By Kenzley Currin, Contributing Writer
When Element Church celebrated ten years of ministry to the City of Woodruff on January 26, they took it as an opportunity to look back at their founding, all the people, challenges and blessings that God has provided along the way. Appreciating their past, the church now focuses on its future and all that its hope to accomplish in the next ten years.
“Josh Bradley was working at Brookwood Church in Mauldin,” says Brad Phillips, worship pastor at Element. “He had a vision to plant a new church, and God led him to Southern Spartanburg County, eventually Woodruff.”
With the founding came the mission of Element, which has remained the same these 10 years. Bekki Phillips, ministry administrator, explains the mission as three parts: “Discover Truth, Experience Community, and Love People.”
At the time Bradley was looking for a location for the church, the former Community Cash grocery store and Family Dollar building on Cross Anchor Road was “one of the only locations available… that would allow [them] to retro fit the space to [their] needs. Plus it was centrally located near the high school,” says Brad. So they moved in and began their ministry, but with bumps and hardships along the way.
Pastor Bill Thomason says that the church experienced several challenges over the last 10 years, which is common for church plants to experience. The greatest challenge was in 2015 when attendance declined and many of the founding leadership were no longer involved.
Since the beginning, Element has had two lead pastors, Josh Bradley and Bill Thomason, as well as several administrative pastors, worship pastors and youth pastors. “The core leadership that was serving Element [in this time of uncertainty] knew that the Lord had plans for Element Church to continue to impact the community. Since that time, Element has continued to experience an increase in ministry and impact throughout the community and leadership has been consistent,” says Pastor Thomason.
Bekki Phillips adds that, “Of course there have been hard times, but Element has always relied on God’s guidance to show the way. Element has great leadership… [whose] desire is to see others come to know Christ through whatever means possible.”
Over the years, Element’s community outreach has included partnering with the Woodruff Community Center’s Giving Tree project during Christmas and with the City of Woodruff for the Halloween on Main. The church has also provided many meals to the Woodruff High School varsity and junior varsity football teams.
Element has also helped another local church, First Baptist Church Woodruff, with funds for books and supplies for a class they offer to high school students. Additionally, the church participates in Unity in the Community (a free tailgate hosted by the churches in the Woodruff area) and hosts #B2SB (Back to School Bash), their largest outreach event, at the end of each summer as a community event to reach all church youth.
Right now Element has an average of 140 people in attendance weekly and they see new faces coming in each Sunday, which is a great encouragement to them, according to Bekki Phillips.
Looking to the future, Pastor Thomason shares his hopes that “Over the next 10 years, the goal of Element is to promote the Gospel and impact the community, state and world for Jesus. We fully believe that God is going to use the people of Element Church to reach that goal.”