Meeting at our home, August 2015
Meeting at Chesnee Elem School, Feb. 2016
A Letter from Pastor Mike
Welcome to The Garden! For as long as I can remember, Chesnee has been my home. I went to elementary school and graduated high school here, I cruised the streets as a teenager, I married my high school sweetheart here, we built our home here and we are raising our family here too! When our oldest son went through extreme health problems years ago, the community of Chesnee rallied around us in a way we will never forget. Community is an amazing thing and these many memories, get me so excited about what the Lord is doing through The Garden!
To give you some history, my family and I moved to the town of Chesnee from Greenville when I was 2 years old. Not long after, at the young age of 6, I lost my GrandPa and my Dad, both in sudden accidents and within a span of only 6 months. They were the two men I held closest to me, the men I looked up to and the men that protected me. Their deaths left me with a crippling fear of death and severe anxiety that I would battle for the next 15 years. That anxiety caused major problems for me in school, as a rebellious teenager and it left me in a bondage I couldn’t escape. In my younger years, I watched my Mom struggle and sacrifice to provide for my sister and myself with very little income and resources. I know what brokenness feels like, I know what barely getting by feels like, and I know what loneliness and hurt feel like. BUT in 1995, at the age of 18, I learned what it was to be freed, to be healed, to experience abundance, not in myself or my surroundings, but by the saving grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He came into my life, taking not only my sin but the bondage I had lived in since being that 6 year old boy. This freedom in Jesus changed my life because it was real!
In 2005, I surrendered to the call to become a pastor and went back to college for the 2nd time but now as an adult, a husband and a father. I’ve now pastored over 10 years, and in the summer of 2015 I answered the Lord’s call for what He had next, to start a new church plant. A church centered on Christ where everyday people can be community and worship in causal clothes and come just as we are.
In late July of 2015, we started Bible study in our home on Sunday nights with a small group of people. That grew, and in August of that year we started doing Sunday mornings together, sharing in meals together after service and spending the afternoons in fellowship and just being together. After prayer and counsel, the Lord showed us that we weren't being called to start a church across the country or even across town, but right HERE, in Chesnee, where we live everyday.
As Fall 2015 came, we sought sponsorship with Cherokee Springs Baptist Church and began the process to officially incorporate The Garden Church. The Garden was then approved under the Southern Baptist Convention for sponsorship as a new church plant. Little did I know that as God was preparing me to start a new work in Chesnee, the Baptist Convention was already praying for a new church planter from Chesnee and for Chesnee! God's timing is always on time! Seeking God's direction, we began looking for our first meeting location outside our home and were soon blessed to partner with the Chesnee Elementary School for Sunday services. We began services there on February 7, 2016. Our prayer was that within 2 years of starting services at the school, we would be able to step out to our first "physical" home. After 18 months at the school and being a mobile church, God opened the door to that first "physical" home and we couldn't be more blessed! We so enjoyed our time at the school because there we grew in size, in faith and in closeness to each other and the community! But we are so excited to have a permanent HOME! On September 10th of this year, the old Movie Gallery building, right on Main Street, was renovated and became the new home of The Garden! This building had sat empty for around 5 years and we are so excited to be using it for God's glory and to be right in the middle of the community! We would love to have you visit us and meet the amazing servants at TGC! They are like none other!!
I can’t think of anything better than growing God's kingdom and starting right here at home! I look forward to having you join us.
In Christ Love,
Meeting at New Home in the old Movie Gallery, Sept. 2017
Pastor Mike & His Family
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