Henry County Update

March 24, 2024

 An Important Update for Southside Church Henry – Please Read in Entirety

This is the most difficult email I have ever written. As a church in Henry County, we have seen God’s power, love and grace change countless lives! He has used us all in an incredible way over these last 9 years. Children, teenagers and adults have trusted in Jesus, been baptized, been set free from a struggle, given a safe place to not only attend but invite a friend, some met their future spouse here! The list goes on and on. (Read a brief history of Southside Church Henry here). God has used you and his church to do what only he can do!

Unfortunately, we have to take an honest look at where we have been and our current reality. We have experienced the effects of the pandemic, which heightened negative shifts in church engagement. We have had a few leadership transitions in recent years and events outside our control that have impacted us. For a long time now, one of our goals has been to see enough growth to create an additional service time for volunteers to attend but that has never come to fruition. We even purchased and moved into a permanent facility and implemented various engagement initiatives. 

These and other factors have made it increasingly difficult to accomplish the mission and vision of our church sustainably. Our leadership teams have spent countless hours praying, fasting, seeking wise counsel, and taking an honest look at our trends and these realities. As a result, our Southside Ministries Directional Team and Board have made the difficult decision to close our Southside Church Henry location. 

This is an extremely painful and difficult decision. I know this is so very painful for you to hear. I am incredibly sorry. I truly hate this with everything in my being and have always wanted us to have a massive presence in the Henry County community. Myself, our staff, and board grieve this along with you. This is the most difficult decision we have ever made in our 19+ years as an organization.

I have worked alongside you and have been shedding many tears over this. God planted a dream and vision within mine and many of your hearts, especially our founding team, nine years ago to launch a growing, thriving church in Henry County, as we have in other areas of the southside of Atlanta. It may seem like giving up, which is a fair perspective, but as Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 3, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Unfortunately, this next season will look different than we thought it would. 

Through our pain and grief, our prayer is that God will heal us and use this season in each of our lives in some way. As I mentioned in today’s message, in John 13 when Peter questioned Jesus for washing his feet, Jesus replied, “You may not understand now what I am doing but later you will understand.” Right now, it’s difficult to see God’s plan but our hope is that he will help us understand his plan through all of this. God has used each of you, and he will continue to. Every single person involved is sincerely grateful for your dedication and commitment to our church community. While we may be closing the doors at Southside Church Henry, we are confident that God has a plan for each of us, even in times of change. 

I know this news is surprising and very challenging to process, to say the least. We are here for you. I encourage you to reach out to me ([email protected]), Jake ([email protected]), or another staff member if you have any questions or need support during this transition. 

Here are some details for our future:

  • We will hold our final services on Sunday, March 24, at 10:00 am and Sunday, March 31, at 10:00 am because we want to try and close on a celebratory note in light of how God has used us even though it is sad and hard.
  • There will be an Open House gathering on Thursday, March 28, from 5:00-7:00 pm. Our staff will be there to connect with you, answer your questions, and pray with you.
  • Our staff will be onsite Sunday, April 7th and 14th, as well to help those who have not heard to bring them up to speed and care for them.

As we have spoken to our volunteers and attendees, many have expressed interest in attending our Southside Fayetteville Church Campus located at 300 City Center Parkway, Fayetteville, Ga. 30214. Click here for more information: https://southside.org/fayetteville/ 

We would love for you to join us there!

We have put together a document with a few other details and frequently asked questions you may find helpful.

Again, this absolutely breaks our heart as I know it does yours. I/we love you all and truly hate this decision but feel it necessary.

With sincere love and blessings,

Chris Patton

Senior Pastor, Southside Churches