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Church embraces future: Pastor’s retirement coincides with opening new sanctuary

POSTED: February 8, 2008 5:04 a.m.
Tom Reed/The Times

The Rev. Rick Gallagher, the new pastor at LifePoint Assembly of God, sings along with the church's choir during Sunday service in the church's new sanctuary.

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Jeff Parks was 5 years old when he first met the Rev. Gerald Jordan at Calvary Temple Assembly of God. Thirty-four years later, Parks attended Jordan’s retirement party Sunday, which celebrated Jordan’s 50 years of Christian ministry.

Parks was one of more than 200 people who showed up to honor Jordan. Members of many local Assembly of God churches attended the event and credited Jordan with helping the denomination open numerous churches in the Gainesville area.

Jordan’s retirement party coincided with the Sunday morning grand opening of the Evangel Assembly of God congregation’s new sanctuary, renamed LifePoint Assembly of God, at 1537 Pine Valley Road.

"He just has a pastor’s heart. He was always there for the people — quick to love, slow to criticize," Parks said. "The main message he’s always preached is the message of Christ and forgiveness, and that the Lord accepts you for the way you are."

Jordan once led Calvary Temple Assembly of God, but founded Evangel Assembly of God in December 1983 at the 688 Dawsonville Highway location. And in September, Jordan turned over his congregation to the Rev. Rich Gallagher.

Gallagher chose to rename the church LifePoint Assembly of God, and led the congregation from the old church location to the new church on Green Street that Jordan facilitated.

After two years of construction, the $2 million church building opened its doors for worship Sunday morning. The new church features a 300-seat sanctuary as well as an enormous children’s center with blow-up play stations.

"We want to be a God-driven, family-focused church," Gallagher said. "We want to be a point of life, a place of restoration and hope."

In an effort to add new members to the 45-person congregation at LifePoint, Gallagher said the church is hosting a "Test Drive," where the community is invited to try out the new church by attending a Sunday morning service.

New attendees who attend the LifePoint service on Feb. 24 will have the opportunity to win a new car.

"They’re coming for the wrong reason, but hopefully they’ll stay here for the right," Gallagher said.

Jordan said he will continue his international Internet radio ministry that broadcasts 14-minute segments of his ministry nearly worldwide. His show, called "The Wounded Healer," airs at noon on Saturdays and can be heard online at www.universalchristianradio.com.

Jordan added that he’s excited his former congregation now has a new facility in which to worship.

"I think it’s awful nice," Jordan said. "As far as retiring, I wish I had it all to go over again. I wish I was a young man and could preach the gospel for another 50 years."



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