Lake Wylie area churches changing to share ministry

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comFebruary 10, 2013 

— On March 10, local churchgoers might want to wear nametags.

Two Lake Wylie churches are changing locations and another is combining two services into one with all three churches hoping to reach a common goal.

“We’re all sort of connected,” said Matt McGarity, pastor at Relevant Church. “It’s mutual ministry.”

Relevant will move its worship service from Oakridge Middle School to Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Steele Creek. Pleasant Hill will combine its current 8:30 and 11 a.m. services into one at 9 a.m., allowing Relevant to worship in the sanctuary at 11 a.m.

Relevant will continue its lakeside campus service at 9 a.m. at Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce.

“We’re still going to operate as two different churches,” McGarity said. “They’re still going to be a Presbyterian church, and we’re still going to be non-denominational.”

McGarity’s move from Oakridge allows The Journey now meeting at Crowders Creek Elementary School to relocate there. The Journey has about 150 to 175 people on an average Sunday.

“It’s a really good place,” said The Journey’s pastor, Kenny Ashley, who also writes Graceline column for Lake Wylie Pilot. “We don’t have a lot of rules. We don’t have membership. If people want to be there, they can be there.”

Storage and parking spurred the move to Oakridge.

“It’s bigger,” Ashley said of the middle school. “It’s easier to get into and out of.”

The service time will continue at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.

Pleasant Hill’s congregation and Relevant average about 200 each on Sundays.

Pleasant Hill Pastor Bob Jack said the partnership can help with concerts, missions and outreach.

“We’ll be joining together in other areas,” he said.

Jack said his and McGarity’s ministries are “very dissimilar,” but all are brothers and sisters in Christ. The two met years ago at seminary and have discussed ways of working together. Now they’re ready.

“We both share the same vision, same mission,” McGarity said.

Pleasant Hill will continue its Sunday school, but will emphasize smaller life groups. Jack wants more evening youth offerings.

For a church 177 years into its ministry – one of the first locally to minister to freed slaves and to allow ordained women – the “fairly traditional” congregation shouldn’t have aproblem with the new direction.

“Pleasant Hill’s never shied away from a challenge,” said Jack, with Pleasant Hill for 27 years.

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