God treasures us. God loves people! Forgiven by God, we get to love him back. One way we do this is through loving other people in Jesus' name. After all, Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
We are leading our people to become the best neighbors ever where they live, work and play. Our church leaders’ job is to encourage, equip and empower our people to do this each week starting at home and working outward from there.
So we learn our neighbors names. We buy an ice cream cone for the car behind us in the drive-thru. We sit with the kid all alone in the lunchroom. We stand up for someone being bullied.
We love people in Jesus' name.
One example is we serve high school students through the sport of Ultimate (Frisbee). We teach students how to be a part of a team that is competitive but values people over winning. We teach them to treat others as they would like to be treated. We teach them conflict resolution skills as they learn to self-officiate. We see God working in the Ultimate community in Summerville and beyond.
We are learning how to be a great neighbor as a church too. We are a part of the Church of Charleston. God will not reach our community through just one local church. He will reach our cities when the local churches of Charleston work together to take the good news to every man, woman and child giving them multiple opportunities to hear, see and respond to the good news of Jesus.
One example of this is when we partner with local churches for Love Gave.
Our aim is to encourage, equip and empower our people to become the best neighbors ever where they live, work and play for this reason.
We believe God is on the move in Charleston. It is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country and we are blessed to be in the middle of it!
We exist to lead people to love God and to love people around the corner and around the world.
...that there is only one God eternally in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; Hebrews 1:3; Acts 5:3-4)
...that the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God; that it is relevant and applicable to people today and should be studied in private, taught in public and applied in our daily lives (1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13)
...in the deity of Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, death on the cross to redeem us, bodily resurrection, ascension to the Father, present ministry of intercession for us, and His return to earth in power and glory (John 1; John 20: 30; Luke 1:3; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Revelations 20:4)
...in the deity and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit that performs the miracle of the new birth in an unbeliever and indwells believers enabling them to live a godly life (Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 1-2; Titus 3:5; Galatians 5:16)
...that people were created for a relationship with God, but because of sin were alienated from God and only through faith and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, which was made possible by His death and resurrection, can that alienation be removed (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6; Ephesians 1:7)
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you have for my family on Sundays?
Worship Service [adults, students, children]
Our Sunday worship service is a 75-minute experience designed to encourage and equip you to live the life God created you to live.
Dress: Most people dress in nice, comfortable clothes. Coats and ties are uncommon.
Nursery-Preschool (0 yrs-K5)
Nursery is newborn to under 3.
Preschoolers are 3-K5. They start with their parents in the service enjoying the music, videos, and testimonies and then leave to join their leaders for age-appropriate activities. Preschoolers are welcome to stay for the whole service if parents desire.
Children (1st-5th grade)
Our children start with their parents in the service enjoying the music, videos, and testimonies. They go back for Kid's Group just before the message for Bible stories and games. We are using the Gospel Project curriculum. Kids are certainly welcome to stay for the whole worship service if parents desire.
Youth (6-12th grade)
Sunday afternoons, our youth join our adults in our worship service at 4:00 PM. Some students help in the nursery, children's and technology areas.
Sunday evenings, 6:30 - 8:00PM, our youth meet. Our youth group time is designed to help our teens discover a God who loves them as they are--but too much to leave them that way. He wants to equip them to impact their world in a way that ripples into eternity. Whether it's the message, music, team builders, small group discussions or just hanging out eating and playing, our youth learn what it means to believe and belong to a group that truly wants to love God and people everywhere.
What can I expect when I visit?
You are greeted at the entrance by people who are there to help. If you have small children, they can get you to the right place.
A welcome center is in the lobby just to the left of the main entrance, where someone is ready to help you find your way around.
Participation in the worship service is encouraged, but not required. We encourage people to simply respond to God authentically as they desire.
A typical service:
Welcome and opening prayer
Testimonies, Special word, Prayer, Video clip
Dismiss children to their Kid's Groups
Sermon/message (about 30 minutes)
Invitation/Response (with a song or 2) giving people a chance to give, celebrate the Lord's Supper (Communion), sing and/or pray.
Closing thoughts and prayer
The actual order may vary, but usually lasts around an hour and 15 minutes.
Do I need to donate money when I visit?
No. We are happy to have you as a guest. Feel free to complete the green welcome card and drop it into the green offering/prayer box (located in the worship area). If you would like to give, you can give in the offering boxes or online. Here's how
What is the pastor's message like?
Our pastor's message comes directly from the Bible, with additional material to help illustrate it. It is frequently part of an ongoing series. You can hear some recent messages on our messages page or our YouTube channel here.
Do you give invitations at the end of the service and what are they like?
Yes, we give an invitation to respond to whatever God is doing in your life at that moment. It includes a time to celebrate the Lord's Supper (Communion), pray alone or with others, give, and/or sing.
What happens after the service?
We talk to each other, gather our kids, pick up information in the foyer and meet new people. The youth group meets around 6:30 in host homes. Journey Church college ministry (August to April) comes into the building for their service at 7 PM.
What am I expected to put in the green offering/prayer boxes?
Nothing, but if you would like to share your contact information on the green welcome cards and place in the box, that's great. This will help us get to know you better. The offering is another way we worship by cheerfully giving to God offerings out of gratitude for what He's given to us. Everyone is welcome to share prayer requests on the back of the green welcome cards and then drop them into the offering/prayer boxes (our leaders pray over requests Tuesday mornings).
What denomination are you?
We are non-denominational.
Are you associated with any other organizations?
In one sense, we are associated with any church that follows Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As a result, we partner with other churches on projects and events that share our vision for changing our community with the love of Christ. We call them part of the Church of Charleston.
Practically, we are an autonomous church made up of people from various denominations and church backgrounds. We do associate and/or partner with other like-minded churches and ministries. Some examples include:
Local & US
Cypress Project (Church planting network in Charleston and beyond)
Mission Charleston (mChuck) (Every June)
Connie Maxwell Children's Home (Orangeburg)
141 Impact (Missions in Uganda)
Support missionaries in Oman, East Asia, Curacao and Uganda
Curacao Awana Mission to Fuik Neighborhood (Every July)
What is your leadership structure?
We are led by a Council of Pastors/Elders that function more as a plurality of leaders. This council includes two full-time pastors & 1-2 elders.
We are also led by a group of Deacons & their wives. Our Deacon teams function as men (with the help of their wives as appropriate) to meet the needs in our congregation where the family structure has broken down. In a sense, they are "standing in the gap" to help people get back on their feet after a crisis or trial. Our first line of care ministry happens through our groups.
How do I get to know your church better?
The best ways to get to know us:
Come to our Sunday services for a month
Visit a Mission Group or Home Group for a month (we can give you a list of groups that meet in and around the Summerville/Ladson area)
Our desire is to be a community of people who follow Jesus together as we learn how to love God and love people by being the best neighbor ever where we live, work and play. We believe that happens best in relationships around the Bible. So we encourage our people to informally connect weekly in some kind of Christ-centered group for prayer, Bible study, mission planning, and encouragement.
What about groups for adults?
Disciple-making is a big deal at Grace. To facilitate this, we offer 3 kinds of groups for our adults: Mission Groups, Home Groups, and Core Groups.
Mission Groups meet twice a month. This group is “Largest enough to dare” and live on mission together around the corner and around the world. They are either planning a mission activity or living on mission. All ages are encouraged to participate.
Home Groups meet twice a month. This group is “Small enough to care” for one another inside the fellowship. They are usually working through a book of the Bible or a topical series of some kind.
Core Groups meet weekly. This group is 2-6 guys or gals meeting weekly to discuss what they have been learning from their time in the word the past week. It’s a place where you learn to study the Bible on your own.
What do you believe?
Have a link at our beliefs. What we believe matters because what we do flows from what we believe.
How long have you been a church?
Grace began in November of 1999.
How do I join Grace?
1. Visit for a while. Get to know us while we get to know you--our people; our leaders.
2. Pray. Ask God if this is where He wants you to grow and serve.
3. If you are ready to learn more about joining Grace, go to our next Starting Point. This group helps you and others like you learn about our direction, how we do things and why, what we believe and our purpose, values, vision and mission. You'll spend time with our pastor and leaders with the goal of helping you make an intentional decision about whether God is calling you to join in with us at Grace.
What's required for membership?
A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is foundational to becoming a member of Grace. Baptism as a believer is required and can be done as a part of the process, if it's not already a part of your faith journey.
As a part of our discussions with you in the membership process, you'll learn that it's expected that those who profess to trust Jesus Christ follow Him fully and faithfully, as presented in the Bible.
What does that include? We expect members to pray for each other, encourage each other in a group, serve alongside each other, love one another, share Christ with others, give regularly and sacrificially, and to follow the leaders of our church.
Darien Gabriel | Senior Pastor/Elder
Married Anita Mirick in '88 (Summerville High, '83; Clemson University, '87), Darien & Anita have 4 daughters. They have lived in West Palm Beach & Tampa, FL; Wake Forest & Wilson, NC.
Darien likes to read, travel & play Ultimate Frisbee.
Gene Hundley | Elder
Gene Hundley is another pastor-elder at GCF. He is retired from the Forestry Division at Mead-Westvaco. He & his wife Doris are founding members. They are the proud parents of two daughters and four grandchildren.
Ken Dorrity | Senior Pastor/Elder
Ken is from Greenwood, SC where he graduated from Greenwood High School (’83) before going on to get degrees from Clemson University ’87 and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary ‘03. Ken was called to Gospel ministry in 1993 when he was serving as a Youth Leader at Gateway Baptist Church. He has been working full time as a youth pastor since 1995 when he was ordained, having served in various Youth and Education roles.
Ken and his wife, Wana, have four children.
Ken's top priorities are time with his family, reading God's Word, reading history books, F3, sports (Ultimate Frisbee and running).
Lance & Betsy Gorrell | Deacon Team
Lance and his wife Betsy serve at Grace as a Deacon team. They are the parents of four great kids. Lance enjoys leading worship on Sunday mornings while Betsy helps with our Kid's ministry and Mission Charleston (mChuck).