GCC began in 1986 as a Methodist church plant. Founding pastor Mark Beeson led GCC with a clear vision from day 1: Helping people take their next step toward Christ...Together. GCC does everything with intentionality, and it is evident in their stories, the leadership team, and their campus development. As builders, the members of the NACDB are always seeking to learn from innovative and successful churches "facilities" stuff that we can pass on to churches we work with. While that was true on this visit, the real learning came from the heart of the leaders.
Tim Stevens (Executive Pastor), Theresa Hoeft (Project Manager), and the whole GCC team live out their calling in tangible ways every day. As we listened to the story of GCC and toured their facilities, it was very evident that this is a body of believers who know their stuff, but more importantly know Who they are serving.
This was nowhere more evident than our visit to the Monroe Circle Community Center (MC3) in downtown South Bend. Begun a few years ago from the hearts of a few GCCers with a heart for missions and the urban area of South Bend, it has developed into a laser-focused strategy with not only bricks and mortar presence (of the MC3 facility) but through relational programming that is reversing the trends of welfare dependency and hopelessness prevalent throughout the community. Dan Blacketor leads this amazing work, with hundreds of GCCers volunteering their gifts and abilities throughout the week. Here is a sampling of what MC3 is accomplishing:
- SonCity Kids-onsite activities and offsite field trips for inner city kids
- SonCity Summers-8 week camp for kids
- SonCity Teens-mentoring and coaching for inner city teens
- SonCity Afterschool-afterschool tutoring, reading, snacks, and homework
- Cafe' and Food Pantry-serving over 300 families per month
- Life Basics-teaching life and home skills to women in the community
- GED-working with adults to complete their GED
- The Gathering-small group faith community, serving over 90+ weekly
- Prison Transition-works with prisoners while they are in the work release center
- STARs-vocational training partnership with the Center for the homeless
- Little League-starting this weekend, a new team with assistance from the Silverhawks (minor league team next door to the center)
- and more to come!
Granger Community Church would say they're nothing special, just doing what God called them - individually and collectively - to do.
Would that every church could say-and do-the same.