FAITH IN ACTION IS FOUND AT GRACE COASTAL CHURCH
Wrapped up in the sermons, the service and the ceremony are two words that define the mission at Grace Coastal Church, and indeed faith itself: Gospel transformation.
“We believe the gospel is the good news that can transform us as Christians and can transform our community,” said Senior Pastor Sam Joyner. “It should not just be an insurance policy to get us into heaven, it should have an impact now.”
Putting faith into action is a hallmark of Grace Coastal Church. One of the first questions Joyner asks of his flock is what they intend to do with the message. He wants each member of his church to seek out ways they can be a transforming influence on the world.
“We want to be a blessing on our community,” Joyner explained. Being a blessing means sowing good deeds wherever possible. Working with Family Promise of Beaufort County, Grace Coastal Church opens its doors to families with children who find themselves temporarily homeless, giving them food, shelter and fellowship as they work to rebuild their lives. Members of the congregation work on the nonprofit James Project, helping with construction on the weekends. They team with Learn Together Lowcountry to give homeschooled students a place to come together for extracurricular activities ranging from Jiu Jitsu to calligraphy. And their ministry regularly hosts Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings.
Service to the community is part of a comprehensive approach to faith that focuses on lifting up each congregant.
“We want to help you on an individual basis, where you’re saying, ‘Where am I stuck in life? Where have I been wounded? Where can I get unstuck? Where can I get healed by the gospel?’” he said.
One of Joyner’s favorite Bible passages speaks to this mission, found in Matthew 11:28-30:
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“I’ve found that following Christ lightens the load or the yoke of expectations,” said Joyner. “The world will fill your cart with all kinds of stuff that says, ‘Unless you do these things you’re nobody.’”
Welcoming those who have been wounded by their experiences with religion is one of the central tenets of Grace Coastal Church.
“We have Saturday night gatherings for the uniquely wounded, people who grew up in the church and had a bad experience,” said Joyner. “They may not be ready to come back on Sunday morning, but they want to take a step back toward the church.”
These meetings also welcome “seekers,” those who are seeking their first experience with the gospel. It’s an ethos of hospitality and welcoming all that truly reflects the teachings of Christ.
“I love pointing people to the place where I found help for myself,” said Joyner. “The life that I found is possible through Jesus. I want to share that.”