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Thursday, December 5, 2013
Since its inception a decade ago, TrueNorth Church has lacked a place of its own. The church meets every Sunday at North Augusta High School, with a transformation taking place in the early morning hours for the school to go from a place of academia to a place of worship.
In recent weeks, construction has ramped up on the Martintown Road location. Though the groundbreaking ceremony occurred in January, progress was slowed due to the rain during the summer. Associate Pastor Gene Jennings said the setup and relationship with North Augusta High School has been great, but there was always the understanding that, as the church grew, they would have to find a permanent place.
“It has been a great learning experience for our church because it helps them understand the church is not a building – it's about people,” he said. “That's one of the most valuable lessons we have learned; that we don't have to have a building to exist and have an impact.”
TrueNorth's land was purchased roughly four or five years ago, Jennings said. The reasoning behind this included the church needing a permanent base of operations.
“We don't see it just as a place where people show up on Sunday,” he said. “We see it as a place where we can minister throughout the week and year round. We knew years ago that we had to find our own place. We were blessed to find 16 acres on Martintown Road. Of course our church was excited to pay for that and be involved in that, and then we spent a few years designing and planning. We had to make sure our financial house was in order to build the building.”
Jennings said trees were moved around in March and the church got off to a “pretty good” start and was ahead of schedule. The rain in June and July quickly put a halt to that and put the process behind by six weeks.
“Since then we have been blessed with good weather and continue to make good progress,” Jennings said. “Hopefully we will have a moderate winter and will be able to catch up to where we were in the summer.”
TrueNorth's campus will include two buildings. The worship center, which is the larger building and faces the road, will seat between 850 to 1,000 people and is 22,000-square-feet and will also have some meeting rooms. The second building will be for children's ministry and administration, and will be about 21,000-square-feet and accommodate children from birth to fifth grade. The lower level, which can't be seen from the road, will be the administrative offices and the upper part will be for the children.
Jennings said the contractor is looking at September 2014 as a finish line, with good weather possibly making that time line a bit shorter.
“We have great people and we like to say that we are a pretty diverse group,” he said. “We have people from all different socioecomonic groups in the North Augusta area. We started with a core of about eight families and from there we have grown. We get people from all walks of life – some from a church background who see what we're doing and like it, and some with a nonchurch background or haven't been involved in a church at all. It has been a neat thing to see all of these people brought together.”
For more information on TrueNorth Church, visit its website at www.truenorthchurch.com.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.