For those wondering what is being built behind Whataburger in Athens, wait no longer. Thrive Community Church is constructing its own house of worship, and community green-space.

Pastor Nathan Herrington has set a goal for construction to be completed by Summer of 2020.

Starting off with only 14 people in 2017, it now has around 150 to 180 attendees. The group is currently holding two services at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Sundays at Athens Christian Preparatory Academy. Home-based Bible study groups are also offered featuring a pot luck, teaching and fellowship most weeknights.

“Everything we're doing is community driven,” he said.

What is Thrive Church bringing to the table in Athens? How are they serving both the spiritual and other needs of the community? These seem to be the driving force behind Nathan's vision.

The building itself has large garage-style doors which will open up onto the lawn allowing for events, movie nights and fellowship. Those who do not attend the church will also be able to use the space for recreation such as grilling, outdoor activities and a safe place to play for children.

“People are welcome, they don't have to come to church here,” he said.

Grisselle Herrington said she feels like the location “is in the heart of Athens” and wants the space to have the same feeling as the Magnolia Silos in Waco.

“There is so much community engagement there,  people are just hanging out and having fun,” she said.

It is obvious when speaking to the couple, that they have a heart for bringing both the community and area churches together. One of the ways they have started implementing this is through a service held on the fourth Sunday of each month called “Love thy neighbor.” Several churches come together and rotate locations, preaching and worship allowing a gathering and variety to the routine.

 According to statistics there are around 60,000 people in Henderson County who do not attend church. One of the common statements Herrington hears is from those who thought they would never attend church again, loving Thrive.

The next hurdle the church faces is electricity. Oncor is currently trying to gain right of way approval for the last 15 feet of neighboring property owned by the Athens Economic Development Committee. The issue will be discussed during its January meeting.

If you are interested in learning more about Thrive C.C. visit them on the web at https://www.livewithpurpose.church or on Facebook at Thrive Community Church Athens.

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