Church Spotlight – St. Andrews Park Circle

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by Dave Libbon
     St. Andrew’s Park Circle was planted three years ago out of a desire to see the people of North Charleston be “transformed by the power and presence of Jesus Christ”. It was then, and remains, our mission. What we have learned, since that first meeting in my living room, is what any good missionary would tell you. Namely that culture plays a massive role in reaching a people group with the gospel.
North Charleston is the state’s third largest city and has been experiencing great renewal in recent years. A revitalization of neighborhoods, new schools being built, and families moving into the area are common. What that also means is that with rising home prices, those on fixed incomes get stretched thin. New schools are great, but when the child is sleeping in a hotel room on a pile of blankets, learning still is a problem. With new families moving in, the demand for housing has rocketed in what was once a very urban blue-collar town. With growth looking up (literally up in the sky as Boeing has started to build airplanes here) the question still remains how do we faithfully plant in this multi-layered city. The answer has come through a series of conversations and a great desire to serve people.
People ask “When are you going to get your own building?” Our answer – “Hopefully not for a while!” St. Andrews Park Circle meets in the North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School The school creates a natural bridge between the culture and the kingdom. NCCAE is a Title 1 school and the majority of children attending qualifies for free or reduced lunch. We began by asking the principal “how can we serve you?” Initially, we were met with skepticism but after a long season of serving, trust has grown. We have engaged with a mentor program and championed getting at risk kids lunch buddy mentors. With a foster home a few blocks away, we provide dinner each month, which builds relationships with the workers and children, giving a great inroad into our community.
The most unique opportunities have come when the un-churched and de-churched are invited to do these things with us. We see that our neighbors, coworkers, and friends are ready and willing to lend a hand for the good of the community, even if they struggle to define why they desire such things. Then we watch God work in and through their lives. We have invited our neighbors over to our backyard for Christmas cookouts encouraging them to bring along a toy for toys-for-tots. We partnered with a local brewery to brew a beer whose proceeds benefit our mentor partners. The mentor partners provide training for more mentors in local schools.  We have started hosting a local “Pappy Hour” monthly for dads to connect in our city.  St Andrew’s Park Circle continues connecting non-Christians to serve our community, which allows us to live the gospel in their midst, share the gospel with them and watch them be “transformed by the power and presence of Jesus Christ”.