New River clearing path for worship center

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comAugust 13, 2013 

— The clearing along Evergreen Road is making way for the newest phase of New River Community Church, a worship center to keep up with overwhelming growth.

“It’s been an eye-popping, jaw-dropping kind of thing,” said pastor Arthur Mace.

The new center across Evergreen from the existing church campus will provide space for worship, children’s ministry and adult discipleship. The new worship facility will seat about 1,000. A balcony expansion could add 300 to 400 more seats.

The space may be new, but the need isn’t. The current building opened in 2008. At groundbreaking, there were about 125 people. Close to 800 showed up the first Sunday service.

“The growth was explosive,” said Jesse Bowles, connections pastor for New River. “We’ve been over full since the day we opened this building.”

New River opened a south campus on Hands Mill Highway. The two campuses offer three Sunday and one Saturday service weekly. During the past four years, there have been about 2,300 conversions and 1,100 baptisms.

The 25 acres at the Evergreen Road is currently being cleared for construction. A structure could start rising in 40 to 60 days, Mace said. He said a rough estimate puts an opening at least as far out as next summer.

The church started more than a decade ago and held services in an old video poker hall, school and vacated church building before opening its two current campuses.

“We had real humble beginnings here,” Bowles said, “but when it came, it came.”

The pastors say they’ve heard discontent from neighbors about the land being cleared, but say the property would be developed by someone whether it’s them or another owner. Bowles said he hopes neighbors will take to the project that may bring activity a day or two a week versus every day.

Plans are still being worked out as to how much of the existing New River space will be used by the church once the new facility opens. Church leaders hope the new space will enhance what they’ve been able to do.

“God’s been great to us,” Mace said, “and we don’t want to mess it up.”

More info

NRCC has two locations: North at 133 Carroll Cove in Lake Wylie and South at 3168 Hands Mill Hwy. in York. North campus services are held at 6 p.m. Saturday, and 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. Sundays. South campus service is held at 10:30 a.m. Sundays. Call 803-831-8800 or visit nrcc.net.

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