I had the privilege this past weekend to return to my hometown of North Augusta, SC and participate in TrueNorth Church’s 10 year “birthaversary”. To be reunited with brothers and sisters in Christ that I used to serve alongside with was a special moment that I will cherish for a long time. And to look out on the crowd and see hundreds of faces that I remember watching get baptized and begin to follow Christ…well…I don’t have words to describe that. It definitely filled my heart with joy!
I remember when Steve Davis came to me one day in December 2003 and told me about this crazy vision he had for starting a new church in town. He said the church would be different than what we knew. At the time, we were going to a local Baptist church that was very traditional. Steve’s vision was for a church that would be more suited for those in our community that didn’t want anything to do with church. He wanted me to join him in this adventure as the worship leader. It wasn’t a hard decision to make. I was all in!
As we started meeting together officially in February 2004, we numbered less than 50 adults and children. We were friends and family that had bought into this vision of something new, something fresh. We had no clue what God had in store for us. The coming months, Steve was adamant that we keep the group small so we could train and prepare for the launch of TrueNorth. He even discouraged us from inviting people during that season, that the time to invite would come soon. Despite this, our numbers grew to 150 by July. Momentum was building.
Music started out as me and the college aged daughter of one of our core members that would travel home from Columbia every weekend to sing with me. Our “band” was a bunch of GarageBand loops I patched together that I could never remember the structure of! As we assembled our first band, it was exciting and nerve wracking to see each spot get filled. By early August, we had our group together. Our drummer was 12 years old and played like someone much older. Our lead guitarist and bassist were young and full of passion and energy. The keyboardist was nervous because her classical training would need to be overcome for this new style of music we would be doing. Surprisingly, everything came together quite nicely.
On August 22, 2004, TrueNorth Church had its official first service at the North Augusta High School auditorium, a place they have called home ever since. We had 300 people show up that day. God absolutely blew us away…and that was just the start. By February, we had doubled in size again and made the decision to start having two services. But the numbers aren’t what I want to emphasize. It was the lives that were being changed. Our mission was to “transform spiritual seekers into passionate followers of Christ”. We were all spiritual seekers, and we saw seekers at all levels of spirituality begin to pursue Jesus more than they did before. We saw the chains of addiction broken. We saw marriages and families healed. And as I stood on that familiar stage this past Sunday, I was taken back to those early days, those wonderful days. As a worship leader, there is nothing like seeing those you’ve had the privilege of journeying with sing their hearts out in worship of the living God!
God continues to grow and use TrueNorth. They have a new building being built, their very first one. At Easter this year, attendance topped 3000. And the life-change stories continue to emerge. This wild adventure that was planted in Steve’s heart in 2003 has become more than any of us could have imagined in those pre-launch days. That’s the power of God. When He leads and we follow His lead, He will do amazing things through us.
Tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. I am so thankful for the five years I was able to be a part of TrueNorth Church. God did as much in my own heart as He did in everyone else’s. For all my dear friends that I used to do life with through small groups, band practices, and staff meetings, I am so incredibly thankful for each of you! And to TrueNorth, I am excited about the next 10 years and what God has in store for you! Keep lifting up, loving in, and living out. God bless you!