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Core group prepares to launch new church

By Marty Minchin
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/26/12/04/FHIaD.Em.138.jpeg|252
    - COURTESY OF GREG CARR
    A core group of families will start WatersEdge Church in Steele Creek on Feb. 23 at Southwest Middle School in Steele Creek.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/26/12/04/XoSIR.Em.138.jpeg|459
    - COURTESY OF GREG CARR
    Greg Carr, a longtime worship pastor, is the pastor of the new WatersEdge Church in Steele Creek.

After 14 years of serving as a worship pastor at churches across the United States, Greg Carr is stepping out to start his own church in Steele Creek.

Carr, 39, shifted careers around 2000 when he sold his construction business in Dallas, Texas, to move to Colorado and serve as the worship pastor at a start-up church. This time, he and his wife, Mia, sold their house in the Weddington area to relocate to southwest Charlotte.

They moved into the Steele Creak area two weeks ago, and WatersEdge Church will launch at Southwest Middle School on Feb. 23.

A core group of eight families, many who have worked in full-time ministry themselves, are helping, and several already have moved to Steele Creek with the Carrs.

“For whatever reason, with each family God kept bringing up the Lake Wylie/Steele Creek area,” Carr said. “There are so many people right here, and it just seems like the perfect place for a church.”

Greg and Mia Carr and their two children, ages 10 and 11, moved to the Charlotte area in 2009 for Greg Carr to begin a job as worship pastor at Southbrook Community Church in Weddington.

Carr, who sings and plays the guitar, said after Southbrook’s pastor resigned, he began teaching on Sunday mornings more and more. Eventually, he was teaching more than he was leading worship.

“That was something that was never really on my radar,” he said. “But God just works that way.”

In summer 2012, the Carrs began to talk with a few other families about how, after serving in full-time ministry, they were ready for a different kind of church experience.

“For me, the complexity of church seems to increase every year,” he said. “For us and those families, we wanted something simple and real and authentic.”

Carr resigned from Southbrook in the fall and began traveling around the U.S. and North Carolina looking for a location for a new church. They kept coming back to Steele Creek.

A defining moment for Carr was visiting Southwest Middle School, which is at the busy intersection of N.C. 49 and N.C. 160, as a possible meeting site for the church.

He and a friend walked into the school to ask about it. They were told that no church met there, but the principal didn’t allow outside use of the facility.

However, as they were walking out, the receptionist told them they were welcome to come back and ask the principal themselves.

“Within a 45-minute meeting, the conversation had turned from ‘We don’t allow any outside use’ to ‘We’re excited to have you guys come and do church here,’ ” Carr said. “That was such a huge piece of affirmation for us.”

The core group decided to name the new church WatersEdge because of its proximity to Lake Wylie. Carr also said it references a passage in the Bible where priests had to step into a rushing river carrying the ark of the covenant, trusting that God would keep them safe.

“(The waters edge) is a place where the rubber meets the road and where you take those steps of blind faith,” Carr said.

The Carrs have worked with several churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, but WatersEdge will not have a denominational affiliation. Worship through music will be a large focus of its Sunday services, as well as preaching and an active children’s ministry.

“We’re going to worship passionately and we’re going to teach the Bible,” Carr said. “And that’s about it.

“I believe that simplicity, done with authenticity and passion, is attractive to people.”

All are invited to attend WatersEdge Church, which meets at 10 a.m. on Sundays starting Feb. 23. For more information, www.watersedgecharlotte.com.

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at martyminchin@gmail.com.
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