Pouring into Others
Pastor Shell Osbon has modeled a servant’s heart, and the congregation of Life Church in Smyrna, Georgia, has responded. Committed to letting service be its local mission work, the vision of Life Church continues to move forward and change the community.
The concept of Community Partnerships has led Life Church to reach out to over 30 organizations in an effort to improve the quality of life in the city – as well as more than 60 other missionaries the church supports each month.
“Community Partnerships are exploding, exhausting, and expensive, but they’re worth everything that we pour into them!” Osbon says.
The church accomplishes goals through volunteering, hosting events on campus, and providing financial assistance to help various organizations. What begins as a practical relationship quickly turns into a spiritual relationship as bridges form between the church and the community. Jim N’ Nicks BBQ Restaurant, Wellstar Cobb Hospital, Northstar Psychological Services, Keep Smyrna Beautiful, and many other groups in the suburban Atlanta city benefit from the partnerships.
Community Partnerships shapes the heartbeat of Life Church, which has a weekly attendance of 250. Osbon says building relationships with other ministries and mentoring other leaders maintains the momentum.
Jeremy Bryan came into Life Church as a college student hoping to learn biblical ministry in today’s culture.
“I saw Community Partnerships as a vision that positively impacted hundreds of lives in the community and well beyond the Life Church Smyrna family,” Bryan says. During his time on staff, Bryan says Shell continually communicated the vision through teaching and preaching and through planning, hard work, and divine favor within the community. When the church staff and members made it their goal to make the local community, including schools, government, and businesses successful, they earned the right to be heard in the community, Bryan says.
Not only is the area near Life Church being changed, but also those who serve in other communities. In the past 13 years, Osbon has mentored many pastors in developing Community Partnerships.
Larry Grawey, pastor of Kennesaw Family Life Church, met Osbon five years ago when preparing to plant a church. As Grawey pioneered the congregation, Life Church provided support with finances and guidance.
“Through Pastor Osbon and his team we learned how to connect with our community in ways that we never thought about,” Grawey says. “Much of what we do as a church is a reflection of what we learned at our time under his ministry.”
Phil A. Wall, secretary/treasurer of the AG Georgia District, sees Life Church as a healthy model.
“They engage their city by intentionally partnering with other service organizations to provide a variety of helps to those in need,” Wall says. “Life Church is a vibrant multi-culture church that reflects the city they serve.”