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Building a Church Family at Coastway Church

Building a Church Family at Coastway Church

Building a Church Family at Coastway Church

Coastway Church was a response to the need for more healthy, gospel-centered churches in an area experiencing dynamic growth.

In June of 2021, a small group embarked on a mission with Jeremy Woods, lead pastor of Coastway Church, to plant a new church in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina. Their journey was marked by prayer, seeking counsel, and a calling to address spiritual needs in a rapidly growing community.

“If the city of man is seeking to add infrastructure, we believe that the city of God must do the same,” Woods said. “In a place where subdivisions are being built faster than local churches, we saw an opportunity to start a new church that would do something about that.”

They identified Myrtle Beach as the fastest-growing city in the United States, with an influx of 50 people daily. “You could plant one new church every single week and not come close to keeping up with the historic population boom,” Woods said.

Makayla Buckner celebrates moments after her baptism with friends.

Outreach at Coastal Carolina

The team’s vision extended beyond mere congregation growth; they aimed to foster a multi-generational focus, particularly toward college students attending Coastal Carolina University (CCU). With roughly 11,000 students, CCU represented a ripe mission field. “We are thrilled and thankful to be able to bring the Gospel to a place and a campus like CCU,” Woods said.

After hearing about Coastway on campus, Makayla Buckner decided to visit. “Ever since I heard Pastor Jeremy preach that first message I kind of knew that this was a place where I belong,” Buckner said.

Although she grew up a believer, she was never baptized, doubting that she was good enough to take that step. “After coming to Coastway, I truly felt that I was ready to publicly declare that Jesus is my Savior,” Buckner said.

Kaleb Ranhorn, another CCU student, shared that he believes the Lord used Coastway to seek him out. “Coastway just provided a place for me to feel so welcomed and loved,” he said.

Tracy and Mike Hensley join in prayer during the service at Coastway Church.

Planting through Challenges

The challenges inherent in church planting were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the team to adapt to virtual meetings and navigate cultural differences in their new community. However, amidst these challenges, they witnessed the fulfillment of God’s promise to build his church as Coastway Church grew from 24 adults to 189 attendees for Easter service.

Coastway believes their success was possible due to the support received from sending churches and South Carolina Baptist’s Start Network. These partnerships provided not only financial resources but also encouragement, prayers, and practical assistance. “We are privileged to be able to play a small part in seeing that vision fulfilled and the Gospel advance in our great state,” Woods said.

For Mike and Tracy Hensley who moved from Asheville to help plant the church, Coastway became a home. “Coastway, to me, has meant a deeper understanding of what the body of Christ looks like,” Tracy said. They found a family that is willing to support others through challenges and celebrate victories, embodying the unity for believers in Christ.

  • Anna Gardner

    Anna Gardner

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