Christ Place Church has put down roots in North Hall.
On Sunday, April 4, the church will hold its first service for the public at its new campus, which is inside the North Hall Community Center. The location is now called Christ Place Church North, and the original church in Flowery Branch, led by the Rev. Jeff Crook, is known as the central campus. Christ Place is a part of the Chattahoochee Baptist Association.
Ben Garrison, who has been appointed as the campus pastor for Christ Place Church North, said he’s looking forward to delivering the message of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter and welcoming the community to the new location. The service will begin at 11 a.m. and include a time for baptisms.
“Last year with everything going on, a lot of people weren’t able to gather on Easter Sunday,” Garrison said. “I think it’ll be a very special day.”
Garrison said the community center will serve as a temporary space for the new campus, just as it did for Northside Church several years ago. The hope is to find a permanent location for the new campus in the future, but no solid plans have been made yet, he said.
The congregation will meet inside the property’s gym for worship and sermons, which he said has enough room to seat around 400 people. During the first three preview services, Garrison said the attendance averaged at 143 members. He anticipates this number will grow after the new location opens its doors to the public. If the attendance nears the gym’s capacity, the pastor said he will consider starting a second service in the building.
At Christ Place Church North, Garrison said visitors and members will be encouraged to practice social distancing and wear masks, but it won’t be required. For those who prefer to stay home, they can watch the Sunday service live-streamed from the church’s central campus.
Although worship and sermons will occur inside the North Hall Community Center, Garrison assures the community that his congregation has taken steps to make it feel like a church. Some of the special touches include a coffee bar, welcome desk, play spaces for kids and a stage for the worship team.
“My hope is we get to be a blessing to the community, and just be a refuge for families and a place that speaks truth and helps guide the truth,” Garrison said.
The inspiration to open the second campus came about several years ago when members of Christ Place gathered together to pray and deliberate on the future of the congregation. Garrison said they came up with the vision to reach 100,000 homes through the church, and opening a second location in North Hall was their first step.
“It was a God-sized dream,” he said. “It’s not about maxing out a building, it’s about going after the community, and being in the community and serving it.”
Since August 2020, Garrison said he has been working closely with Crook, Christ Place’s lead pastor, to prepare for his role as campus pastor.
Since joining the church in 2015, Garrison has taken on multiple positions with the congregation, including serving as the middle and high school pastor.
Garrison said he first felt compelled to pursue a career in ministry at 15 years old. After graduating from high school, he went on to earn a bachelor’s from Truett McConnell University in Christian studies with a concentration in theological studies, as well as a master’s in theology. At 22 years old, Garrison said he started working as a full-time youth pastor, and the rest was history.
“I never thought, ‘I’m going to be a campus pastor one day,’” he added. “I said, ‘Alright, Lord, however you want to use me, I’m going to try and do my best.’”
Garrison is currently raising his 2-year-old son, Judah, with his wife, Mallory. The couple has another baby on the way with an anticipated due date of Monday, April 5.
When people come to Christ Place Church North, Garrison said he wants them to know that they can find a family in the congregation, no matter their home life circumstances.
“We want people to come to know Jesus,” he said. “ … We want to see broken people come to know the person that can make them whole. There is a purpose and hope. We want them to know that we love and care about them.”