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The building located at 1376 SW Grand Street in Greenville doesn’t look like a church; it looks like an old converted store front. Other ministries have been birthed out of storefronts, though. A pastor named John O’Steen began preaching in an old feed store in Houston, Texas. That church became a mega church before Pastor O’Steen died. While the building doesn’t look like a church, one need only walk inside to experience that it is.
The ministry of Renewed Life Outreach Center represents a homecoming of sorts for its pastor, Chris Peterson. Pastor Chris was called into the ministry at the young age of 21, just a year after he had been saved at the age of 20 in Aug. 1992. He began teaching the adult Sunday School class at the now abandoned Church of God in Greenville. The building stands as a sentinel on the eastern outskirts of the town, but it has sent people like Pastor Chris and his brother, John Peterson, into the world to proclaim the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Others have gone to other countries, like Walter Davis, former pastor, and his wife, Carla.
Pastor Chris began minstering where he found people he could proclaim the goodness of Christ to. He ministered in jails and in prisons and in the streets. When he was called to preach at a church, he would go minister there.
In 2000, Chris was called to an evangelistic meeting at Abundant Life Church in Lloyd. He became the associate pastor, and after the pastor left, he became the senior pastor.
Years later, Pastor Chris felt God calling him to another place and he began evangelizing. He went to seminary in Tallahassee and finished his bachelor’s degree in ministry. He even got to teach at the college, because of his life experience as a minister.
Chris felt God beckoning him to do something else in ministry. He said God wanted him and his family to do something closer to where they were. Greenville was the answer and in one weekend, he had secured the building at 1376 SW Grand Street for the church.
The first Sunday at the church – Sept. 23, 2012 – the service had only five people. Those five people were he, his wife, his two sons and his nephew. Since then, the church has grown, sometimes having 60 people in attendance.
Vanessa Unglaub, a member of the church, said that Pastor Chris has been very dear to her and her husband.
“He has been a true brother to me,” she said. “I have learned to ‘put feet’ to the gospel I know in my heart. He has taught me how to be a ‘true disciple.’”
Renewed Life Outreach Center is a non-denominational church but Unglaub said there are a few there who would say they are “Pentecostal in our blood.”
Unglaub said the services at the church begin with spirit-filled worship and then a powerful message from the pastor. Saturated with Scriptures and animated with his own personal stories, the sermons are followed by a powerful prayer, which Pastor Chris prays with full conviction, expecting God to answer.
One of the outreaches that the church has planned for the town that it calls home is a service at Haffye Hays Park on Saturday, April 26. The crowd will also be fed that day and the church is expecting to feed approximately 500 people, maybe more. Desmond Roberson will lead the worship music for the event and Pastor Chris will preach to those in attendance.
Sunday morning services begin at Renewed Life Outreach Center at 11 a.m. On Tuesday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m., there is a prayer meeting. A women’s meeting is held at the church every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.
Pastor Chris, his wife, Jerri, and their two sons, Micah and Jeremiah, are happy to be serving at Renewed Life Outreach Center and are looking to expand, as they are looking at a larger building to hold services in.
“We’re just putting one foot in front of the other,” Chris said, saying they were moving forward.