Dear Coastal,

I’m so pumped about this Sunday!  I’m sharing (literally revealing – you’ll see) an exciting year long goal for our church for 2017!  Christmas & New Year’s has come and gone, kids are all back in school, everyone is back in town – so, make every effort to start the new year off right and be in church this Sunday.  You won’t want to miss it!  And don’t let the cold weather keep you away.  I promise the coffee will be hot and the buildings will be toasty warm!

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news or not, but Clemson plays Alabama for the second year in a row for the National Championship this Monday night!  Woohoo!  I am a life long Clemson fan.  If you grow up in these parts, you just end up picking sides.  Growing up I had a lot of family and friends who went to Clemson.  My Grandfather’s brother was a Clemson Graduate.  In my desk at the office I have his 1930 class ring.

The truth is however, I’ve always liked Alabama.  From Danny Ford to Dabo Swinney, there are a lot of Alabama connections with Clemson.  But just like last year, I can’t help think about my good friend Scott Gamel.  Scott was as big of an Alabama fan as I am a Clemson fan.  His dad was an Alabama State Trooper that guarded legendary Alabama Coach Bear Bryant.

Well, two years ago I got a text from one of my best friends, Buck Wardle, that simply said, “Call me.  It’s an emergency.”  Buck is a Pastor of a church in Virginia.  I called him up and he told me the news.  One of our mutual best friends, Scott Gamel, had just died of heart attack.  I’ve known Scott since I was 16 years old.  Scott & Buck are a few years older than me, and I met them at a camp I went to when I got saved.  I was in High School and Scott & Buck were traveling for the Bible College that we all ended up going to.  We all became life long friends. Scott was in my wedding.  We talked at least once a week about life, about ministry, about family, and about you.

The truth is, Scott was overweight.  Like me, and maybe like some of you, Scott struggled with his weight most of his life.  Well, he was doing something about it.  In fact, he had recently lost some weight.  And then two years ago on a Monday morning, as was his routine, he was out walking with his wife Vicki.  They were on a walking trail with a couple of other people from their church.  Scott stopped at a bench for a breather, stooped over, and dropped dead of a heart attack. Scott and Vicki had 6 children, 6 boys, between the ages of 10 & 24.  He was 52 years old and the Pastor of a loving, growing church in Indiana.

I don’t know why I shared all that with you.  Just thoughts in my head as I think about the Clemson/Alabama Game.  I miss my friend.  I wish I could call him up and finally rag him out after a Clemson victory.  I turn 50 this year.  My mantra is fit by 50.  I’m not there yet, but I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time.  Every day is a gift.  I have two children.  I just had the privilege of performing the wedding of my son.  I want to walk my daughter down the aisle of her wedding one day.  I want to see my kids have children of their own.  This February 14th, Janet and I celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary.  I want 30 more.  I have been blessed to Pastor the best church in world for the past 26 years.  My calling is stronger today than it’s ever been, and I feel like we’re just getting started.  There are so many more people to reach, serve, love, and save.  I’ve said this before, but the hope and promise of heaven gets sweeter and sweeter to me each year that passes and after each loved one that I know goes on to glory.  Make the most of every day.  Love God.  Love people.  And day by day, as many days as you have left, until God calls you home or the sky splits, the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns, become more and more like Him.  That’s all that really matters.  I love you Coastal.  And, oh yeah – GO TIGERS!

Friday’s 5:

  1. Everyone has 1 week to finalize plans to lead, assist, or host a LIFE Group.  We are sending out email reminders and making phone calls, but you could help us out so much by simply responding to this email or calling the office (843-571-1777) and speaking with Julie Kelly directly.  LIFE Group Training is Saturday, January 28th.  LIFE Group Sunday is January 29th and the new LIFE Group Semester will start the week of February 12th.
  2. There is a First Impressions Team Oyster Roast/Chilli Supper Planning Meeting this Sunday, January 8th, 4-6:30pm at Coastal!  It’s for all current 1st Impressions Team Members and those interested in serving!  Our 1st Impressions Team are the folks who greet, hand out bulletins, open doors, drive the Golf Carts, work in the Parking Lot, usher, check the restrooms, take up the offering, and so much more!  They help to create a warm, welcoming environment for our guests.  Love for you to join the Team!
  3. New to Coastal?  Want to learn more about the church and find out how to get connected?  Join us for  the next Newcomer’s Reception, Sunday, January 22nd, 2017 immediately following the 11:15am service in the Welcome Center.  Meet other new people and our staff, enjoy some great desserts and coffee, win some prizes and discover possible next steps.  Sign up online or on your Connect Card on Sunday.
  4. Interested in offically making Coastal your church home?  Our next Membership Class is Monday, January 23rd, 6-9pm.  Childcare and refreshments provided.  Sign up online or on your Connect Card on Sunday.
  5. Looking for a place to serve at Coastal?  Don’t want to miss a service?  Enjoy technology and fast on your feet (fingers)?  We’re looking for volunteers in our Tech Booth – specifically with computer (slide presentation), lights, and video.  If you’re slightly tech savvy and have the desire, we’d love to train you!  Respond to this email, contact Christopher (, or let us know on your Connect Card.

Happy New Year!

Pastor Chris

P.S.  We’ve had a nice break, but this Saturday at 9am we’ll be setting up our chairs again!  Love for you to join us!  With 6 or more people it only takes 30 minutes or less!