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Church celebrates growth, ministry on 3rd anniversary

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

New Testament Gospel Worldwide Ministries is celebrating three years of growth in Stockbridge.

"It is a tremendous sense of success that we have been able to sustain the growth of the ministry and address the needs of the ministry," said Pastor Dwain E. Matthews, who founded the church a decade ago in Hanau, Germany.

Matthews, 54, said he moved the ministries to Stockbridge three years ago, and began rebuilding its congregation with only eight families. The church has grown from 25 members, to 150 members from Clayton, Henry, and DeKalb counties.

"It has been a community effort, and the community saw that were able, and the community has responded in building this ministry," he said. "We are heavily a family-oriented ministry. We have a marriage-enrichment ministry, youth ministry, and a singles ministry. A church is a family. It is a body, and we focus on the family."

Matthews said the church has been in the process of developing several more ministries, as it grows into the Southern Crescent community. He resides in Rex, Ga., with his wife of 19 years, Lynn, 47. The couple have four boys: Barry Brock, 24, LaVar Matthews, 18, Trevor Matthews, 16, and Cedric Matthews, 14.

Matthews is a retired first sergeant in the U.S. Army, following 20 years of service. His wife served 21 years, and also retired as a first sergeant. While stationed in Germany in 2000, they founded New Testament Gospel. Matthews said they continued stateside ministries in 2007, under the Ruach Ministries, a non-denominational church based in Brixton, England.

This weekend, church members will recognize the married couple, who are both entering their 10th year in the ministry, according to organizers of the New Testament Gospel's forthcoming anniversary celebrations, entitled "The Power to Live a Spirit-filled Life in 2010."

Anniversary services will be held on Saturday and Sunday, according to organizer Keyra Lynn Johnson. The church plans to host a banquet at 2 p.m., Saturday, at the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, located at 1709 Ga. Highway 20 West in McDonough. Johnson said the church will close out its anniversary festivities during Sunday morning worship services, beginning at 11 a.m., at the church's Stockbridge address, 620 East Atlanta Road.

Matthews expects the church will have more to celebrate soon. He said the congregation is preparing, next month, to purchase the facility it had been renting the past three years.

"We call it the church on the hill," he said. "It literally sits on a hill as you come down East Atlanta Road." To learn more about the church, call (678) 565-3487, or visit the web site at www.newtestamentgospel.com.