It has been 25 years since Allan and Valerie Mathura came to South Metro Ministries. The ongoing month-long acknowledgment and celebration of that arrival will culminate on Mar. 21 with the 25th Anniversary Service at the Performing Arts Center in Newnan.
“This has been a dream come true,” Allan said last week of his time with the church. “I’m a work in process. But the greatest joy and the greatest resource is the people. And I’m learning and growing with them. And I’m having life experiences with them.”
Allan spoke about the past 25 years as pastor at South Metro Ministries, formerly known as Peachtree City Church of God. The name change came four years ago. It encompassed our vision and goals for the ministry, he said, and the church had already moved further up the road on Ga. Highway 34 in 1997 and was no longer in Peachtree City or Fayette County.
South Metro Ministries today has a congregation of 1,050 members with an average attendance of 950. Twenty-five years ago there were less than 50 members.
Allan recently sent the congregation a message that reflected on the quarter century he and Valerie had spent with the ministry.
“My heart is filled with joy and I am overwhelmed at the goodness of God as Valerie I reflect on 25 years of pastoral ministry at South Metro Ministries. God has not only answered our prayers, but He has exceeded our expectations and continues to broaden our visions and dreams for the future,” Allan said. “Twenty-five years ago, we asked the Lord to place us in a community where we could minister long term while raising our family and making a difference in the lives of the people with whom we come in contact. We have wept with you and rejoiced with you. We celebrated the birth of your children and grieved over the passing of loved ones. We have been together at baby dedications, birthdays, graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. Together we have also encountered the not so pleasant experiences of life: loss, sickness, surgeries, separation and divorce. In the midst of all the challenges and opportunities, God has been faithful.”
A part of the South Metro Ministries mission is to reach out into the community. That outreach led to partnerships with organizations like A Better Way Ministries and Angel Tree in Newnan.
“We’re learning that we have the same goals as some other organizations, getting people back to a meaningful life with their families,” Allan explained.
The church also has an international outreach to efforts such as an orphanage in Bangalore, India. For the South Metro congregation the reason for an international outreach is simple.
“We see that we’re blessed so we want to extend that blessing to others around the world,” Allan said.
The church also has a number of in-house ministries that include Joseph’s Storehouse that stocks food, clothing and furniture that is distributed to those in need, a community Recovery House that provides services in grief and divorce recovery, financial planning through the Dave Ramsey program and drug awareness programs for parents and teens. The church also provides a variety of youth programs and discipleship for men and women.
“It’s about more than getting crowds here,” Allan said of the many outreach efforts and their impact. “It’s about getting people’s lives changed.”
Allan in his recent message to the congregation also acknowledged the work and efforts of everyone who has contributed to South Metro Ministries making a difference in the community and the world.
“In our efforts to teach you the Word of God and be models of Christian virtues, you have embraced and encouraged us as your shepherds. Thank you for believing in us and following us as we follow Christ,” he said. ”Our congregation is a wonderful blend of people groups from all over the world and that is certainly an answer to prayer. Our pastoral staff and church office team strive for excellence in ministry. The church elders are progressive and unified. Our church offers multiple ministries that are producing changed lives at home and abroad. Our ministries could not be fruitful if not for the dedicated group of volunteers who serve unselfishly week after week. You have helped us to plant churches, as well as send and support missionaries, orphanages, and schools all over the world.”
As for the culmination of Allan’s 25th anniversary as pastor, the reason for having the service at The Centre on Lower Fayetteville Road was simple. The facility is large enough to accommodate the entire church membership. But for Allan and Valerie the occasion has little to do with the location of the service or the size of the building. The service is about the people.
“It’s the lives of the people in the congregation that makes this church what it is,” Allan said with a smile.
For more information on South Metro Ministries call 770-251-37777 or visit www.southmetroministries.com