Gregory Schoen and his family joined the Smyrna church community in October when he became the new senior pastor at Grace Point Church of God north of town. In the time since then, Pastor Schoen and his wife Angela have spent time emerging themselves in the Smyrna community hoping they can make it better in their own way.
Schoen's journey to Smyrna started in 1993 when he felt God calling him to be a pastor.
"We've been serving in the church but all the while having a feeling like God's been calling us to the place where we are now," Schoen said.
When the Schoens started at Grace Point Church of God, Angela said the church membership consisted only of their family but over the past year their congregation has grown, and the members of the church are dedicated and very supportive.
"We really love the Smyrna community. We really have a heart for the Smyrna area and the time that we've been down here we've met a lot of great people," Schoen said. "We want to be able to reach out to the community. I think that for me, it says it in the bible in John 10:10, 'Jesus came to people we might have life, and have it more abundantly,' and so for me I want to see people have that abundant life, and in that abundant life is healthy relationships, good marriages, great families, freedom from addiction, and really just living life to the fullest. So we're really interested in having more people from the community come to the church and families in the area come out to see what we have here."
To help families in the area, the Schoens and members at Grace Point are starting new programs. The church has a bread ministry, which is Mondays and Wednesday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Angela said anyone in the community can come and get the bread for free. They're also going to be doing quarterly giveaways of clothing, household items, books and more. The next giveaway will be Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Another activity the church is holding is a program called, "Tough questions you've always wanted to ask God." Schoen said one part of the activity gives people a chance to get answers for questions including "Why does God allow suffering?" and more. This program is on Sundays at 11 a.m. through Sept. 8.
One other program Schoen said they're looking to start is called Celebrate Recovery.
"Celebrate Recovery is about people who have hurts and hang-ups and habits, and getting freedom in their lives," Schoen said. "So it's geared towards people who don't ordinarily come to a church service but they will come out to the people like themselves who are fed up with their lives. For example, maybe somebody's an alcoholic and they're trying to kick that habit so they come out with others who are here to support them."
Angela said they don't have a start date for the program but they're reaching out to other churches to partner with on the project. She said they've been making an effort in working with other churches in the community to serve the community and help those in need.
"It's just a blessing for us to get to know some of the folks in the community and to let them know that there are people out there who care about them, and you know are here to support them and help them as we can," Angela said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.