Bill White gives us an update on some new permanent facilities that will allow us to continue to drive discipleship into local communities. As we continue our mission to make disciples, a number of buildings for permanent facilities have recently come available. While we have been working on these acquisitions for several years, this may be the first you have heard of them. So we thought it would be good to answer some questions about our approach and why we believe in it so strongly.

Grace started in 1995 in
a home in Easley.

From there we moved from
place to place until finally, in
1999, a church building was given
to Grace on Pelham Road.

After years of slow and steady growth, people driving from Powdersville wanted a local congregation that they could invite their friends and neighbors to. So in 2008, we launched Powdersville using a video of the teaching from the first service at Pelham.

Late that year, with the Pelham campus still growing, we launched a service in downtown Greenville at The Handlebar, which eventually led to us having the opportunity to move into what is now the Downtown campus. We again saw the power of local ministry as the Downtown congregation quickly grew to more than 500 people.

With this, we became convinced of the power of local congregations.

What are the lessons we have learned?

1. We have found that local congregations drive discipleship into the local community. More people are reached, and more people are integrated into the life of the church.

2. When we provide central support and resources to a local congregation, it is more efficient and allows leaders, volunteers, and staff to do what they do best—help reach and disciple people in that community.

3. It doesn’t make sense to us to build bigger and bigger facilities at a single site and ask everyone to drive there. Not only is it more expensive, it’s also less effective.

4. For us, it has proven to be much better stewardship to buy and renovate existing smaller facilities. Not only is it less expensive but it also results in more people being discipled. *The accompanying chart shows that we have been able to launch four campuses and 11 additional worship services without increasing our debt.

How do we know this works?

1. Our new and smaller congregations lead to more engagement.

“It wasn’t until our family played a small part in launching the Anderson campus that we realized how much we needed Grace church. This was critical because we HAD to carry weight. This sparked something new in us, and we began to realize how much more fulfilling our lives were by serving. Now, we’re addicted.” – Josh S.

We’ve heard this same sentiment time and again with each campus launch.

2. New congregations lead to more people reached, especially when they move into a permanent facility. We have historically seen an increase in attendance of about 35% within the first eighteen months of moving into a permanent building.

3. When we establish a campus in a local community, people are three times more likely to connect in their first year than at a larger, more regional campus. The charts below, indicate how much more engaged people are in their first year at Powdersville and Harrison Bridge than at Pelham and Downtown. The good news is after three years these differences largely go away due to dedicated leaders, volunteers, and staff.

What are the new opportunities for permanent facilities?

Our Greer campus started in September of 2016 with about 120 people. We are averaging 320 people in 2018 and currently meeting in four different leased buildings. We have recently closed on several historic buildings in downtown Greer.

Our Anderson congregation launched in October 2014 with around 100 people. We are averaging 428 people for 2018 and have signed a contract on a historic theater in downtown Anderson for a permanent home.

We recently closed on the former Cornerstone Church facility on Wade Hampton Blvd. This building is now home to both our Español campus and our Thursday night service, and will be home to our Taylors campus this fall. The Español congregation has more than doubled in the last 18 months and is now averaging 210 people per week, making it one of the largest Latino evangelical congregations in South Carolina. The 49,000 square foot facility will also be leased by a homeschool cooperative and other non-profits during the week.

A new building has been constructed at the Pelham campus for mid-size group meetings. The room can hold 250 people or be divided into rooms for 125 and 60. This adds much-needed flex space for the many activities at the campus during the week.

We have also leased (with an option to purchase) an office building on Milestone Way, adjacent to the Pelham campus. This allows us to move a portion of our central staff, reclaim space and enlarge the main room in the student center. Once expanded, our Pelham campus students will be able to move out of the worship center and back into the student center for their meetings. It will also allow us to create a third entrance to the Pelham campus from Milestone Way.

How much will it cost to seize these opportunities?

We are a generous church, and we have been intentionally saving for these acquisitions. Since we are on track to be well into Funding Level 2 of the We Choose two-year ministry plan, we have been able to make down payments, and even some purchases, from cash reserves without increasing our debt.

Also, it’s important to note that construction of new buildings suitable for us in these locations would typically cost a minimum of $225 per square foot (when you add the price of land, grading, parking, utilities, etc.) Renovating these buildings will be considerably less expensive.


We currently pay about $11,500 per month for our worship center space and the other buildings that are used for children and students. It will cost $1,400,000 to complete the purchase and $1,500,000 over the next twelve months for renovations. We will receive tax credits of approximately $500,000 for refurbishing the historic building that will become the worship center. We will also be getting approximately $100,000 from the city of Greer for public space and other improvements.

All-in estimated price per-square-foot (w/ tax credits): $128


We currently pay about $6,200 per month to meet at the elementary school and for office space. It will cost $750,000 to complete the purchase of the 18,000 square foot facility and $2,000,000 over the next twelve months to renovate the historic building. We will receive tax credits of approximately $600,000 for refurbishing the building.

All-in estimated price per-square-foot (w/ tax credits): $116


It will cost an additional $800,000 to complete the purchase of the building, and we have budgeted $1,400,000 to complete the renovations for the 34,000 square feet we will put to immediate use.

All-in estimated price per-square-foot: $65


The construction of the new building at the front of the Pelham campus was paid for with proceeds from selling the retention pond to QT, but we have to pay for the interior upfit work and preparing the building for our use. We have budgeted $200,000 to finish the interior. Purchasing the Milestone office building will cost $2,322,000, and we have budgeted $275,000 for renovations.

All-in estimated price per-square-foot: $143


We currently have approximately $2,500,000 in cash saved for these projects. After using cash reserves, approximately $3,150,000 will be needed to complete the purchases and $3,625,000 over the next year to complete the renovations.

Our current debt level is well under what our elders have authorized, and none of these purchases threaten our financial health.

More importantly is the opportunity this represents for you. God calls us all to steward our resources well and invest them in things that matter. Some of you reading this may need to:

  • Thank God that you have been a faithful and consistent part of this story
  • Consider becoming more intentional in your regular investments to our church
  • Be courageously generous with your giving to this effort

No matter your situation, would you pray about how God might want you to invest in these opportunities to see men and women reached and discipled in the Upstate?

If you have questions please feel free to contact David Delk at [email protected] or Scott Mozingo at [email protected].

To make an investment in our two year ministry plan, click here and use the “Tithes and Offerings” option.