On Sunday, members of TrueNorth Church will take their first steps together toward what will become their permanent home.
Between 3 and 3:30 p.m., church members are invited to gather on the home side of North Augusta High School’s football stadium.
From there, they will walk to the 16-acre site on Martintown Road that will be home to TrueNorth. A bus will be provided for those unable to walk.
Lead Pastor Steve Davis will lead a service that includes communion, and then each congregant will be given a small, gold-painted shovel – 1,500 have been prepared. Together, they will symbolically break ground for the new facility.
“Everybody will be a part of the groundbreaking, not just special people,” said senior pastor Steve Davis.
Construction is expected to begin in early February.
For the past eight years, TrueNorth Church members have met at North Augusta High School every Sunday morning. Services are held in the auditorium and the children’s ministry for ages 5 and younger has been set up in the cafeteria.
Setting up for services and tearing down afterward takes about 200 people and is an arduous, time-consuming undertaking.
“I still marvel that all that is happening every single week,” Davis said.
True North Church held its first service at North Augusta High School on Aug. 22, 2004. About 300 people attended that first service.
The contemporary church was started as an alternative to traditional churches as a way to reach people who either did not know God or who had been hurt by other churches, Davis said.
Within the first year the congregation doubled in size and a second service was added to accommodate the growth.
The second year, the congregation grew to 1,000 people and a third service was added.
Recently, the church added a fourth service at The Blok, a facility that houses the student ministry and administrative offices. The church acquired that building about two years ago.
When construction on the new facility is complete in a projected 16 months, there will be two buildings totaling about 50,000 square feet.
One will be a worship center that can seat 850 people and be adjusted to accommodate about 100 more. A second building will house the children’s facility with a lower floor for administrative offices.
“Everything we do at North Augusta High School, we’ll be able to do on our land, as well as our offices,” he said.
Davis said congregants already travel from as far away as Thomson and Barnwell to attend service, and he hopes the new location near Interstate 20 will reach even more people outside of North Augusta.
With the move, the church may move back to at least two services a week, but Davis said he has no firm plans for the church’s future. He just plans to follow the “breadcrumbs” to wherever God leads them, just like he’s always done.
“I don’t have to know three years from now. All I know is we need to be obedient with what we need to do now,” he said.