For the last two years, Pastor Stan Patterson has been working hard to make his up-and-coming church a solid member of the community, while giving members a contemporary experience with their worship.
Previously known as Grove Pointe Church, Church 213 now rests on its own property located on 1675 County Road 213. The church conducts its services in three temporary mobile units — a triple-wide mobile chapel, a double-wide educational unit and a single-wide office unit — provided by the Georgia Baptist Convention.
Patterson plans to build a permanent church on their property once member growth maximizes their capacity. He also previously has helped plant Lakeside Baptist Church in Lake Oconee. Lakeside’s membership grew to 800 during his 12-year tenure.
"Since we began here at Church 213, we have seen significant growth. We can seat up to 120 people and this past Sunday, the seats were nearly filled," Patterson said. "We are reaching a lot of young couples. They just enjoy the worship experience. Because here at this church, we don’t just come to church, we do church."
Unlike most churches, formal dress code is not necessary when attending Church 213’s Sunday services. Members dress casually; many attend in blue jeans, T-shirts and shorts. Patterson believes it is the soul within that is more important than what one wears to worship.
"We are ‘blended’ on the contemporary side in our worship. We have a worship band and our attire is casual, but the worship is not," Patterson said. "Too many Christians have gotten domesticated in their faith — meaning they sit in church on Sunday morning and listen to preacher. We believe Christianity is so much more than that."
The church advocates a proactive style in their faith.
The children attending get to participate in a variety of activities. Kidz Zone is a Sunday ministry program where children sing songs, learn about the Bible and get involved in the ministry. They also visit nursing homes and some take part in the church’s student ministry program.
"Many people believe children are the church of tomorrow. We believe they are the church of today," Patterson said.
The active student ministry program recently returned from a week-long youth retreat at Fort Walton Beach in Florida. Students participated in Bible teaching, youth oriented worship and other activities.
The church has also returned from their annual missionary visit to Zambia, Africa. Patterson and 12 other members of the church spent their time in Zambia spreading their message of Christianity to an orphanage and a bush village. Patterson held a pastor conference that brought together pastors from all over the world. They also built a government-sanctioned school that will help the children receive an education.
"We try to bring everyone in the village a gift. Things like rope and gloves are things we take for granted, but precious to them," Patterson said. "It’s not about the destination, but about the relationships we build. They always greet us with open arms when they see us. They gather around when we do our Bible teaching and ask a lot of questions. One of the girls, Hope, actually unofficially adopted me and my wife, referring to us as mom and dad. She sends us letters throughout the year."
Patterson wants to continue the church’s proactive stance with their faith to become a notable member of the local community. He welcomes everybody to visit the church and enjoy the experience of their worship.
"We want to be a blessing to the community," Patterson said. "We want to meet the needs of the people and help them anyway we can. Especially in the times we live in, people are very interested in spirituality. We want to help them discover what that means."
For more information, visit www.church213.com.