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Grove Hill Church brings community together with Back 2 School partycomment (0)

August 27, 2009

By Dee Ann Campbell

This has built relationships in this community,” Pastor Lee Merck said of the annual block party his church organizes for Grove Hill students and their families to kick off the new school year.

“This may be the only time the schools in this county get together for anything,” he added.

On Aug. 8, an estimated 1,200 people packed the stands of H.G. Prim Stadium at Clarke County High School for Grove Hill Baptist Church’s second Back 2 School Block Party.

Football and volleyball teams, bands and cheer squads from the local public high school, Clarke County High, and private academy, Clarke Preparatory School, were highlighted during the event, and some 700 backpacks were given to the children in attendance.

While the block party was designed to draw the community together, the Clarke Baptist Association church didn’t miss an opportunity to draw people to Jesus, too.

The event included a presentation by artist/evangelist Mike Lewis, of Nashville, who is known as the Jesus Painter. Lewis wowed the crowd with his freehand paintings of Christ, all done within minutes on stage while contemporary Christian music set the mood.

Getting creative with activities and programs to impact Grove Hill for the cause of Christ is something the church has done since Merck became pastor in November 2007.

For example, it’s reached out to businesspeople and teachers with luncheons and gotten involved in supporting the Dixie Youth summer softball and baseball leagues. This year, Grove Hill Baptist sponsored the regional games, and members of its congregation volunteered to work the concession stands on opening day of league play so that parents of players wouldn’t have to do so.

Merck said all these outreach efforts, including the block party, not only have brought the community together in ways that were not possible before but also have given his congregation a new excitement about ministry.

“The biggest reason we do any of this is so that we can be salt and light,” he said. “Our church slogan is ‘The Church That Makes a Difference.’ We just want to make a difference for Jesus here in this town and demonstrate the love of God in practical ways.”

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