WHO WE ARE
We think that the Church should be the greatest example of God’s love, light, kindness, and excellence in any community. The Church is a people in a people to change a people. That simply means we are a group of people chosen by God to live in the world and make a difference for His glory. Our mission is to bring people into a relationship with Jesus, help them discover who God says that they are, and equip them to live meaningful lives that bring others to Jesus.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
We believe there is one God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God created mankind to have fellowship with Him, but because sin entered the world, that fellowship was broken. To restore a relationship with Him, the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life as a man on earth in order for Jesus to die as a worthy substitute for the penalty of sin.
Through the power of God, Jesus rose from the dead and now sits on a throne in heaven as King. In His death and resurrection, eternal salvation was purchased for mankind—it is only through God’s grace that we are saved.
Those who have turned to Jesus and trusted His finished work receive the Holy Spirit to drive the transformation of becoming more like Jesus, and as a result, attract non-believers to God. It is our purpose on earth to represent God and share this message of forgiveness and restoration.
The sole basis for our belief is the Bible. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it was uniquely inspired by God, it is truth without error, and the final authority on all matters on which it speaks. We believe the Bible is completely relevant to our daily lives.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness.” –2 Timothy 3:16 NIV
God is called by many different names in the Bible because of the different dimensions of His personality, but God is one. God is super-dimensional and eternally self-existent. God is love, sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth. While God is one, He is also a tri-personal being known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God has existed in relationship with Himself for all eternity. Although each member of the Trinity serves different functions, they each possess equal power and authority.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ as both God and man is the only One who can reconcile us to God. He lived a sinless and exemplary life, died on the cross in our place, and rose again to prove His victory and empower us for life. We believe that in order to receive forgiveness and the ‘new birth’ we must repent of our sins, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and submit to His will for our lives. We believe that Jesus established and is building His Church in preparation for His return. We believe that our eternal destination of either Heaven or hell is determined by our response to the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s plan is that all believers regularly meet together for worship, fellowship, service, and instruction in the Word of God.
God is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and above all, Holy. It is in Him that we live, move and exist. God is good. He is our Father. He is loving, compassionate, and faithful to His people and His promises.
The Holy Spirit’s presence assures us of our relationship with Christ. He guides believers into all truth and exalts Christ. He convicts people of their sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment. He comforts us, gives us spiritual gifts, and makes us more like Christ. We believe that the infilling of the Holy Spirit is available to all believers to equip them for witness and ministry. The Holy Spirit enables us to use spiritual gifts as enumerated in I Corinthians 12-14 and as manifested in the Early Church. The Holy Spirit dwells within a Christian and helps them in their weakness and defends against the enemy. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live an overcoming life and to become who God created us to be.
The blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the only way of salvation through the forgiveness of sin. Salvation occurs when people place their faith in the death and resurrection of Christ as sufficient payment for their sin. Salvation is a gift from God, and it cannot be earned through our own efforts. When we put our faith in Christ, it triggers a spiritual chain reaction. We become the temple of the Holy Spirit, we become citizens of heaven, we are given eternal life, we are adopted and become children of God. Our sins are forgiven and forgotten.
The Church is a local community of baptized believers unified through faith in Christ. It is committed to the teachings of Christ and obeying all of His commands, and it seeks to bring the Gospel to the world. The Church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. As Christians, “WE” are The Church and our mission, privilege and responsibility is to share the good news with other people and bring them into the family of believers.
Baptism is a symbol. It’s meant to show the world that that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ. It’s like a wedding ring. The Scripture teaches that all who repent and believe in Christ are to be baptized by immersion. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ. Baptism is symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. It’s a declaration to the world that we have died to sin and have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. We believe in baptising children when they are old enough to understand what it means and make a personal declaration of belief. Baptism does not make you a believer; it shows that you already are one! Baptism does not “save” you; only your faith in Christ does that.
The Lord’s Table consists of two elements: the bread and cup. These elements are symbolic of the body and blood of Christ. Communion is a memorial of Christ’s sufferings on the cross and a celebration of our salvation. Communion began on the annual celebration of Passover when Jesus told his disciples to remember his sacrifice as they ate the bread and drank the wine. Holy communion uses bread as a symbol of the body of Jesus and wine (or juice) as a symbol of his blood. The act of taking communion does not save us, it is an act of worship and remembrance.It’s an opportunity for a believer to examine himself and experience the forgiveness we possess in Christ.
The Covenant of Marriage between and a man and a woman is holy, sacred, and beautiful. We view marriage as God’s divine design of a sacred covenant (a supernatural bonding) between a man and a woman. In our fallen and broken world, relationships are often fragile. Yet, we believe that with the grace and power of God–along with the guidance of Scripture and a faithful community of believers–there is hope to have healthy marriages and to experience healing from past relationships. According to Scripture, marriage reflects the relationship between Jesus and the Church. Just as Jesus lovingly and sacrificially gave His life for His bride, the Church, the husband plays the role of Jesus by giving his life for his wife. And the wife responds to the husband’s sacrificial, loving initiatives by trusting his leadership in her family’s life, just as the Church responds to Jesus by trusting His leadership.
Through marriage, God created a place for sexual intimacy to be enjoyed through a man and a woman coming together as one. Although culture and customs have evolved in their definition of marriage, God alone, through Scripture, has the ultimate authority regarding marriage relationships. Genesis 2:24 Matthew 19:1-9 Ephesians 5:31
Barefoot Church welcomes ALL people but does not affirm all lifestyles. Put clearly, we do not affirm a gay lifestyle nor do we affirm lifestyles that involve sexual intimacy within premarital relationships, or polyamorous relationships, as well as bisexuality, adultery, bestiality, incest, or pornography. Because of this, we do not knowingly have actively gay people or anyone participating in sexual intimacy outside of marriage in positions of leadership, either paid or unpaid within our church. Matthew 15:19 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Hebrews 13:4
Sadly some also use Christianity to alienate and even condemn those who identify as gay or otherwise and dismiss their desire to pursue happiness. God created humanity with a free will. He has called us as Christians to love all people including those who believe differently to us. Jesus came to save, not condemn.
So if you are gay or participating in any type of premarital sexual intimacy, are you welcome at Barefoot Church? Absolutely. You are welcome to attend, worship with us, and participate as a congregation member with the assurance that you are personally included and accepted. Can you take an active leadership role within our church? No. We understand that this stance won’t make everyone happy, which is why we like to be up front about what we believe. Our goal is to avoid hurt and to demonstrate love. We are a welcoming church but we are not a church that affirms lifestyles of sexual immorality according to biblical standards.
For Christians, these issues are a matter of faith and biblical teaching, something that should never be mocked or downplayed by those with opposing views. We believe God’s word is clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. The writings of the apostle Paul in Scripture on the subject of homosexuality and sexual immorality is clear. Romans 1:18-32
Furthermore, there’s a difference between temptation (attraction) and unrepentant sin (action). Jesus was tempted in all ways as we were, yet He never sinned. We, too, don’t have to give in to sexual temptation or be held captive by sexual immorality but can walk in His forgiveness, grace, and power on a daily basis—sanctification. 1 Corinthians 6:11 Galatians 5:16-17
In regards to sexual identity, we believe that since the human body is a creation of God where sexual identity is biologically determined, disagreement with one’s biological sex or gender identity only leads to emotional chaos and spiritual confusion, and is regarded as sinful in its intent. Genesis 1:27 Romans 1:26-32
Though sexual intimacy outside of marriage (one man and one woman) is sinful, the Gospel provides redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, and receive love and forgiveness though Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:1-10 Titus 3:3-7
At Barefoot Church, we’ll be a safe place for any person struggling with sexual temptations of all kinds. For those struggling with temptation, repenting of sin, and desiring to walk in who God called them to be, we will provide grace, love, care, and direction to encourage each of us to walk in God’s upward, inward, outward love. Matthew 11:28-30 1 Corinthians 10:13 Hebrews 2:17-18 Hebrews 4:14-16
At Barefoot Church we believe that women who are called by God and are equipped can lead, teach, preach and pastor in the church. Women have contributed much to the ministry of the Church throughout its history. However, their role in this area has never been free from controversy. Today, most church bodies are discussing the place of women in their ministries.
The New Testament clearly portrays that the early church had a varied and faithful ministry arising from the fact that all of God’s people were “gifted” by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up one another. Any person who was called and gifted by God and affirmed by the body of Christ could exercise ministry. Some were set apart in leadership positions and some were assigned specific tasks to accomplish, but the differences among ministries were not distinctions of kind. Eventually, certain types of affirmation were combined with certain functions of ministry to produce our current understanding of ordination.
Modern debates over women leading in the church often miss the crucial and basic issues of the holistic concept of the ministry of the Church reflected in the New Testament. Of course, no person should be ordained or given any responsibilities of ministry within the Church because of gender or for the sake of a “point.” On the other hand, we have affirmed in the Church that no person, called and gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the Church because of one’s gender. 1 Corinthians 12:4-31 1 Corinthians 14:1-19 Romans 12:3-8 Ephesians 4:7-16 1 Peter 4:8-11
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
Jesus is the pathway to the peace that the human heart needs to make a better world and a better humanity. In a world that is desperate for hope, we have The Living Hope. We believe that the Bible and it’s principles are the ultimate truth on which we should build our church, our nation, our world, and our individual lives. We believe that the primary mission of the Church is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world and worship Him. Reaching out, helping those in need, and standing up for the broken is an integral part of bringing all people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Barefoot Church is opposed to racism. We are a church built on a multi ethnic vision. Diversity in the church is something that we value and hold dear. God has made us each beautiful, unique and in His image. We each represent and display a different part of who God is. Click here to learn more about racial reconciliation and how you can be a part of bridging the gap.
At Barefoot Church we believe that the structure of the church should not be determined by culture, business practices, or even denominational traditions. The nature of the church determines its structure.
Board Oversight: A group of pastors and other spiritual leaders hold our church leadership accountable.
Pastor Led: The Lead Pastor sets the spiritual direction and vision for Barefoot Church. Other pastors lead various areas of the ministry based on the gifts God has given them.
Team Driven: A ministry team is comprised of a pastoral leader and numerous volunteers who serve together to fulfill the purpose and vision of the church.
CLAY & KIM NESMITH, SENIOR PASTORS, BAREFOOT CHURCH
Clay & Kim NeSmith are the Senior Pastors of Barefoot Church. Pastor Clay and his wife, Kim, began their journey with 12 people in their living room. Together they have seen God grow the ministry of Barefoot Church exponentially.
TROY GRAMLING, BOARD MEMBER
Troy Gramling has led Potential Church, a fast growing, multi-site church, with a membership of over 14K people in six locations across the United States, South America and the Caribbean. He is fuelled by his passion and burden to partner with people to reach their God potential as they impact the world for good. Gramling excels in leadership development and is well known for his extreme creativity in designing unexpected worship and teaching experiences.
MATT FRY, BOARD MEMBER
Matt Fry is the Lead Pastor at C3 Church in Clayton, NC. God called Matt and his wife Martha to start a new church that would connect with where people are living today. Their passion is to provide “real hope for real people in a real world.”
C3 Church was launched in an elementary school in 1998 with about 50 people and has grown to several thousand attending on the weekend. The C3 Church Clayton campus is located on an old 47-acre tobacco farm in Johnston County with a 2,000-seat worship center, children and student ministry center, C3 Café and Bookstore.
MAC LAKE, BOARD MEMBER
After graduating seminary, we moved back to South Carolina where I served for seven years as an Associate Pastor at Pawleys Island Community Church. An incredibly supportive group of people poured their best into me and gave me amazing opportunities to grow in ministry. It was there God birthed a vision in my heart to plant a church 30 miles North of Pawleys Island.
With the support of Pastor Bob Barrows and the church, we launched Carolina Forest Community Church in 1997. I served for seven wonderful years as the Senior Pastor at Carolina Forest before God began to lay a huge burden on my heart for Leadership
Development. In 2004 after having lunch with Greg Surratt, Senior Pastor at Seacoast Church, he invited me to join Seacoast Staff to help develop leaders for their multi-site movement. I remained there as the Leadership Development Pastor for nearly seven years before accepting the call to start The Launch Network.
Four years into leading The Launch Network we changed the name to The Multiply Group and began serving Church Planting Organizations. In early 2015 God led Brian Bloye, the founder of Launch and I to give the Multiply Group to the North American Mission Board to use as their system for Assessing and Training church planters. The Multiply Group still serves under the direction of the North American Mission Board as a service to help other networks and denominations in their church planting efforts.
ANN BLACK, LIFE DEVELOPMENT PASTOR, BAREFOOT CHURCH
Dr. Ann Black is the Life Development Pastor at Barefoot Church. She is also the founder of Ascent Education. She has served on staff at Barefoot Church for over 7 years.
She encourages others to always be learning new things and she herself is a lifelong learner as her education shows with a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Masters in Theology, Bachelors in Christian Education with a minor in Curriculum Development and an Associate in Criminal Justice.
She, alongside her incredible ministry team of staff and volunteers, lead the next generation, their families and the church to understand and live out God’s plan and purpose for their lives.
Dr. Ann Black is responsible for the oversight of the Sunday ministry, Kids World, the weekday ministry of Unleashed Students as well as Ascent Education which includes Barefoot’s Ascent Preschool (birth-PreK), Ascent Christian Academy (K-12) and the Ascent Bible and Leadership College.
She also has the privilege of overseeing the staff who lead out the ministries of Front End, Facilities, Foundational Development and Administration.
COLE NESMITH, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PASTOR
Cole NeSmith serves on staff at Barefoot Church as the Community Engagement Pastor. He oversees church outreach projects that involve our local community and global initiatives.
Cole attended Hillsong International Leadership College located in Sydney, Australia. He graduated from college with an Advanced Diploma of Ministry in 2017. Cole now uses his education and experience to serve the local church.
He is responsible for ensuring that we are well connected and in touch with our community. Cole finds ways that the church can be deeply involved with helping those in need, and finds creative ways to engage those who are not yet a part of our church. In addition to this role, Cole oversees various large church events held throughout the year acting as the Event/Project Manager when needed.
PAULA NEWCOMER, CARE PASTOR, BAREFOOT CHURCH
Paula Newcomer has been on staff since September 2013. Being retired from a career, she decided to spend her time sharing Christ’s love and helping others to know Christ by being a part of God’s local church. After visiting several churches, she knew that Barefoot Church was her calling and would help her complete her mission for Christ. She presently has responsibility for the church’s care, prayer, foreign missions and helping new believers realize their potential in Christ. She is excited about the church’s plan for moving to its new location and the possibilities to expand her present ministries to the local community and internationally.
Prior to retirement, Paula worked for the Social Security Administration for 41 years beginning shortly after graduation from RIder University, Lawrenceville, NJ with degrees in French, Russian and International Affairs. She continued her studies later at Hood College, Frederick, MD in Child Development. Once she decided to join the management ranks at Social Security she studied leadership and management courses at Penn State University in York, PA. In 1998 she was accepted into the federal government’s Senior Executive Service training program for two years where she had assignments in both regional and headquarters offices. The training also required a 6 month other federal agency assignment which she completed with the Dept of Agriculture in Washington, DC. She led and organized the project to complete the overhaul of the Food Stamp Program’s reporting requirements, responsibilities and performance rewards for the states. As part of the program she also completed a Journalism course at the University of South Carolina’s Journalism School on how best to deal with the media as a government official. Paula had numerous positions with the agency and moved many times to accommodate her new position. She last served as Deputy Regional Commissioner for the Philadelphia region which included all the Social Security offices in the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC; the Program Service Center and the regional headquarters in Philadelphia-over 6000 employees with the goal of insuring every individual in our geographic area received the benefits for which they were due and helping them with many changes and updates to their records.
Paula shares Barefoot Church’s heart for people and reaching them where they are.
BRIANNA GEORGE, KIDS PASTOR, BAREFOOT CHURCH
Brianna has been attending Barefoot Church for 10 years. She interned in Family Ministry for 2 years and has been on full-time staff for 5 years. In 2017, Brianna graduated from Ascent Bible and Leadership College (ABLC) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and Leadership.
Brianna has a heart and passion for seeing the next generation become incredible leaders and followers of Jesus.
ANTHONY BROWNING, STUDENT PASTOR, BAREFOOT CHURCH
Originally from Logan, WV, Anthony Browning has a degree in Business and Technology from Mountain State University, currently named WVUIT in Beckley, WV. He grew up attending First Baptist Church of McConnell and was ordained through the Church of God in 2006.
He is married to Tiffany Browning and is raising two boys, Noah at age 6 and Luke at age 9.
He has been a bi-vocational student pastor for a little over a year at Barefoot Church. In this short amount of time we have seen students grow spiritually and in numbers. He also is a Broker in Charge and owner of
House Finder Realty and enjoys helping people find their future home. He also trains over 45 agents on a consistent basis.
He has served as a student pastor at Irmo Church of God in Irmo, SC, Greater Life Ministries in Clover, SC and Mt Gallant Church of God in Rock Hill, SC. In all of these ministries we saw growth physically and spiritually.
EDDIE CARRIZALES, WORSHIP & CREATIVE PASTOR
Eddie Carrizales is the Worship and Creative Pastor for Barefoot Church. He has served on staff for the past two years leading the worship team as well as the media and creative department – playing an integral role
in facilitating and planning the weekend experience. Eddie has a passion for seeing people connect with God through music and media.
Prior to his position at Barefoot Church, Eddie was a Campus Pastor for Church Unlimited in Corpus Christi, TX. Leading an extension campus of approximately 500 people.
Eddie Carrizales graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and taught middle school and high school band for 8 years before being called into ministry.