Wanting to welcome those who are new to the community and those who need a fresh start are at the heart of Grace Point Church, a new church plant which currently meets at the Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville.
Dr. Chris Dortch, who has been serving in ministry since 1993, serves as the lead pastor of the church. He is also the author of several books and the host of “Growing University with Pastor Chris Dortch” available on iTunes Podcasts. He is a graduate of Liberty University as well as Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dortch and his wife, Cheryl met during their freshman year of college at Tatesbrook Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where Cheryl’s dad served as the founding and senior pastor. Cheryl is the Assistant Principal at South Elementary School in Mooresville, She began in July 2003 as a first grade teacher and was awarded “Teacher of the Year” for both her school and entire Mooresville Graded School District in 2011-12. She is currently working on her doctorate. They have one son, Carson, who graduated from Mooresville High School in 2012, and he and his wife, Jessica have a son Easton.
Dortch shared that it was during a conversation that he and Associate Pastor Chris Holder were having, that “the idea of a church plan in Mooresville was birthed in our hearts.”
While both were serving in full-time vocational ministry at this particular time, Dortch noted that they “sensed God was calling us to this area for a new work of ministry.” Both were also familiar with the Lake Norman area as Holder grew up in this area, and Dortch said that his family moved here in 2001, and this is their home.
The pair conducted some research and discovered that in 1990, Mooresville’s population was 9000 people and in 2020 the census would reveal that the population would be closer to 90,000. Dortch shared that there are about 270,000 people who live around Lake Norman and an estimated 180,000 of those people who have moved to the Lake Norman area do not identify with any of the local churches.
“That’s 180,000 people who don’t have the support system of a local church. While our churches in Mooresville and the Lake Norman area have grown, as a whole we’re not keeping up with the growth of the community,” Dortch said. We want to be a church that welcomes the new people to the community. Grace Point is a great church for people who need a fresh start. We want to remove barriers that often prevent people from exploring faith in the local church.”
Dortch pointed out that their name also reflects the church’s mission of service and love. He explained that “a ‘grace point’ is the place where the Great Commission and the Great Commandment intersect with one another. The Great Commission is Jesus’ command to take the gospel to the world, and the Great Commandment is Jesus’ command to love God and love others. That’s why our mission state is simply, ‘Where the Gospel Meets Life.’”
Planting a church is not new to Dortch. While he has served established churches since 1993, he shared that 13 of those years he was on staff at Christ Community in Huntersville where everyone on staff had a passion for church planting. While there, he said they helped plant and revitalize several churches.
“In fact, we trained, equipped and planted Christ Community Church Mooresville where Pastor David Teague continues to serve. I guess you could say I’ve been a church planter in training for many years,” Dortch noted.
With this background in church planting, he was aware of the work before him. However, the pandemic added some extra challenges to the startup of the congregation.
“Church planting is hard work under normal circumstances,” Dortch said. “The challenges are amplified under our current conditions.”
Original plans for the congregation was to meet for monthly worship services at the AmStar Theater across from Walmart in Mooresville at which time the congregation grew from 30 to a peak attendance of 60 during the five month they met at that location, Dortch shared.
However if was at that time that COVID-19 hit and they were unable to continue meeting and had to transition to online services. The launching of their Kids Point also had to be put on hold at that point as well we further conversations about moving into the Lowe’s YMCA.
“The YMCA has been a super blessing,” Dortch said. “The network of YMCAs in our area hosts over a dozen church plants at their various locations. We’re very blessed to have them as a partner in the gospel.”
While not yet meeting indoors, the church is currently meeting for outdoor worship (weather permitting) at 10 a.m. on Sundays at the Lowe’s YMCA, 170 Joe Knox Ave., Mooresville.
Dortch said that they church has developed its own three-phase plan for returning to worship which includes the Phase 1 plan of outdoor worship.
Phase 2 for the church will offer indoor services in the gym at the local YMCA, and the final phase will continue with indoor worship services along with the addition of the Kids Point program.
“We want to be a church that emphasizes the hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Dortch shared as he noted that “there are two crises that we are currently facing in our world. The first is COVID-19 and the second is racism. As I mentioned earlier, 180,000 people around Lake Norman are trying to navigate this culture without the support system of a local church. Racism cannot be solved through legislation along. Racism is an issue of the heart. The government can pass laws, but they can’t speak to the heart,” he said. “That’s our role in the church. Our role is to emphasize that the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ is for people of every tribe, nation and tongue.” He noted that the scripture tells us that “Jesus entrusted His followers with the ministry of reconciliation. We want to help people become reconciled to God and then reconciled to one another.”
Dortch encouraged others to pray for this church plant and its ministry and for additional laborer as they themselves are praying for “those who are perhaps new to our community or people who simply in need of a fresh start to consider attending Grace point. People who are currently disconnected from a local church are on our hearts,” he said. “We want them to know that we’re here for them. That’s why we’re planting Grace Point.”
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