In 2016, Pilot Point Church of the Nazarene, the site where the Church of the Nazarene was founded, was on the verge of closure.
Three years later, the newly named Grace Point Church of the Nazarene has forged a strong relationship with the community of Pilot Point, and in turn, it’s brought many new believers to the Lord.
The Church of the Nazarene was founded at Pilot Point on 13 October 1908. At the time, the Pilot Point church owned about 90 acres of property. In addition to a church, the grounds were home to a college and the temporary headquarters for the denomination, along with an unwed mothers home. In 2016, the church was down to only three acres with a small building on the property.
As the property shrunk, so did the church’s footing in the community. Pastor Dwayne Edwards fell in love with the history of the congregation and wanted to regain a sense of the history as well as the footprint of the church in Pilot Point. To do so, Edwards took an unconventional approach when he arrived in the community.
“The first thing that I did when I drove into town was join the Chamber of Commerce,” Edwards said. “I learned a long time ago that the business community does not trust the church. And so, until they trust the church, you're not really in.”
Edwards said the church did whatever they could to gain a footing in the community, forging connections everywhere possible. Edwards also is a chaplain with the Pilot Point Fire Department.
“We wanted to reestablish our goal, vision, and mission and build a strong foundation,” Edwards said. “[We want to] be an outreach church, a church that really impacts the community and gets off the property.”
They’ve done everything from a Christmas Eve service in the old historic square to car shows and father’s day celebrations in an attempt to reach the community and bring people back to the church.
Edwards, an experienced church planter from California, treated Pilot Point like a new work.
The congregation had dwindled down to a handful of members in 2016, so Edwards closed the church for four months of remodeling, opening back up in June 2016.
Now, the church is over 50 members strong, and most of them are brand new Christians.
“There’s some things that we did to reach over and grab people,” Edwards said. “Paul said, ‘By all means, save some.’ I take that literally. That has been my philosophy in my life ever since I’ve been a Christian. So, you know, we do whatever we can. Wherever there’s an open door, we walked through it and then where there’s not, we break it down if we can, because people are hungry for God, they’re lost without God. So, we knock on every door.”