Young pastor seeks 'unchurched' for new church

March 25, 1994|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

The Rev. Shan Towns is a young minister with a mission.

Mr. Towns, 24, and his wife Deanna, 23, have started the Cornerstone Alliance Church, which is affiliated with the

Christian and Missionary Alliance, a national alliance of evangelical Christians.

"Our vision for our church here is to reach the unchurched," Mr. Towns said.

The church will have its first official service on Easter Sunday at Winfield Elementary School, 4401 Salem Bottom Road, Winfield.

The Townses have been conducting Bible studies and services in their home in The Greens in Westminster since August, when they moved here with their 15-month old son Stephen, from Toccoa, Ga. (Their daughter, Kimberly Joyce, was born Monday.)

"When we moved here, we were the only two in the church," said Mr. Towns.

Now there are five families, all from South Carroll. Mr. Towns also ministers to his neighbors.

"On Wednesdays, we have a kids' club and we open our home to the neighborhood children," he said. "We sing, play games and have a Bible study. I think for some of these kids it's been the first time for them to develop a friendship with a pastor."

Some of the children come for more than just friendship.

"They like my wife's cookies," Mr. Towns laughed. "They're good kids."

To spread the word, the Townses have mailed 15,000 invitations, and on weekends youth volunteers have been distributing leaflets.

The Townses are receiving financial support from the Alliance, which has more than 2 million members and ministries in 54 countries around the world.

Mr. Towns is a fourth generation pastor. His father, the Rev. Ferrell Towns, is pastor of the First Alliance Church of Toccoa where the younger Mr. Towns served as minister of music.

Mr. Towns said that people sometimes have trouble believing that he is undertaking the difficult task of building a congregation. "I sing in the Carroll County Choral Society on Tuesday, and one lady [there] said to me, 'You look way too young to be a pastor.' "

Mr. Towns wants to attract young families to his church with contemporary services. But he stresses that he will retain some traditional aspects at the services to allow members of all ages to feel comfortable.

"I'm not in competition [with established churches]," Mr. Towns said. "We are working together. Every church can't reach everybody. We'll take whoever God brings us."

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