On September 30th, the Greater Wilmington Church celebrated its official beginning as a new congregation! Together with disciples from all over the Carolinas and with many visitors from the Wilmington community, we worshipped God, prayed for the future of the church, and rejoiced in all that God has done to get the GWC started.
After service, we all celebrated the launch of the church with a barbecue on the deck of the USS North Carolina, a World War II battleship that is now a museum and landmark in Wilmington. As we ate and enjoyed rich fellowship overlooking the Cape Fear River, we commemorated a special moment when we were launched into the spiritual battle for the souls of this city—a moment that we will always remember.
This dedication service was a testament to the unity of the Carolina churches and to the shared partnership and vision among our entire Southeast fellowship. So many different churches have supported this church planting. Some have given financial contributions; some have sent their own church members to be a part of the team; others have offered prayer and counsel. We are especially grateful for the commitments from our churches in Triangle, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Jacksonville, Greensboro, and Athens. This planting has truly been a collaborative effort of many churches working together.
The Triangle Church of Christ has been instrumental in this planting effort. In faith, the Triangle Church has provided the main financial funding for the GWC, and serves as the “mother” church that provides continual spiritual
direction and support. Disciples from the Triangle Church make up 18 of the 25 members of the mission team. Over the last few years, the Triangle Church has planted 3 new churches even as they have worked hard to merge two churches together at home. (In 2011, the East Triangle Church of Christ and the Triangle Church reunited to form one fellowship.) They have set such a great example of working hard in their own church without losing a focus on the mission.
In addition to the Triangle Church, our sister congregation in Jacksonville, NC has provided instrumental support in the planting of the GWC. Led by Jeff and Isabelle Reynolds, the Coastal Carolina Church is a small church comprised mainly of disciples who also serve in the military, and they are a church with a huge heart. Before the official launch of the GWC, the Jacksonville church “adopted” the handful of disciples who were living in Wilmington and provided a welcoming spiritual home for them while they waited for the Wilmington church to be planted. The entire Jacksonville
church joined us for our dedication service, and many of them volunteered as ushers and as teachers in the children’s ministry. We are deeply grateful to the Jacksonville church and to Jeff and Isabelle Reynolds for being our true partners in the gospel.It is clear that God is developing a great fellowship of congregations in the coastal Carolina region. Our sister church in Fayetteville has been a great help to the GWC as well—not only by helping with some financial needs, but also by sharing our vision of reaching eastern North Carolina. In addition, we are looking forward to a great partnership with the congregation that will soon be planted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In 2013, David and Lisa Laing will lead a mission team to Myrtle Beach, just 70 miles south of Wilmington. We were excited to have the Laings join us for our service, and we look forward to developing a meaningful relationship with their church. Please
pray that together all of these young churches can grow and spur one another on to courageously advance the gospel in our area of the world, building churches that will stand the test of time and change lives for generations to come. www.thegwchurch.com