Pastor Greg and son, Josh, reflect on what it means to be a good neighbor
It’s hard to believe that Seacoast Church began with sixty-five people in a Mt. Pleasant apartment clubhouse. Now, with eleven locations spread across the lowcountry, midlands, and upstate, Seacoast is easily one of South Carolina’s largest Christian organizations.
Seacoast’s first church was opened in Mt. Pleasant by Pastor Greg during Easter of 1988. Although Mt. Pleasant and the Holy City had many great churches at that time, Seacoast’s goal was to reach the people who had quit going to church or didn’t have one. “We called over 16,000 names in the phone book,” Pastor Greg recounted, “We asked if they went to church, and if they didn’t, we asked them to tell us why.” With the survey results, a list was compiled that would aid Seacoast in creating a unique and contemporary church designed to reach a forgotten audience.
Today, Pastor Greg and his staff have the amazing opportunity to reach thousands of followers five days a week. Despite a growing audience and the growing responsibilities that come along with the territory, Pastor Greg and his son, Josh, still manage to stay in touch with the communal needs of Mt. Pleasant and the surrounding areas.
The Dream Center of North Charleston is just one of the many ways that Pastor Greg and his staff have listened to and responded to the needs of the Charleston community. When USA Today identified North Charleston as the seventh most dangerous city in the United States, Seacoast knew that something must be done. “Obviously, we love Mt. Pleasant,” Pastor Greg professed, “but we also need to be good neighbors to the surrounding areas.”
The Dream Center is modeled after a similar organization in Los Angeles, the L.A. Dream Center. According to Seacoast, in the nineteen years that the The L.A. Dream Center has been open, they have seen a 70% decrease in the crime rate in the area. “Our dream is the same in delivering hope to a community that seems to have lost just that,” Seacoast pledges.
“If everyone does a little, it’s amazing how much good we can accomplish,” Josh attested. To date the Dream Center has provided thousands of families with food and clothing. In the spring of 2009, Seacoast also opened a free medical clinic, the Dream Center Clinic, offering medical, dental and vision care. According to Seacoast, since opening the Dream Center, North Charleston has seen a 25% decrease in crime in the area that the center is located. Other services that Seacoast has provided to the community include a car clinic for single parents, resources for repairing and restoring houses, and tutoring for students who are having a challenging time in school. “We challenge every individual to think of ways to serve the community,” Pastor Greg expressed, “We challenge everyone to be generous with time, talent, and resources.”
The Dream Center is just one of the many amazing contributions that Seacoast has made to the Charleston area. But as Seacoast’s audience grows, so does their need to expand. “We don’t ever want to close the door to people,” Josh expressed. Which is why in November 2016, Seacoast began its latest renovation project to their Mt. Pleasant location. “We really haven’t expanded our auditorium since 1999,” Pastor Greg affirmed. Seacoast’s plans for Mt. Pleasant include building a new 2,400 seat worship center, while allowing the old center to serve as a youth center for their young adult audience. “Our goal is to give more to the community than we take away,” Pastor Greg added, “We feel like it’s a privilege for us to serve this community, and we want to give back the best we can.” Seacoast plans for renovations to be complete in the spring of 2018.
It must be noted that none of Seacoast’s amazing contributions could have been made without their dedicated volunteer base. If you are interested in volunteering or donating, whether it is time, resources, or skills, please visit Seacoast.Org/Serve for opportunities. Cleaning out your closet for the new year? Clothing donations can easily be delivered at Seacoast’s drop box, located outside of their Mt. Pleasant location.