by Keith Farner, Gwinnett Daily Post, Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
LAWRENCEVILLE — In the days leading up to Sunday, Kevin Myers has the same kind of feeling he had 27 years ago when the 12Stone ministry began.
The senior pastor at 12Stone church said Wednesday he feels “all kinds of excitement” and “great expectations” because the church is about to do something not done in its history, and only sparingly seen in churches across the country.
12Stone on Sunday will launch five new campuses across Gwinnett and Barrow counties that will more than double its destinations for worship. The church, which averages about 16,000 people each Sunday, will open the new campuses at schools where they expect to welcome about 300 people each.
The expansion brings 12Stone’s total worship offering to 27 opportunities across nine campuses…
The locations will be called Bethlehem at Yargo Elementary in Winder, Braselton at Duncan Creek Elementary in Hoschton, Buford at Lanier High, Grayson at Covenant Christian Academy in Loganville and Pharr Elementary in Snellville.
It’s existing campuses are in Lawrenceville, Hamilton Mill, Flowery Branch and Duluth.
It’s not the first time 12Stone has partnered with schools. Before it opened the Sugarloaf campus in Duluth, it held services for two years at Peachtree Ridge High.
Each campus will have a full-time campus pastor, full-time worship leader/youth pastor, part-time administrative assistant and part-time children’s ministry director. The church also plans to add three to five positions to its central support staff because of the expansion. Plans for the expansion began about 20 months ago, Myers said.
The new locations were chosen because Myers said that’s where the church has the most people and most influence. In a preliminary list, the church looked into other cities such as Gainesville, Jefferson and Athens, and Myers said the church could still reach those areas or eventually add a location there.
“So part of what this does is actually opens up the door to future opportunities as well,” he said…
All of the new locations will have services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays, and Buford and Braselton will also have 1 p.m. services.
“The convenience factor is significant, but so is the connection, which is the most important thing,” Myers said. “People are connected in communities. If we’re going to see people come to faith and find God’s better life, we’ve got to be closer to their community. Community and connection are really important to us and why we would even bother to bring the church into another community…”