By Grace Thornton
The Alabama Baptist
Danny Lovett says his church is surrounded by a big, big field.
Even though the Church at Chelsea Westover is “way out here in Shelby County,” from where it sits at the intersection of Highway 55 and Highway 280, there are 82,000 people within a 10-mile radius.
“And 82 percent of our county doesn’t go to church,” Lovett said. “It’s a big field. There’s a lot to be done here.”
Because of that, the congregation has got a second field on its mind — a 90-acre plot of land behind the ServPro headquarters where the Church at Chelsea Westover meets.
They recently built a big pavilion to hold children’s activities and have drawn up plans for a multipurpose building, walking trail and fields for soccer and softball.
“About 3,000 kids in the area drive to other parts of the county to play sports because there’s nothing offered in the area,” Lovett said.
“So we’re going to start our own leagues.”
He’s hoping that when the sod goes down, there will be hundreds of people on the church’s property.
“It’s exciting,” he said.
“Exciting” isn’t a new word for the Church at Chelsea Westover. Ever since 2012, when David Wilson first felt led to get a church started
in his Servpro training building, the church has been growing and adding.
“The training center was about 2,000 square feet, and we started running 130 or 140 and would pack that thing out,” Lovett said.
So Wilson, owner of central Alabama’s six Servpro franchises, doubled the footage and added a stage and electronic equipment. Now the church is running between 250 and 300 and is “way over 80 percent full again,” Lovett said.
That’s when they started drawing up plans for a multipurpose building, and they took in the building behind them.
“David moved all his sales team down so we could have that space for a children’s area and five Bible study rooms,” Lovett said.
The church is running 100 in Bible study every week right now, he said.
And the youth program is bursting at the seams too, according to Rick Wright, who serves as student/outreach pastor.
“God has really just done a work,” he said. Two years ago, on his first night at the church, he expected a dozen youth to show up and then he could build from there.
“I don’t know what got them there, but 40 showed up, and seven came to know Christ,” he said. “The second week, 55 showed up and 12 were saved. And the momentum just kept rolling.”
More than a hundred students are in the youth ministry there now. It’s because of God moving and because the students are catching a vision to reach their county, he said.
‘We’ve got a big job’
We want to be a church that reaches our 15-mile radius,” Wright said. “We’ve got a big job, and there’s a lot of students involved in that. We just want to be vessels He can use.”
That’s the philosophy of the Church at Chelsea Westover — reaching the unreached, Lovett said. From the very beginning, many of the church’s new members were unchurched or had been away from church for a very long time.
“We have someone saved almost every week,” Lovett said.
They’ve also reached out to the community through a weekly meal called the Love Feast and have installed a walk-in freezer so they can become a food distribution site for Shelby Baptist Association.
God planted the seed in Wilson’s heart five years ago, and it’s amazing how much it’s grown through his obedience, Lovett said. “It’s unreal what God’s allowing the church to do out there for the community.”
Wilson died in June 2017 from cancer, and Lovett said that’s been tough to walk through.
“I saw him every day — we would walk and pray together,” he said.
“But I know David’s last statement to me before he died was that the greatest thing God allowed him to do was start that church. And what God has done there is exciting.”
For more information about the Church at Chelsea Westover, visit thechurchatcw.com.
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