oklahoma-based LifeChurch.tv, a church which partners with churches of all sizes to provide networking and resources. The church is not an official campus of LifeChurch.tv; they are an autonomous church affiliated with the LifeChurch organization.

Through prayer and counsel, Hoover believed God led him to Social Circle for the opportunity to develop a unique church in a small town. The church incorporated in January 2009 and met in homes at its outset. Hoover was able to reach an agreement with the Social Circle Theater, and the church began meeting there in September, with weekly services beginning in December.

"It started out of having a passion to just make a difference and be used by God to focus on people and take them on a journey," said Hoover, who led worship for over a decade before forming The Avenue Church. "The local church is the best place to make an impact in people’s lives."

Hoover says the vision of The Avenue Church is to impact people with a weekly experience that encourages and guides them to realize that the church is for them and to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. The church offers a weekend service on Sundays at 11 a.m., along with programming for children and bi-monthly small groups for adults. A middle and high school ministry will launch later in September. They are also working on providing monthly opportunities for members of their church family to serve the community.

"We want people to serve Christ right here in the world and community he has put them in and be faithful to that," said Hoover. "It’s about teaching and training people to be disciples and follow God’s lead."

The Avenue Church is a contemporary church with live band worship in a casual atmosphere. Hoover says the goal of the church is to connect with people in a way that they are used to rather than do something that is different from the world in which they live.

The church utilizes their partnership with LifeChurch.tv and the unique environment of the Social Circle Theater in a way that allows them to produce quality programming with little setup and at minimal cost. They broadcast video messages from LifeChurch Pastor Craig Groeschel on the theater’s scrim, but all the other elements of the weekly services are live. The church also uses LifeChurch’s graphics and materials to tie in the messages with the rest of the service. Children’s programming takes place in the lobby of the theater, and the venue has ample parking as well as lawn space for any outdoor activities the church may have.

"The Social Circle Theater has been generous and helpful to us," said Hoover. The church helps serve the theater by helping them put on some of their shows as well as sharing the equipment the church has purchased with the theater.

In addition to Hoover, the church has recently hired Jordan Flores as Youth Pastor; he manages the church’s Switch student ministry and LifeKids children’s ministry. Hoover is grateful as well for the volunteers who help keep The Avenue Church running.

The church is still working on the details of their grand opening event, but Hoover knows that the day will include a contemporary, relevant service and baptisms following the service. The week prior to the grand opening, the church will have representatives at the Social Circle Fair helping spread the word about The Avenue Church.

"We’re going to focus on getting to know people and welcoming them," said Hoover. "We want them to come back for more."

The public is invited to the grand opening of The Avenue Church on Sept.12 at 11 a.m. in the Social Circle Theater, which is located on E. Hightower Trail, just outside of downtown Social Circle. For more information about The Avenue Church, please visit theavenuechurch.tv or connect with their page on Facebook.

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