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Churches Planting Churches in the Lowcountry

Churches Planting Churches in the Lowcountry

Churches Planting Churches in the Lowcountry

The Lowcountry of South Carolina, known for its picturesque landscapes and historic cities, is also one of the least churched areas in the state.

Under the guidance of Lead Pastor Brett Myers, First Baptist Church Hilton Head Island is on a mission to address the spiritual need in the area. The church was instrumental in sending out Pastor Bobby Thompson with City Hope Church in Okatie, SC, and will send out Geoff Lawson, a church planting resident, to establish Grace Bible Church in Bluffton.

Pastor Brett Myers baptizes a member of First Baptist Church Hilton Head Island.

The Call for More Churches

Myers shared that the area has grown by over 30% each decade. To put it into perspective, Tom Gore, church planting strategist at SCBaptist, said the ratio is around one church to 7,000 people in the Lowcountry. “We desperately need to answer the call of God to start new churches here,” Gore said.

Before coming to Hilton Head, Myers was a church planter with the North American Mission Board in Canada. “When I moved here, I struggled with coming back to an established church,” Myers said. However, he realized that an established church could contribute to church planting by using its resources to send out and equip church planters. “I’m thrilled to see the combination of being in a healthy church, able to send planters,” he said.

Pastor Bobby Thompson planted City Hope Church in 2022.

Sending and Supporting Church Planters

The church sent out Bobby Thompson with City Hope Church in 2022. City Hope has already seen individuals follow Christ in baptism and is finding ways to reach out to the community through school and non-profit partnerships. The church is on a mission to “invite everyday people to experience the hope of Jesus in every way,” Thompson said. “We want people to see, feel, and know the goodness of God.” 

The church not only provides support to its planters but also offers a residency program that prepares them thoroughly for their mission. Currently a resident at First Baptist, Geoff Lawson will be sent out to plant in the fall of 2024. The residency program offers him the opportunity to spend time with leadership, learning, and growing in his calling. “It’s given Geoff time just to really focus in on his call to Bluffton and to come alongside our team,” Myers said. 

Investing in Future Planters

Aside from equipping the residents, the program also helps the church. “It’s given us an opportunity with the church planting resident for our church to understand the need in our area for churches,” Myers said. He also hopes that the Lord may begin to call members of the congregation to consider being part of a church planting team. “We pray that more churches in the future will be called out from our team here at the church,” Myers said.

Although the church will not officially launch until the fall, Geoff shared that there is already movement happening with a small group meeting weekly. He emphasized the importance of coming alongside other churches, local associations, and the SCBaptist Convention for support. “Our competition isn’t other churches, our competition is the culture,” Lawson said. “As we work closely and work together for the cause of Christ, people will know we walk with him because we’re walking together.”

Pastors Bobby Thompson and Geoffrey Lawson partner with Tom Gore of SCBaptist’s Start Network.

Value in Partnering

All three pastors shared about the value they found in partnering with the Savannah River Baptist Association and with SCBaptist’s Start Network. “Since we’ve been here planting City Hope Church, I’ve felt that everybody around us is there to help and pray and do it,” Thompson said. He recalled spending time with other pastors and church planters, learning from their wisdom and asking questions as they arose in the process. 

Myers also shared about pastors from the Savannah River Baptist Association who have been praying for a movement of the Lord to come to the Lowcountry. He emphasized the unity of the pastors and that they have one purpose: to reach people in Beaufort County with the hope of the Gospel. “It’s an exciting time as people understand the need and that we’re all part of the same team and toward the same goal,” Myers said.

  • Anna Gardner

    Anna Gardner

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