JERSEY – When the Rev. Russ Butcher branched out on faith to start Church at the Grove, he always carried with him the vision of continuous growth. That vision has carried Church at the Grove to a new partnership with the Jersey Community Church joining the church’s congregation in Social Circle.
The Church at the Grove has two campus locations where the church meets for 10:30 a.m. Sunday services at Walnut Grove High School and the Social Circle Middle School.
“I identified with people born and raised without a church upbringing and out of that God led me to start a church intentionally to reach out to people who grew up like I did,” Butcher said.
Since the creation of the Walnut Grove campus in January 2010, 350 members attend regularly and since the creation of the Social Circle campus in January 2012, 100 members attend regularly with the addition of 30 members from Jersey Community’s church congregation.
Jersey Community Church members now attend services at the Social Circle campus and the church’s previous location is now used as a permanent office for the Church at the Grove.
Terry Little was the Jersey Community Church pastor and now is a pastor on the board with Church at the Grove and said the partnership between churches was a way to provide for his congregation that simply wasn’t available before.
“We just didn’t have the population or dynamics to support the church going forward,” Little said. “Joining the two churches provides a greater impact for Social Circle, Jersey and Walnut Grove.”
Butcher said the church’s heartbeat is to share God’s love with as many people as possible.
“It is important to have relationships in the community,” Social Circle campus pastor Nathan Boyd said. “We are big believers in being connected with the community. The big question we ask ourselves is, ‘If we weren’t here would the community miss us?’ We want that answer to be ‘Yes.’”
The unified goal is to provide the community with the mentality that the church is someone you can call for help.
“We want to be known for what we give than what we ask for,” Butcher said.
So far the transition and merger of the two churches has been well received and will open up new doors for the Jersey Community members.
“They have really enjoyed it – the new fellowship,” Little said. “They are more excited and have an energy with a bigger pond to swim in.”
Butcher said Church at the Grove is a casual experience that focuses on the scripture and having a relationship with God.
“We want people to come as they are,” he said.
For more information about Church at the Grove, their locations and services visit www.churchatthegrove.com.