First Presbyterian Church of Stanley is a Christ-centered, grace-based, gospel-driven congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
We welcome you to join us as we pursue:
- God-honoring worship
- Ministry by every member
- Intentional evangelism
- Authentic membership
- Growth toward spiritual maturity
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
We believe in the Holy Trinity. There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that all people are sinners and are totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, being totally dependent upon His mercy.
We believe that salvation is by God alone, as He sovereignly chooses those He will save. We believe His choice arises from His grace, and is not based on any human individual merit or foreseen faith.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrifice death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him alone for salvation.
We believe that Jesus Christ will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people unto Himself.
Being called by God to glorify and obey Him in all we do and say, we will seek to serve Christ by ministering to those in Stanley and throughout the world who are lost and bring them to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To accomplish this, we will devote our time, talent, money, worship, preaching, teaching, fellowship, prayer and outreach to making disciples of Christ, and to training those disciples to make others.
CURRENT MINISTRY SUMMARY
MEMBERS AND AVERAGE ATTENDANCE
- 220 average Sunday morning worship attendance
- Membership Summary:
Age Category #
# of Adults over 65 134
# of Adults under 65 144
# of Teens 37
# of Children 34
LEADERSHIP AND BUDGET
- 14 active ruling elders
- 13 active deacons
- 8 staff members (2 open positions)
- Budget of ~$762,000 for the January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017
- Missions Faith Promise Giving of ~$108,000 from January 1, 2017 to August 2017
MINISTRY AREAS AND STAFFING
- Senior Pastor
- Associate & Youth Pastor
- Pastor to Seniors
- Administrative Assistant
- Music Director
- Christian Education & Children/Youth Ministries
- Director of Sports Ministry
- Director of Children’s Ministries/Christian Education
- Director of the Child Development Center
The area served by our church is predominately the town of Stanley and the surrounding areas. Stanley, North Carolina actually had its beginning in the middle to late 1700’s when pioneers first began arriving in the wilderness of the Catawba River region. Some of the early settlers made their first homes along the banks of a small creek which emptied into a larger creek before reaching the river. This small creek was named Stanley’s for a gold prospector who had ventured into the territory and then moved on farther south. The congregation of settlers quickly began being referred to as the Stanley’s Creek Community. The Stanley’s Creek Community existed over one hundred years before incorporating as a town, and this is one of the oldest settlements in today’s Gaston County. Our town has remained one of the smaller towns in the county, but does not lack for historical significance.
Stanley is a small rural community located approximately 20 miles west of Charlotte, NC. It has a small town feel with the convenience of 2 large chain grocery stores, 2 drug stores, a public library, family owned hardware store, 3 public schools, several banks, and a number of fast food restaurants. Stanley is also home to Harper Park, a sports and recreation facility, which offers hiking and walking trails, baseball fields, playground, and basketball. In the downtown area you will find a small museum, town hall, a popular privately-owned steakhouse, and the Stanley Police Dept.
We feel at First Presbyterian of Stanley that our church is built on three foundations of ministry. These foundations are what makes our church unique. Our three pillars of ministry are:
- Outreach (Locally Focused)
- Missions (Globally Focused)
- General Ministries (Internally Focused)
SOAR – SPORTS OUTREACH AND RECREATION
The SOAR ministry at First Presbyterian Church was founded in 1991, with Baseball as our first sport. Over the years we have offered Baseball/Softball, Volleyball, Basketball, and Soccer. Players ranged from 4 years old to 18 years old, and all sports have been offered to boys and girls. For the 2017 sports season, we offered Volleyball, Soccer and Baseball.
This year we had 8 SOAR participants become involved with the youth group at FPC, most of whom have already become involved in other ministries of the church and regular youth group attendees. The gospel was presented by coaches throughout each sport season and at the sport finales at the end of the season. We had 25 people (including players and family members) respond that they accepted Christ as their savior during the gospel presentation.
During the past couple of years, FPC of Stanley has hosted a group of sports focused missionaries to hold a Summer Sports Camps for our members and the surrounding community. The missionary group that comes to help with the Sports Camp are specially trained to not only teach children about their sport of interest but to share God’s word throughout the learning process. This past year’s Summer Sports Camp offered training sessions in Soccer, Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Basketball and Cheerleading. We even added a special training opportunity for younger children (ages 4-5 years old). We had 91 players participate in this past year’s Sports Camp
Man day is a quarterly event, started in July 2016, in which men in the church gather on Saturday mornings to complete projects for the community, provide assistance to members of the church, as well as maintain the church grounds. There are typically 30-40 men who participate in the event, covering between 8-10 worksites. Upon completion of work midday, the men fellowship together with a meal. Man Day is an opportunity to encourage camaraderie among the men in the church but most importantly to demonstrate God’s love in our community.
Vacation Bible School is an annual event for children ages 3-12 to help spread God’s word in our community and the children in our church. The event normally hosts around 100 children each year and typically runs from Monday night to Thursday night. Family Fun Night is historically the finale for VBS.
FAMILY FUN NIGHT
Family Fun Night is normally the last night of VBS. It was started a couple of years ago and has continued to prosper each year. Half of the families that attend Family Night are not church members of First Presbyterian Stanley. So, it is a great way to have a good time but it also presents opportunities for us to share God’s word at the end of our VBS week. This event usually draws a crowd of around 175 parents and children.
EASTER EGG HUNT
The children’s ministry department hosts’ an annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Spring. This event is open to church members and the community. Our church members are encouraged to spread the word each year with the hopes of getting families involved that do not have a church home.
FPC hosts’ an annual live Christmas Scenes event. We take visitors through live scenes that reenact Jesus’ life using the Bible as a guide for each scene. Last year 460 people went through the Christmas Scenes. It took 140 volunteers to put on a two-night showing of the scenes. Last year was the first year our scenes had been revamped from a drive-through format to a walk-through format.
Mercy Ministries is an ongoing program through our church where we provide food and financial assistance for those in need that are housed in our community. We maintain a food pantry located at the church that is supported by member donations of food and/or money. We are also supported by two local pizza restaurants that provide us with pizzas from time to time. The program is also used to help struggling families in the area with financial assistance for utility bills.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Pastor Ted Smith had a vision for First Presbyterian’s outreach to the community: a daycare, a nursing home and a school. The Child Development Center opened in August of 1980, with a handful of children, mostly from our church, including preschool and after school children. As families in the community heard of the CDC, the enrollment grew by word of mouth. The early years were a struggle, pay was only fifty cents an hour and many times teachers had to wait for their pay until the parents paid the tuition. With a lot of hard work, The Director guided the center to be the first in Gaston County to attain the highest licensing rating: “AA”. The reputation of the center grew and enrollment increased through the years. There was not a need to advertise, as families heard of the Center and the quality of care the children received. The center grew and, at its’ peak enrollment, had 48 children ages 6 weeks - 4 years in the fulltime daycare, 48 children ages 3 and 4 in the morning preschool program, and 20 school aged children in the After School program (who also attended fulltime on school holidays and during summer vacation). God’s word was faithfully taught and many families became active members of our church. It was a successful process as many parents enrolled their children in the CDC, and then began attending other children’s activities (VBS, Pioneer Club, and the SOAR program), and joined the church. Children’s ministries attracted parents and our membership increased, bringing many families who continue to be actively involved in our church today. It is a blessing to see many of the previous CDC children involved now, as adults, in leadership roles. In 2006, the decision was made to close the fulltime daycare and expand the part time preschool program to include 1 and 2-year-old children, and continue the program for school aged children. The new preschool program opened Sept. 1st of that year. At this time, we pulled out from state licensing regulations and became a private, church-operated Center. By having half day programs, we were not required to be licensed by the state. Current enrollment for this Fall is 43 preschool children and 14 school aged children.
YEARLY MISSIONS TRIPS
Every year First Presbyterian Stanley sends out several short-term mission teams into the world to help spread God’s message. Since the beginning of our program, we have sent out 96 short-term mission teams into the field to spread God’s word, help local churches with building maintenance, help local churches with construction efforts and to help with summer VBS programs in other parts of the world.
Although First Presbyterian Stanley may look smaller in size, we still manage to support roughly 50 missionaries per year. This ranges from missionary families to individuals. Each year during our Missions Conference we set a Faith Promise goal of giving. This Faith Promise is above our normal tithing plans and is to be used to allow God to bless our families with additional income that goes to support these missionaries. This past year, our goal for Faith Promise was to achieve a giving level of $170,000.
ANNUAL MISSIONS CONFERENCE
The Missions Conference is an annual event that lasts 4 consecutive days. It normally involves a keynote speaker, missionaries from all over the world, and participation from the community. During this 4-day event there are several planned times for worshipping, preaching, teaching, and enjoying a meal together. Keeping prayer as a focus for our missionaries, we have the congregation pledge to pray regularly for a missionary of their choosing for the year. We also ask members to pledge a goal amount of Faith Promise in order to either continue our support of current missionaries or to grow our support so we can add missionaries to already supported groups.
We feel at First Presbyterian Stanley, that our Sunday School program is the “backbone” of our church education program. We currently have a program that involves children from newborn to high school seniors. After graduating high school, our program diversifies into several adult classes that change topics quarterly. Several classes are themed such as marriage topics or certain books of the Bible. We have an open Sunday School format that allows adults to change classes at will so they can attend a topic of interest to them and will encourage them to expand their knowledge of the Bible. The idea of the program is to have smaller group discussions to encourage members (and guests) to become familiar with each other all while expanding their knowledge of God.
The Women in the Church (WIC) is a group that focuses on women’s involvement in the church. We have an active group that supports several programs in the church that help focus on passing the love of God onto others. Our WIC group is involved with love loaves, bereavement meals, goodie boxes for our college students away from home, gift bags for new members, just to name a few. This group of women also studies the bible together in small groups called circles. We currently have 5 active circles with total membership in the group being 66 women. They sponsor Pastor Appreciation gifts in October, minister to shut-ins, help plan the staffing of the nursery, and hold Spring and Christmas dinners.
Care Groups are small groups of 8-15 individuals who meet weekly at member’s homes to further learn about a Bible centered topic. Care Groups are held throughout the week so members can find a group which best fits their personal schedule. We currently have 9 care groups with a total of 60 participants.
Image Bearers is our Sunday evening program which runs in correlation with our public-school year. Image Bearers meets on Sunday evenings between 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM. Around thirty children, between the ages 3 and 11, gather together to learn more about the Lord and His will for their lives. The children’s choir also meets during this time to learn hymns and songs of praise to share with the congregation several times a year.
At First Presbyterian Stanley, we have a rich Youth Program that involves trips throughout the year and regular worship sessions. Each Sunday night from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, the Youth gathers at the church to sing praises to God, learn about God, and then fellowship with each other. Roughly 40 to 50 youth, both from the church and the community, participate in the Youth Ministry. Each year the youth attend a weekend retreat to learn about God, sing, and fellowship with each other through different arranged activities.
FAMILY CAMPING TRIP
Each Labor Day weekend, the church holds an annual Family Camping Trip. It is an opportunity for our members and invited guests to get away from the distractions of daily life and to have a time of rest and fellowship with each other. Several families from the church go on the trip and always return with delightful stories of laughter, bear sightings, and a growing love of Christ.
TOTAL LIVING CENTER (TLC)
Reverend Ted Smith of the First Presbyterian Church of Stanley had a vision to create a place where “every person in their wisdom years would have the right to dignity and respect”. He wanted a local nursing home so church members would be able to visit loved ones more frequently and residents could continue to be part of their community. So, construction of the Stanley Total Living Center started to build his vision. Construction was completed in October 1984 with 60 assisted living beds (now known as the 100 unit) and 21 senior apartments. Shortly after opening, the facility converted 36 of the 60 assisted living beds into skilled nursing beds based on the needs of those in the town which turned it into a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) able to meet the needs of a person throughout the remainder of their life in different areas of need.
Fast forward to 2017 to find, 32 years after opening, Stanley Total Living Center continues to grow so that it meets the changing needs of its residents, families, employees, and the surrounding community. It continues to place emphasis on the original vision of Reverend Ted Smith and maintains its mission as a “ministry of compassion”. The Board of Directors are all volunteers from the community who give of their own personal time to provide their expertise and support because they truly believe in the mission and vision of STLC and they support the facility motto “when better is possible…Good is not enough” by constantly assisting with strategic planning for the future needs of the facility. The future of STLC is bright for its current residents and for the Town of Stanley as it continues planning for further growth. There are already plans for the renovation of the original kitchen (built for the initial 60 residents) as well as the addition of another 20 senior living apartments at The Parke. The possibilities are endless as we move into 2020 and continue to meet the ever-changing needs of the next generation of CCRC residents.