It’s the same church but with a different name.
Today is the culmination of the weekend’s events at Connection Church. The church’s name was changed from Bethesda to Connection, and the church hosted activities in conjunction with the name change.
When the church was established in August 1984, it was called New Wave Christian Fellowship. The name Hinesville Christian Fellowship was adopted in 1991. In March 1999, Philip Byler, who was the pastor at that time, changed the name to Bethesda, which means house of mercy.
“At Connection Church, we are reaching out to people who are unchurched,” Pastor Tim Byler said. “There is a new generation of unchurched people, and the name Bethesda is obscure to many people. Many people don’t know what it means.”
The church needed a name to reflect its vision, Byler said. He described the vision as creating an environment where members can better connect with God, each other and the community.
Byler described Connection Church as being filled with people who are “committed to walking together in love without condemning others.”
He said the church’s purpose is simple: to help people discover that Jesus knows and really does care for them — to see lives healed and made whole, and to see people connect, grow, find purpose, and fulfill that purpose in unimaginable ways.
“People are making a difference in our community,” he said. “People from all walks of life are finding Jesus ... the old, rich, and poor, single and married. Your relationship with God is the most important one you will ever have. How you relate with Him defines how you relate with every other person in every other area of your life.”
Byler said it’s not enough for people to connect with God and with each other.
“We want those in our community to discover the value God places in their life and invite them to become connected to Him as well,” he said.
The week’s activities included the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce holding its Progress through People lunch Aug. 22 at the church, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Friday night’s celebration featured Mark Gorman, an international preacher, motivational speaker and humorist from Nashville.
Gorman also was the facilitator of a breakfast Saturday at the church.
During the breakfast, he trained church leaders.
At 10:30 a.m. today, Gorman will speak during the morning service at the church, 116 Patriots Trail in Hinesville.
For more information about Connection Church, go to connectionchurch.com.