LAKE WYLIE -- What's scarier than stepping out for the first time to start a new church? Being called to, believe Fred and Ardener Lott, and refusing.
"I won't have a peace until I start this," said Pastor Fred of the decision to begin Turning Points Ministries from his Heron Cove home. "It's definitely a leap of faith. As long as you know you're in the will of God, it feels great."
Turning Points, nearing its first anniversary in June, began as a family meeting of the Lotts and their three children in the family room of their Lake Wylie home after moving to the area more than a year ago from Maryland.
"We searched around and went to a lot of different churches," Ardener said. "We really couldn't find anything."
Others soon joined them, including residents from Rock Hill and Columbia who formerly attended the Maryland church where Fred held a leadership position. Many Heron Cove neighbors also attended the church launch, and there is a neighborhood Bible study.
"Which isn't normal," Ardener said.
Despite Fred's full-time job in pharmaceuticals and Ardener's hours homeschooling their children, the couple moved forward incorporating the church, then organizing the effort with help of members.
"It was like being in school again," said Ardener, also the church administrator, children's worship leader and praise band member.
On March 15 , Turning Points began meeting at its current Crowders Creek Elementary School home.
Fred isn't concerned about membership numbers.
"Whether it's three or 3,000, you just preach like it's 30,000," he said.
Turning Points' services are a mix between traditional Gospel and contemporary worship in a non-denominational Christian setting. The church carries a "humble swagger," the pastor said, with members interested in pursuing God more than recognition in the church.
"Nobody has a special seat in our church, except God," Lott said.
At the same time, Turning Points is perfect for "unchurched people," he said, because of its relational approach to studying the Bible.
"People who've never been in church before, they love TPM," he said. "There are people who've been in church and they've been taught a lot of activities, but not relationship. They're enjoying church for the first time in their lives."
With what little time jobs and church functions leave for the Lotts, the couple continues community involvement and outreach. Fred coaches his daughter's soccer team and son's football team. The couple spends time feeding the homeless in Charlotte and hopes to add an additional Bible study.
"There has to be a balance between outreach and in-reach," Ardener said, noting their efforts do not take away from the original church body -- the family. "When he's at home, he's all the way at home."
On Saturday, the church is reaching out the community by hosting a free family movie night.
"People talk about it as being one of the worst times," Fred Lott said. "But people are asking questions now. I'm looking at it as one of the best times in the Gospel."
While finding time can be difficult for early riser Fred and night owl Ardener, the couple continues in firm belief that Turning Points is not just their project, but a calling from God. Which, Fred said, is a much easier place to be in life than fighting that calling.
"It would tear us apart if it was just my vision," he said. "It couldn't be done without my whole family being on board."
Want to go?
Turning Points Ministries hosts family movie night at 6 p.m. Saturday at Crowders Creek Elementary School. The event is free, and includes food, but RSVP is requested. Sunday services are held at 10 a.m., also at Crowders Creek. For more information, or to RSVP for free movie night, call 803-746-5080 or visit turningpointsministries.org.