If you’ve driven in Grayson traffic any time Monday through Friday, it’s likely you’ve seen the sticker pictured above on the backs of many cars. That lower case “g” doesn’t stand for an out of state location or destination, but it does represent Graystone Church – a staple within the Grayson community for 12 years.
Jonathan Howes and his wife Jennifer were involved in college ministry in Texas where sports was their medium for interacting with students. God then called them to do the same, but within the community. Feeling the call to plant a church, and with God revealing Grayson as the destination, the Howes family picked up and moved in 2004. Knowing of the rich sports community in Grayson, and the lack of a contemporary style church in the area, made “Gwinnett’s best kept secret” a perfect location for the Howes family to plant the church.
Graystone started meeting with about 4-5 families one Sunday morning at the Howes home in Grayson, and within 3 short weeks had to relocate to a larger facility due to growth. Meeting at a daycare just outside of Grayson, the church had the room to facilitate a separate children’s area and a worship area. Blessings and growth continued as within 10 months of their first move came the second – this time to a renovated warehouse in the heart of Grayson off of Herring Road. The warehouse allowed them to double their service times to 9:30 am & 11 am and help carry out their vision of “Know God and make God known” to their community.
Wanting to dominate their community for Christ, the church continued to thrive and grow under the Howes’ leadership and the many elders and volunteers. “Having good leaders and good people make all of the difference,” said Howes of the members of the church.
In 2006 Graystone was able to purchase 10 acres of land on Ozora Road, which later grew to 17 acres through a property acquisition. The hope was to soon build a permanent facility to anchor the church’s ministry within the Grayson area. During this time the housing market and economy took a bad turn, making it difficult for the church to secure the financial means to start construction. Provision came through an independent investor to the tune of $2.1 million dollars, just shy of the $2.5 million needed for the facility.
Within six months the congregation raised the additional money needed, and construction began in late 2008 – early 2009. On January 10th of 2010, Graystone opened the new facility to the community and continued to receive the blessings due to their diligence and faith. In fact, on the last Sunday in their old facility, they averaged around 500-600 in attendance. On January 10th, 1,500 people showed up to celebrate and check out what God was doing in and around their community.
In 2013, God continued to bless the Graystone family with exponential growth, allowing them to launch a second campus in Walton County at Loganville High school. The Walton campus blossomed in attendance, allowing them to purchase land in 2014 just outside of downtown Monroe. The church opened a second facility in August 2015. Growth at the Walton campus themselves created a unique opportunity for yet a third campus, located in Oconee county outside of Athens. The new facility is set to open their doors this Sunday, October 30th, with services at 9:30 am and 11 am.
In just 12 short years, Graystone has grown to three campuses plus an on-line campus that can be viewed multiple times on Sunday world wide; the church now has 34 acres of land and 60,000 plus square feet of space with thousands of members – many of whom experienced a life-changing moment (1,046 baptisms to be exact) all because of a Godly-call answered by a family.
“I remember saying ‘If you reach one person then it’s worth it’, but now multiply that by a thousand,” said Howes, referring to the number of baptisms. “It blows me away.”
Howes added, “Our big vision sees Graystone with 10 total campuses and over 100 elders (similar to deacons/advisors).”
This Sunday will mark the 12 year anniversary of the founding of Graystone and the celebration “will be huge,” says Howes. Everyone who attends a Sunday service at any of the three campuses (9:30 am or 11:00 am) will receive a free t-shirt, and following the 11:00 services at 12:15 pm is a Fall Carnival at each location which is free for everyone.
Ozora Campus – Click for Directions
1551 Ozora Road Loganville, Ga 30052
Walton Campus – Click for Directions
723 North Broad Street
Monroe, Ga 30656
Oconee Campus – Click for Directions
1275 Lenru Road
Bogart, Ga 30622