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Posted: March 27, 2009 12:01 a.m.

40 days of random acts of kindness

Submitted Photo/

Pay it forward: (Top) Ashley Freeman of Grove Pointe Church gives cookies to Newton County Firefighter Brandon Smith as part of the church's 40 Days of Kindness effort, which also includes things like giving coffee and paying for gas.

Imagine the surprise of picking up food in the drive-thru or learning that the person ahead of you in the grocery line has picked up the tab or paid toward your bill. No strings attached, Grove Pointe Church members began a 40-day campaign on March 1 to do numerous random acts of kindness throughout the community. Based on Rick Warren’s 40 days of community from Saddleback Church, Grove Pointe will hold a celebration April 19 to share many of the stories and testimonies of this effort.

Small groups at the church chose community projects including buying a gas card for a neighbor whose parent is terminally ill, buying lunch or paying a bill for a co-worker, taking baked goods to emergency responders, giving flowers to medical staff, providing breakfast for companies, taking meals to the elderly and financially assisting a family who lost their home to fire. One day a month, Grove Pointe Church provides coffee and snacks for teachers and staff at East Newton Elementary and Indian Creek Middle School.

"We really feel like we should build community," said the Rev. Stan Patterson, pastor and founder of Grove Pointe Church. "That happens because we develop relationships with people not just inside the church, but also outside the church. That is why we do these acts of kindness."

Grove Point is a multicultural church and anticipates starting other churches. Patterson said that the vast majority of people who come to Christ in churches in America do that at new churches. For that reason, Grove Pointe Church chose its name because they want to be the point church in a "grove" or network of churches. In 1992, Patterson started Lakeside Baptist Church at Lake Oconee, which quickly grew to 800 members in six months. As he felt God stirring in his heart, he was driven by his love and passion for people to begin a new work in Covington.

Grove Pointe Church is a five-point ministry, pointing to Jesus through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. They often sponsor community events and workshops for hurting people.

The church’s motto reads, "We believe that God has called us to make disciples, transform lives, experience purpose beginning in Newton and the surrounding counties and going from there into the world. We want to be known as the church that is passionate about leading people as they fall in love with God and discover their purpose in his work."

As a mission-minded church, a second trip is planned to Zambia, Africa in September where Patterson will teach at a pastor’s conference and his team will present the Gospel in the bush, work with children at a local orphanage and lead a drama conference.

Grove Pointe Church celebrated their first anniversary in September 2008 with 67 members. Patterson said he is praying to locate 25 acres to build their new campus.

The congregation meets at East Newton Elementary School at the corner of Elks Club Road and Dixie Road at 10 a.m. every Sunday. They value Biblical teaching and God honoring worship; loving relationships with God and each other; faithfulness to Christ and his body of believers, the church; creativity, innovation and fun; and living lives of purpose and ministry.

Grove Point’s Kidz Ministry is led by Pam Kirkland and Nancy Patterson. College students Erin Ruark and Stanton Porter work with the teens. Wade Freeman serves as a volunteer associate pastor and Tony Hornsby leads worship.

A 1979 graduate of Campbellsville College in Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in religious education and psychology, Patterson completed a Master of Divinity in 1983 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been in pastoral ministry at Southern/Georgia Baptist Churches for 20 years.

Patterson describes his wife Nancy as caring, loving and very good at thinking outside the box. They have one daughter Megan, a son-in-law Brian Boire, and two grandchildren Bryce and Naya.

For more information, call Grove Pointe Church at (678) 712-9038 or visit www.grovepointe.org.

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