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Alice Drive Baptist to build sub-campus in Pocalla area

Family of the church donates 7.7 acres on U.S. 15 South

BY BRUCE MILLS bruce@theitem.com
Posted 2/1/20

After a recent, gracious, land donation, Alice Drive Baptist Church will officially become a multi-site church next year.

Mandy Easton, creative pastor with Alice Drive Baptist, spoke Thursday on the church's recent decision to construct a …

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Alice Drive Baptist to build sub-campus in Pocalla area

Family of the church donates 7.7 acres on U.S. 15 South

Posted

After a recent, gracious, land donation, Alice Drive Baptist Church will officially become a multi-site church next year.

Mandy Easton, creative pastor with Alice Drive Baptist, spoke Thursday on the church's recent decision to construct a sub-campus, worship center facility on U.S. 15 South in the Pocalla area of Sumter.

In addition to having a worship center to serve 300 to 400 people, the facility will include classrooms for life groups - or Sunday school classes - and offices for staff, she said. The church will be on the corner of Masters Drive and U.S. 15, across the street from Bojangles and the Food Lion shopping center.

About a month ago - at the end of December - the Dunlap family donated the 7.7-acre lot to the church, Easton said. The family has attendees and members at Alice Drive Baptist, 1305 Loring Mill Road.

Behind the new church lot on U.S. 15 is Pocalla Springs subdivision and Lakewood Apartments is to the left, she said.

Since 2017, Alice Drive Baptist has used Pocalla Springs Elementary School on Bethel Church Road as an additional site location for Sunday worship services in agreement with Sumter School District. Sunday will mark three years at the school, Easton said, and a new campus pastor, Delmar Peet, will also begin that day.

Peet was previously student pastor at Alice Drive Baptist.

In the Pocalla campus' worship structure, following music and church announcements, the sermon from a teaching pastor is generally livestreamed from the main location on Loring Mill. Going forward, Lead Pastor Clay Smith and Peet will share those teaching responsibilities, Easton said.

She said about 30% of the time the Pocalla campus has live preaching.

That same worship structure will continue at the new church on U.S. 15, she said.

A big benefit with the new facility will be that a volunteer team of attendees and staff at the Pocalla campus will no longer have to set up and tear down the church each Sunday.

Set up begins at 7:30 a.m. for the first service, which is at 9:45 a.m. A second service is at 11 a.m., and tear down after that generally takes at least one hour, she said.

"The musicians currently set up the stage every Sunday," Easton said. "They put pipe and drape up everywhere to cover the school displays, so they can completely convert it to a church. It's kind of amazing to see how it looks on a Sunday morning because you think you are walking into a school. Then, once you get in there, you realize, 'Wow, they've converted into a church.'"

Currently, the campus at Pocalla Springs Elementary has about 150 to 200 attendees each Sunday, she said.

Alice Drive Baptist is looking to begin construction of the new U.S. 15 South facility later this year and plans to move in sometime in 2021, she added.

The new location will be about seven miles from the church's Loring Mill Road site and about a 15-minute drive.

Smith, the church's long-time lead pastor, said the new site is in line with the church's mission to reach as many people as possible for Jesus Christ.

"Our purpose in becoming a multi-site church is to make sure everyone has an opportunity to take a next step toward Jesus Christ," Smith said. "We want to be the kind of church that un-churched people love to attend. Having multiple locations helps give people the option to attend a campus that is within 15 minutes of their homes."