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Sharing a message of God's power, South Carolina church grows

Each day, millions of people struggle – some with fear, some with addiction, others with finances. Specific circumstances differ, but the feeling of desperation is universal. Many find themselves hopeless, believing their situation is too hard for anyone to repair.

At the beginning of the year, Faith Assembly, a church of 2,000 in Summerville, South Carolina, decided to share a message of hope with its community on a larger scale than it had ever done before.

To do so, the church decided to use the "Nothing's Too Hard for God" media campaign developed by the Assemblies of God. NTHFG centers on the eight true stories of people who, with God's help, have overcome struggles with illness, forgiveness, relationships, fear, finances, loss, loneliness and addiction.

With the help of NTHFG television commercials, billboards, mailings and other communication tools, Faith Assembly invited the people of Summerville to the church for the eight-week sermon series.

"If you're touching felt needs, the people are going to come," says Faith Assembly Senior Pastor Larry Burgbacher. "They're hurting and [the NTHFG campaign] speaks to the needs they have."

Each Sunday, Burgbacher preached on a topic from the NTHFG series and showed a corresponding video testimony from people within the church. The messages of God accomplishing the impossible were reinforced later in the week during small group gatherings.

Approximately 600 people, including many non-Christians, attended one of the 50 small groups during the course of the eight-week session. The NTHFG small group DVD, featuring the compelling testimonies, opened the door for discussion on topics that nearly everyone could relate to.

"People found it to be relevant to challenges they face today. It hit people where they are living," says Craig Butler, discipleship pastor at Faith Assembly. "The simplicity of each topic had a profound effect on individual lives and the church body as a whole."

The church has offered small groups for around 15 years, but participants agreed that NTHFG was the best series they've used. Butler found the small group DVD to be very professional and teacher-friendly.

"Nothing's Too Hard for God" seems to have given Faith Assembly a push forward, numerically and spiritually. During the eight-week campaign, close to 150 new people were added to the Faith Assembly church family and many gave their hearts to the Lord.

"There was a true sense of excitement and expectation that has become the norm through this series," Butler reports.

The message of the campaign has resonated so deeply within the church, that Faith Assembly's theme for the remainder of 2008 is "Nothing's Too Hard for God."

Assemblies of God General Superintendent George O. Wood recently sat down with Burgbacher and Pastor Mark Palenske (Greers Ferry First Assembly of God, Arkansas) for a conversation about their experiences using the Nothing's Too Hard for God campaign. In addition to Burgbacher's perspective from a larger church, Palenske describes how NTHFG changed lives and helped his small-town church grow from 75 to 125. The pastors' video discussion can be viewed on the new NTHFG AG Media interface or on the General Superintendent's page.