At 12Stone Church, it’s all about the individual.
“People often ask, ‘Why do you open more campuses?’” said the Rev. Dan VanderWal, pastor of a new 12Stone location in Braselton. “The answer really goes back to a saying we have. That saying is ‘One Matters.’ We want every single person to know that they matter to God and that they matter to us.
“We want them to have a chance to know about the full life Jesus promised them.”
The new 12Stone Church in Braselton will hold its grand opening Sunday at 2675 Old Winder Highway, according to communications director Donna Whitten. Services are scheduled for 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Whitten said the opening is timed in conjunction with the start of a series called “At the Movies,” which will discuss finding faith in film.
VanderWal said the purpose of building new campuses is to reach people where they are.
“We want to reach a lot of people with lasting friendships,” he said. “We want to show compassion and serve in the community. So we put campuses closer to where people live because it makes it easier for them to access the church, and it makes it easier for people who are already at 12Stone to invite their friends.”
12Stone has church campuses in Bethlehem, Buford, Flowery Branch, Hamilton Mill, Lawrenceville, Snellville and Sugarloaf, along with the newest Braselton location.
Construction of the Braselton campus began with a groundbreaking in January. The project was completed last week.
The campus includes a cafe open on Sundays, a 450-seat adult worship center and children’s classrooms for kids starting at 6 weeks old and ending at fifth grade. The church also has space for middle and high school student ministry Wednesday nights, from 7-8:30 p.m.
VanderWal said the church had “soft launch” services on Sept. 11.
“That’s where we get those who are already part of our church in the building,” he said. “We try everything out and make sure it all works and everything’s ready so when we have our grand opening, we can serve our guests as well as possible.”
Though construction just ended, the Braselton 12Stone community began in January 2015.
“We met in an elementary school, in Duncan Creek Elementary School in the Braselton-Hoschton community, for the last 19 to 20 months,” VanderWal said. “During that time, we were looking for a permanent facility that we would be able to open more in the heart of Braselton.”
The campus and its members are already “really connected” in Braselton, VanderWal said. The church built a Habitat for Humanity house in Braselton and conducted a large, summer school supply drive. It also is partnering with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Braselton to provide chaplaincy or religious services.
VanderWal said the goal is always to serve the community “before we even open the doors.” Having a campus ingrained in a community allows the church and its members to better know what the true needs are in the area.
“What’s cool is Braselton is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year,” VanderWal said. “And here we are, putting down our roots — literally building our building — the same year. We want to have roots here for the next hundred years, and we want to be part of this community and serve this community.”