Over 11,000 people attended the 25th anniversary of ministry for 12Stone Church on May 17 in Lawrenceville, Ga.

The celebration took place at Gwinnett Arena, where attendees laughed, worshiped, reflected on God’s goodness, and set their minds and hearts for the future. A high-energy montage of memories and music kicked off the evening, followed by well-known Christian comedian, Tim Hawkins, who headlined the pre-show.

The evening continued with a series of life transformation stories that spanned two and a half decades of ministry and spanned counties and continents. One powerful moment of the evening included a video instructing those in attendance to “shine your light” in the darkness. Simultaneously, the year each person came to Christ at 12Stone was shown on the screen. As thousands of lights pierced the darkness in the arena, changed lives were celebrated.

12Stone’s mission to reach the lost, serve the least, and raise up leaders in the next generation continues to guide their strategy for having an impact on God’s kingdom.

Pastor Kevin Myers took the opportunity at this all-church gathering to challenge the church with three declarations: You are a mighty warrior. You are a Good Samaritan. You are a transformational leader.

“We are not at the finish line. We are at a starting line!” said Pastor Kevin. 12Stone currently has four campuses serving over 15,000 attendees each weekend. During the celebration Pastor Kevin cast the vision for each campus to plant a campus in the next five years.

In addition to planting, 12Stone is leaning into valuable partnerships to make an impact in local and global leadership. 12Stone will open the John C. Maxwell Leadership Center in January 2014, which is the umbrella for several leadership initiatives including a residency program to develop ministry leaders, conduct leadership coaching, and more. (John Maxwell is former pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif.) 

One of the most poignant moments in the evening came when John Maxwell spoke on transferring the dream God had given him for a leadership center anchored in a local church to Pastor Kevin Myers and 12Stone Church. With that dream he passed on a brick that had been salvaged from John Wesley’s Chapel in London that had been gifted to him (pictured). He had intended for that brick to be a cornerstone for the leadership center he had envisioned.

12Stone is also currently partnering with Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University and with The Wesleyan Church for training pastors and leaders through a Masters of Arts in Ministry Degree and the 12Stone Biblical Studies Program.

To honor and support some current partners, $120,000 in proceeds from the sale of tickets to the anniversary event were shared among John Maxwell for training international leaders through EQUIP (“a nonprofit organization specializing in development of effective international Christian leaders”); Wesleyan pastors, Phill Tague and Brandon Bruce, who have been participating in 12Stone’s leadership intensive program; and Steve Finn, previous 12Stone member who started the Chestnut Mountain Ranch in West Virginia for troubled youth.

General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon closed the evening with a power intercessory prayer around the prevailing metaphor for the evening: an empty chair.

“Knowing that every empty chair represents a soul in need of Christ is the truth and responsibility that continues to drive our focus and our passion,” said Pastor Kevin.

Craig Dunn from the Wesleyan Investment Foundation and Dan Berry, district superintendent of the South Coastal District, were also in attendance.