“We’re really a pretty simple church and we like to keep things simple,” said Jordan Poole, pastor of Hope Church, which is located just off Russell Parkway, east of Interstate 75.
“Changing our name this year from New Hope International to Hope Church just helps keep it simple,” he said. “New Hope International was fine, it’s just that Hope Church works better, simpler.”
Poole said the change obviously makes the name simpler by making it shorter but the real value is that it makes explaining the church’s mission simpler.
“Hope. Everybody needs hope,” he said. “Everybody understands hope. Everybody is hoping for something, like I hope I can go here, I hope I can do that, I hope I can be this. Everybody understands hope in one way or another. We use the word all the time but as a church we want to bring the full weight of the word hope into the picture by letting people know they can have true hope in Jesus Christ. Eternal hope and hope in this life. Hope is easy to communicate and it’s real simple then for us to tell others, ‘I can take you to a place where there’s hope. I can introduce you to a person who gives hope: Jesus.’ So that’s the purpose behind it.”
Poole said it’s too easy for people to make the Gospel too complex.
“It’s actually simple,” he said. “Jesus died on a cross and now his grace is free for all of us. But don’t misunderstand me. God’s gift is free — and simple — but living the Christian life can be challenging. Jesus called us to give up selfishness and to lay down our lives to love and serve others, and do it with the right motive. That’s challenging but it’s a real blessing, too.”
Though Poole said Hope Church has many ministries in service to others, including having started the Feed the City program that gives away thousands of Thanksgiving meals each year, he said God is challenging him and the congregation to a new commitment of service during the summer and particularly during one week in July.
“All summer we’re having our Saturday Serve Days and then especially on July 18-24 we’ll be out in the community helping people and other organizations by doing all kinds of things,” he said. “We’re calling it Love Week. A lot of our people are taking off work that week to help us do something big every day. It depends on who we’re helping as to what we’ll be doing, but plans are to do clean-up work, work at parks, with food ministries, with homeless ministries, with anti-human trafficking ministries, with all kinds of groups to just to do things for others and give ourselves to the community. There are so many awesome groups around doing great things and we want to invest ourselves — to serve — and be a help. Be a blessing.”
Poole said activities are scheduled in Warner Robins, Macon, Fort Valley and elsewhere. He said there will be Hope Church projects as well as work alongside such ministries as the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, The Dove Center and Out of Darkness. He said there will also be a military ball at the church.
“We’re going to utilize this big old facility we have to bless people in the service with a 5-star quality evening,” Poole said. “We love our service members here. They deserve our honor.”
Hope Church has a sister church in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Hope Church was founded 29 years ago by Poole’s father, Jeff Poole, and was then Kings Chapel Church of God. The elder Poole now pastors the Florida church.
Poole said Hope Church is moving slowly toward establishing a third church in Macon.
“We’ve been having special meetings in Macon at the Cox Capitol Theatre,” he said. “We’re taking our time, moving slowly, having worship experiences there and sharing hope — that’s always the first priority.”
Poole says again and again the key to Hope Church is sharing the Gospel plus loving and serving others.
“Our purpose is to lead others to Christ no matter what the cost is,” he said. “We do a lot of different things to show love to one another in the church and to our community out there and there’s no ulterior motive. We’ve grown as a congregation, but we work hard to keep our motive to just honestly do things to show love without expecting something in return. That’s the example Jesus gave and that gives us hope. Hope is here and available to us all — like the little logo we have now, a GPS pointer pointing to hope because hope is here. Not the building but Jesus. I’m excited about the future because of the hope we have in him. If you take hope out of life it becomes mundane without purpose or passion or excitement. Jesus said he came to give us life and life more abundantly — that’s hope. That’s not just a church service. That’s knowing him and loving others.”
Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at email@example.com.
Address: 204 Sullivan Road, Fort Valley
Leadership: Jordan Poole, pastor
Worship: Sunday worship 10:30 a.m.