The following article was written by Trevor Hindman, our Student Pastor, for a denominational website to commemorate our first 100 Sundays as a campus.
In the June of 2011 Dr. Mark Walker, senior pastor of Mount Paran North Church of God, announced to his congregation that God was leading the church to start another campus in Canton, GA. This announcement came after months of prayer, research and discussion birthed out of the desire to reach more people with the Gospel. Pastor Jeremy and Corrie Isaacs were named Campus Pastors of the new work after serving on staff in student and young adult ministry over the previous four years.
The initial home for the new campus would be Sequoyah High School after demographics studies showed nearly 85,000 unchurched people living within 7 miles of the school.
A part of the announcement to the church was an opportunity for members and attenders of the Marietta location to join this new endeavor. However, Pastor Mark was very transparent about his intentions for them to go.
He said, “don’t sign up to go just because this new location may be closer to your house. We need a team of servant leaders to make this thing happen. So if you’re signing up to go, you are signing up to serve.”
Nearly 150 people signed up that day to join the launch team or to get more information and nearly 100 former Marietta campus adults, students and children were involved in the initial launch of the new campus. This was an incredible act of faith for Pastor Mark and the Marietta congregation, as well as the families that joined this new work.
Over the next few months these volunteers gave of their time to participate in informational meetings, outreach events, prayer walks in the community around the school and to prepare for being a “portable church.” There were practice load-in and load-out nights at the school to create nurseries, children environments, information areas and an auditorium for adult and student worship. We hosted preview services in October, November and December prior to our launch.
And then the day came. January 8, 2012 had finally arrived! All of the practice, all of the planning, all of the prayer, it was finally time. Some of our volunteers who served that first day still remember the feeling of excitement they got when our very first guest arrived. We set it all up, worshipped together, Pastor Mark spoke from Ephesians 1, and then we tore it all down…and week one was in the books.
The adventure that God had called us to had begun!
Every week we continue to see an amazing group of volunteers show up, often in the dark, sometimes in the bitter cold or rain, to drive trucks of equipment, setup pipe and drape, turn art rooms into toddler environments and create a place for people to learn what it means to live a Christ-centered life. Pastor Jeremy tells our time nearly every week that the “sermon starts in the parking lot.” We begin ministering to people long before they hear the message from Pastor Jeremy or Pastor Mark.
Nearly two years later we just celebrated our 100th Sunday. What an honor and blessing to have made it so far, and we believe it is only the beginning!
During these first 100 weeks we have seen 74 people come to Christ, 18 people baptized in water(at a public lake and a swimming pool), 112 people have joined a Life Group to make friends in community, 167 people have joined a serving to use their passion and gifts for the good of others, and countless other lives have been touched.
It has been an amazing 100 Sundays with some amazing memories and moments, but we know that God has us there for more than just 100 Sundays. He has us there to be a light in the darkness. A home for the weary. A hospital for the broken. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has a plan for His Church, and we are just one piece of that. Along with so many other great churches in our community we want to decrease that 85,000 number significantly, and we’re just getting started.
Here is a video we showed on our 100th Sunday to celebrate God’s faithfulness: