Element Church celebrates five years

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Element Church has been working to reach people far from God for five years.

“Looking at the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t feel like five years that we have been together. When you go back and think about what God has done and look at some of the mile markers we have hit over time, it almost feels like 10 years we have been together,” said James Radford, worship pastor. “God has moved in such a mighty way in every step that he has led us in.”

The vision for the church came from Lead Pastor Neil Perry, who felt that God was calling him to start a church in his hometown of Forest City.

“In 2006, Neil went to North Point Community Church to hear a man named Bruce Wilkinson speak on a book he wrote called ‘The Dream Giver’. It was there that God have him the vision to start a church,” said Isaiah Gibson, children’s pastor. “In 2007 he began to put the framework together for Element Church.”

The church, which now has campuses in Forest City and

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Shelby, will celebrate the anniversary tomorrow during a special combined service in The Foundation at Isothermal Community College. The college is where the first services were held in 2007.

“We started off at ICC by doing monthly momentum services, so it is kind of cool that we can go back there for our five year anniversary,” said Jeff Marburger, discipleship pastor.

The church eventually began having weekly services, which were held at R-S Central High School. They moved to their Forest City campus on South Broadway Street after merging with Alexander Baptist Church in 2010.

“I was with Alexander Baptist Church and we were in a transition period with pastors. We were connected because we knew Neil, who had been in the area for many years,” Craig Blanton, administrative pastor said. “We had transitioned into a similar type of music and things and really wanted to go a direction in which they were already going.”

Element added the Shelby campus in January 2012. Skip Allen is the Shelby campus pastor. Services are held at Shelby Middle School.

“Neil was my youth pastor at Putnam Baptist Church before he left there to start Element in Forest City. There was a church in Shelby who pastor had left. I was doing student ministry and they approached me about coming on as their lead pastor. Neil had been a mentor in my life since seventh grade, so I was asking him what he thought about that opportunity,” Allen said. “He told me that he had actually been praying and thinking about starting a Shelby campus, the church felt that God was leading them in that direction. So I went to the church who had approached me and told them that Element was coming to Shelby and asked them what they though about starting with them. God just brought it all together.”

According to Blanton, the campuses combined have around 600 people that attend. He says there are plans to expand to other areas in the future.

“We exist to find people that need Jesus, that is the reason we are there. That is the reason we are hoping to go to other campuses this year and other towns,” Blanton said. “We are just trying to be faithful in the fact that we make sure we are where God wants us to be.”

For more information about Element Church, you can visit http://elementc3.com. The special anniversary service will begin at 10:30 a.m. at The Foundation tomorrow. All are welcome.