Southeast Presbytery received ONEchurch of Athens, GA, as a mission church on Saturday, February 2. Church Development Chair Larry Newman said, “We’re not working ‘outside the box’ by receiving ONEchurch; we’re throwing the box away!”
Larry’s comment was sparked by the distinctive model of the ONEchurch plant. As pastor Stephen Hightower told the presbytery, “We’re following an ‘entrepreneurial missions’ approach to church planting – a new take on tent making. The plan is to open a café to help cover the expenses of the church so that we can focus on reaching people who do not understand or are unable to give financially to a church.” He added, “We want our café to be a ‘third place’ – a place between home and work where people of all walks of life intersect.”
Pastor Stephen Hightower and Associate Pastor Seth Edmonds launched ONEchurch in April of 2011 in Athens, home to the University of Georgia. Their vision is to reach the un-churched, the de-churched, and the generally frustrated with church. Stephen assured the Presbytery that there were plenty of people matching that description in Athens. Operating as a house church for nearly two years with a vision for non-traditional church planting has been challenging, but Stephen expressed what a blessing the members of the Southeast Presbytery had been for ONEchurch. Thanking the Southeast Presbytery for its warm welcome Stephen said, “We have received more affirmation and encouragement in the last 24 hours than we have in the last two years.”
Upon receiving ONEchurch as a mission church, the Presbytery approved the immediate disbursal of $10,000 to support this new initiative, and approved $30,000 to match funds given to support ONEchurch. Tommy Jordan, a 1992 graduate of the University of Georgia, led in prayer as leaders of the presbytery laid hands on Stephen and Seth. Photo: left to right are Associate Pastor Seth Edmonds and Pastor Stephen Hightower.
For more information about our newest mission church, go to www.one-church.ws.