Pastor Joey Adkins and his two associate pastors had a vision and are now watching it unfold before their eyes.
The three — Adkins, Matt Syrus and Randy Brummitt — opened Wellspring Community Church on Sept. 27 on the corner of S.R. 674 (College Avenue) and 9th Street S.E. in what was once St. John the Divine Episcopal Church. And by Oct. 22, the church had grown from its original 250 members to more than 500.
“We grew so fast, we’re adding a third service Nov. 8,” Adkins said in an interview Oct. 26. “Our vision is ‘Giving Real People Real Hope in a Real World.’ We don’t want to be ‘just another church.’ We really want to do something to impact the community in real ways,” said Adkins.
For now, services are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sundays, but when they go to three services, they will be at 8:30, 10 and 11:45 a.m.
“All services will be the same,” Adkins explained. “But we will have separate youth services at 10.”
Children and youth are welcome at all services, but at 10 a.m. there will be more programs, led by Next Gen Pastor Matt Syrus, targeted at different age groups, with junior and senior high schoolers separated from younger children so that everyone can participate at his or her own level.
The church has already attracted many different kinds of people from all walks of life, Adkins said. Both a website and a Facebook page spread the word of its services, events and volunteer opportunities.
“We already have 150 volunteers,” Adkins said.
To start, they want to give volunteer hours and financial help to two groups: the Mary & Martha House shelter for abused and homeless women and their children; and the LifeCare Network, a crisis pregnancy and childbirth center. Both organizations are in Ruskin but serve the entire South County area.
Adkins coaches basketball at Ruskin Christian School, where he went as a child, and his wife April is a teacher there. He has been a pastor for 14 years. Their 11-year-old son and four-year-old twins also attend Ruskin Christian.
The three pastors are the only staff at this time, with volunteers doing all the other jobs.
Approximately $125,000 was spent on renovating the church, which was built in 1965 and had been vacant for two years. What had been the recreation room is now furnished especially for youth ministries. Chairs have replaced pews and modern lighting has been installed in the sanctuary. Four rooms connected to the main structure, once offices, are now parts of the children’s ministry, so that appropriate age grouping may be accomplished. The small two-story house that was originally built as a pastor’s residence, is now what serves as office space.
Events throughout the week provide opportunities for women, men, families, and all ages of children and youth.
Unsure yet as to what they will do with the attached 4.5 acres of property, Adkins said they have agreed that they want to pay off the church first, and then buy the vacant property across the street to build an auditorium.
The pastors agreed that they don’t just want to give people “another option for Sunday worship” but be a vehicle that impacts many areas of life in South County.
“I grew up in Ruskin. I know Ruskin. I know the people here and really want to make a difference,” Adkins said.
To find out more, visit www.ourwellspringchurch.com.