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our history

In a living room in 1983, three young couples new to Florence started a neighborhood Bible Study. They had noticed many young families living in their neighborhoods who did not go to church, and so these three families committed to bring a life-giving, hope-filled gospel from the church to the neighborhood. They kicked off a home Bible study and invited their neighbors.

It started simply as a local outreach - but quickly became more. Not only did neighbors come to faith in Christ, but the study began drawing other families from all over town who found the solid teaching and authentic fellowship refreshing. Three compelling distinctives shaped their early growth - clear Bible-teaching, a family-friendly environment, and a commitment to reaching out. With the group quickly outgrowing a home, they prayed and considered forming the study into a new church.

But what kind, which denomination? The families in the room were divided across a wide range of backgrounds including Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren and Not Much. What united them was the Scripture, and particularly the simple truths of love for God and neighbor (the Great Commandment), and mission both local and global (the Great Commission). This made the decision simple: form an independent church rooted in Scripture, growing in love, and reaching out in mission.

This gathering launched in the spring of 1984 as Heritage Church – meeting at the local YMCA. The first official worship service was held in October of 1984 with twelve people gathered. Professor Don Hamilton from CIU delivered the first message from Hebrews 10 on why the church gathers - to worship God and to encourage others. Loving God and people was the simple yet profound truth that gripped this young group. Steadily the church grew, and they began to expand in the Y spilling over from meeting rooms to weight rooms and exercise rooms, and using the pool for baptisms. They continued to focus on the Scripture and the simple strategy of discipleship, fellowship, and outreach.

In January of 1985, the elders at Heritage Church called veteran church planter and pastor Bob Norris to be the young church’s first full-time pastor. The purchased the current ten-acre site and renamed the fellowship the Church at Sandhurst. In the spring of 1991 the church moved on site, having built the fellowship hall and the first row of classrooms. Out of a vision for world mission, they launched several of their own families in to mission in South America, Europe and Africa.

They continued in Scripture, discipleship and mission - and they continued to grow. In the summer of 1999, the second wing was opened (now the nursery hall). In Nov 2001, a second parking lot was opened, and in 2002 the current sanctuary opened. Eventually missionaries were sent or supported on all continents, with an impact on over 75 countries. On campus church family life thrived - teaching Scripture, hosting studies, prayer meetings, Bible Alive, Awana, weddings, receptions, concerts, banquets, conferences and holidays. After nearly thirty years of service, pastor Bob retired in May 2013, and Sandhurst called Adam Richardson as the second pastor, beginning in February 2015.

They continued in Scripture, discipleship and mission - and they continued to grow. The foreign mission grew in both funding and reach. Locally Sandhurst partnered with several outreaches and programs, keeping the doors open and the building full not only on Sundays but also during the week. There are still families in our neighborhoods who don’t go to church, so we are still committed to bring a life-giving, hope-filled gospel from the church to the neighborhood. So we have filled Florence with home groups during the year and Power Up Clubs in the summer. Forty years and running - the early distinctives remain - clear Bible-teaching, in a family-friendly environment, with a commitment to reaching out. Thanks be to God!


our logo

"Our logo - The Sandhurst logo is a tree. On every tree, no two leaves are the same! And so at Sandhurst we are all unique and yet unified by God into one family.  A tree is living and growing - just as we are alive in Christ and growing in love for God and people. And we all draw our nourishment from the trunk and the roots - from God our source. As we grow in faith, we look more like him - see the “S”?"  

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