POOLER BIBLE CHURCH
POOLER BIBLE CHURCH:
Voted “Best Place to Worship” in Pooler
Story by Jenny Lynn Anderson | Photography by Leidy Lester
Going to church can be downright scary and daunting for some. If you are like many, you may wonder: What do all those symbols mean on the stained glass windows? Why do people raise their hands during the service? Do I have to wear a dress? How can God be 3 in 1, Father, Son and Holy Spirit? What if I don’t know the Bible? What if people find out I’m an imposter and a sinner and I don’t belong here? What if I don’t fit in?
These questions are common and they often keep people away from church. In fact, in recent years, a Pew Research Center survey found the percentage of U.S. adults who regularly attend religious services has been declining.
Come Just As You Are
Jeff Hubbard, lead pastor of Pooler Bible Church, and its congregation, meet these obstacles head on and have this simple message for those who are scared: Come just as you are and we will love you. Never set foot in church? No problem! We will welcome you.
This mantra has led the church to be named Best Place to Worship in Pooler.
Growth in attendance and spiritual growth have been part of Pooler Bible Church’s DNA since it opened in 2011 as a planted church/satellite campus of Bible Baptist Church of Savannah.
The church started in an office complex turned into a church behind Dunkin Donuts on Pooler Parkway. As it quickly outgrew that location, the church next held worship services for three years at the Pooler Stadium 12 Theater, which holds 297 people.
“This wasn’t the most ideal location,” Hubbard jokes. ‘The problem was the theater switched to zero gravity recliners and as much as everyone thinks it’s great to have those kinds of seats, I don’t know of many preachers who are that good. Your sermons better be packed full and on point to keep everyone awake,” he adds.
Now, four years later, they are in a storefront space in an office complex that once housed Tiptons Furniture. This space, which is at the entrance of Sangrena Woods, sits atop 15 acres the church has purchased. In the next year, the church hopes to begin constructing their first building on their property to meet the growing needs of a gospel-centered church in Pooler.
A Welcoming Atmosphere
Just what is the appeal for it being named Best Place to Worship? “There’s certainly been growth over the last few years in the Pooler area and we also attract a lot of people who live in South Effingham,” explains Hubbard. “But the real reason we have grown is our welcoming, family-style atmosphere. There’s something for everyone who walks into our church.”
Variety is abundant, explains Hubbard. “You see people in jeans in our church. You see people who wear hats. You may see a woman in a skirt. You may have a homeless person sitting next to an executive. Our congregation ‘loves on’ everyone who walks in the front door and accepts them for who they are.”
Second Generation Pastor
The initial feeling of hospitality the church exudes comes from Hubbard’s excellent leadership and humble nature. He is a transparent, genuine guy who is going to wear a comfortable pair of khakis and button up shirt to preach in. No pretense, just friendly and down to earth.
A “second generation pastor’s kid,” he is the son of Herb Hubbard, pastor emeritus at Bible Baptist Church. Jeff received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Covington Theology Seminary and worked in youth ministry at his father’s church for five years before he felt God calling him to become a lead pastor. Now he’s leading a wonderful congregation and enjoying every minute of it .
Fellowship and Community
There are ministry programs for everyone at Pooler Bible Church, from babies to centenarians. The children’s ministry is led by Shane and Deborah Sullivan and has some amazing children. “He's a retired insurance agent and is a big kid at heart and she is a young, hip Grandma and the children just adore them,” adds Hubbard.
“On Wednesday nights, a youth service for middle school and high school students is led by volunteers Pat Dyches and wife Alicia. The worship team band plays and the teenagers get to learn spiritual, gospel-centered strategies of how to withstand attacks from the world. The kids really get into this ministry because this couple have a heart for teenagers and Pat’s teaching style shows he’s a relational guy,” adds Hubbard.
Besides Wednesday nights, social events like floating trips down the Ogeechee River add to the fellowship as students develop friendships. Adult ministries include community groups that meet on Sunday mornings and cover all age brackets for both single and married people.
In the world today, there's so much loneliness, aloneness and isolation. “People really need fellowship and contact. Satan's biggest attack is to separate us because when we’re not together we're easier to pull away from what our God-given mission is. If we're not in fellowship with other believers, sin creeps in very, very, very quickly,” he explains.
To combat this, the church has developed a deacons family ministry—each deacon keeps up with 10 to 15 families on a regular basis. “The deacons make sure that our congregation is okay and doing well. And what it’s created is really a close knit community where everybody feels a part and nobody feels like an outsider,” says Hubbard.
Building a Relationship with Christ
More than anything, the 44-year-old pastor desires Pooler Bible to be a place where you can genuinely grow in your relationship with Christ.
“Our sermons are not packaged as ‘skim the surface’ messages. We don't preach for entertainment value and stay at that 30,000 foot level. We’re going to dig into Jesus’ word in the scripture. My job and role is to teach new believers all the way up to mature believers. Just as important, I introduce Jesus to nonbelievers and teach them about our Savior,” he explains.
Heartfelt, gospel-focused worship services are amplified by the worship team band which features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and 2 to 3 vocalists every Sunday. They play contemporary music, gospel hymns and a sprinkle of everything in between.
For those still intimidated about attending church for the first time for fear of being an outsider, Hubbard has these encouraging thoughts. “We're human. We are all sinners. So we try to keep the judgment out. We’re all imperfect but if you want to hear the truth of the message of Jesus Christ and you are looking for a place where you’re going to be loved, accepted as a sinner, you might just find our church to be a good fit.”
Community groups meet at 9:15 a.m. every Sunday followed by church services at 10:30 a.m. Youth students (middle school and high school) meet at 6 p.m. on Wednesday nights.Check out more about why Pooler Bible Church is the best place to worship at www.poolerbiblechurch.com.