Grace Church at West Shore, St. Leonard, Md., is featured in a story this week at SoMdNews (Southern Maryland Newspapers Online) along with several other new churches in the region. A portion of the story appears below. Click here to read the complete article.
Churches start with seeds of faith
Local pastors confront challenges in creating new churches from the ground up
Attend a church service at LIFEpoint Church in Waldorf and, instead of an offering plate, a hubcap will be passed around to collect tithes and offerings.
That’s an homage to how the church started out: in a garage.
Jay McKinley, the pastor of Grace Church at West Shore, which meets in a school in St. Leonard, doesn’t know if he will have to take a second job in addition to pastoring his congregation of about 120 people to make ends meet in the coming year. …
McKinley’s church, Grace Church at West Shore, which meets at St. Leonard Elementary School, was also planted by an existing congregation, Grace Brethren Church in Owings. It wasn’t a split of congregations, McKinley said, but rather, a creation of a “daughter church.”
In the beginning, the team planting the new congregation was careful and methodical, meeting weekly, getting advice from other church planters and praying diligently about the new congregation.
“I would rather take the slow, steady route,” McKinley said. …
McKinley, like Kooy, had been in ministry for three decades, but always in an established church. He never was convinced church planting was for him. After serving as an associate pastor at Grace Brethren Church in Owings for 14 years, he gave in to plans bigger than the ones he originally had for himself.
“I felt like I heard God communicating clearly to me,” McKinley said.
In the beginning stages of a church’s life, it’s common for the congregation to meet in a location other than a traditional church building. LIFEpoint started in a retrofitted garage on the New Life campus. Grace Church meets in an elementary school cafeteria with a few temporary modifications to turn it into a meeting space. BridgeWay meets in a school gym and requires a set of volunteers to set up and tear down the stage, curtains and dividers. …
McKinley’s Grace Church has to adapt and be creative to find other meeting spaces to use throughout the week. McKinley works out of his home office and teaches a class each week out of a parishioner’s home. Other home groups meet throughout the week. A church building isn’t in the cards yet, since the congregation is so new. In its second full year, the focus is on being stable, he said.
But a church doesn’t equate to a building, McKinley said. In the original Greek, church means “those who are called out,” he said. The church is the people, not the building.
Click here to read the complete article.