For many Christians church is defined as a gathering of a people, but most will agree it’s still nice to have a building of their own.
Grove Point Church was started in September 2007, but for the past two years the church members have been meeting at East Newton Elementary School, while they looked for a permanent location. Every Sunday the church members set up their equipment, have their church service and then tear everything back down. The church office is located a few miles away at a small rental space at the corner of Ga. Highway 36 and County Road 213.
However, on Tuesday, Grove Pointe finally closed a deal to purchase 21 acres of land at the Preserve at Bear Creek, the site of a previously proposed subdivision off County Road 213. The Board of Commissioners recently agreed to abandon their right-of-way to Preserve Trail, the road leading into the property.
Grove Pointe began looking in this area because the Stone Mountain Baptist Association felt East Newton was growing and was ripe for a new church.
"God called me to start a church in Newton County, and (the association) pointed me in this direction," Pastor Stan Patterson said.
Before moving to Newton County, Patterson went through a pre-launch period, where church members met once a month for four consecutive months at the Georgia International Horse Park.
"When you start a church you have to do a good bit of work before you have that first official church service," Patterson said.
The church had a successful pre-launch and began looking for somewhere to meet southeast of Covington. The Board of Education and East Newton’s principal gave them permission to hold services at the school, and they’ve been meeting there ever since. Patterson said the congregation has grown to around 120 people.
Now that they have their own site, the church is preparing to start construction on its first building. They’ve had to raise money to buy the land and prepare for construction, including church donations, loans and some financial help from state Baptist associations.
"I pray a lot," Patterson said. "God has been really good to us. We’ve had somebody from my past, a member of church I formally pastored, who has been moved by the Spirit of God to support us."
Patterson said he’s excited to get the church up and running because churches can really transform communities.
"A church bring s a lot of good things to the community that most people don’t consider. It brings a place to gather, to get to know one another and to develop a spirit of that community," Patterson said. "We’re very disjointed in our society and this can be a gathering place. We want to be a blessing to the community and let them know we’re here to help."
But Grove Pointe isn’t planning to stop in east Newton. Patterson and his congregation believe in the church planting mentality.
"We want to be a church that starts churches. Statistically the best way to reach people is with new church starts. We will raise people up and send them out to do ministry. Future pastors will come out of our church," Patterson said. "Think of a grove, and think of a point where all the other trees gain their strength. All trees get their strength from the central hub."
The church has Sunday morning services at 10 a.m. at East Newton at 2286 Dixie Road, but Patterson said he hopes to get some mobile chapels so the congregation can get onto their new site. The church also holds weekly meetings on various topics at the church office. For more information visit the church’s Web site at grovepointe.org.