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Ascent Church Dawson welcomes worshippers at new venue
Ascent Church Dawson 1.png
Pastor Mark Pfaller greets people in front of Ascent Church Dawson’s new venue at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, located at 16 Bethel Drive in Dawsonville. Photo submitted to DCN.

Area residents and visitors now have a new option for spiritual worship along the Ga. 400 corridor. 

Ascent Church Dawson is hosting its grand opening starting at 10:30 a.m. inside its new venue, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, located at 16 Bethel Drive in Dawsonville.  

The church has been meeting at the hotel since just after the new year. 

Ascent is a plant of The Vine Community Church in Cumming and belongs to the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) denomination. 

Pastor Mark Pfaller leads Ascent Church Dawson. He previously served as a pastor at The Vine and in a business development role at Cumming-based company Panduit. 

Ascent started meeting in April 2021 and hosted services at Silver City Elementary in Forsyth County. However, Pfaller and his team have long had the desire to be located in Dawsonville. 

Pfaller explained he’s “always kind of had a heart for the area,” from the North Forsyth area up to Dawsonville and then up past it along Ga. 400. 

“I wanted to let people know that we’re happy to be a part of it,” he said of the area. “We feel like it (the church) will be a better part of the community as well as the North Forsyth area too since it is such a well-traveled area.” 

He elaborated that the recent population growth in Dawson County and the North Forsyth areas convinced him and others at The Vine that another church was necessary.

“When you're new to a community, you want to find a way to connect, a place you feel welcome and belong,” Pfaller said. “The heart [of it] with all the new people is to give them a place in the community that they can call their own…we want to be part of making the community a better place because we’re here.”

What to expect

Ascent’s services have a mix of scriptural teaching, contemporary music led by worship leader Andrew Johnson and communion. There is also an Ascent Kids class for children infants through fifth grade. 

In light of the pandemic, socially-distanced seating is being utilized, and masks and hand sanitizer are available. Communion is offered using individually-packaged elements, and offering tithes can be given online or at physical stations at the back of the worship service. 

“One of the things we had a heart for is the grace of God and how much we need the grace of God and the gospel,” Pfaller said.

It’s his intent to steer away from teachings of self-help and legalism and toward lessons that promote life and the fruitfulness of the gospel. 

People can go online to to listen to sermons or watch the “Plan Your Visit” videoon the Sermons page before attending the church in person. 

“Our hope in the website is that you can get a better feel and know what to expect and not be surprised,” Pfaller said. “We’d like for you to feel comfortable to join us.”

For the church’s second Grand Opening Sunday on March 6, they will partner with special guest Amy Palmer, outreach coordinator for The Place of Dawson County. There will also be a time of prayer for the Dawson-area community. 

“We want to be about serving the community,” Pfaller said. “In Jeremiah 29, it says to ‘seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I’ve sent you.’ We want to see the community prosper because of our involvement in helping make it a better place…not only teaching what God wants but also by making an effort to be in the community and serve.”

Ascent Church Dawson members will have a chance to serve ministry partners later this month. Just like in Forsyth County, Pfaller and the church hope to complete various service projects for local schools and host fun events for the community. 

“We don’t want to be hidden away. We just want to bless your city,” he added. 

For the third Grand Opening Sunday on March 13, the church will host an Explore Breakfast starting at 9:15 a.m. 

People who have been visiting Ascent or who have just started coming can attend the gathering to learn more about the church’s vision, how to get connected within the congregation and to let church leaders get to know them. 

The church has multiple small group options. There are men’s and women’s study groups that meet throughout the week as well as coed and mixed-age ones to fellowship and discuss topics of faith. 

Ascent is also growing its fellowship options for young adults in the 20s age range and its partnership with Made to Flourish, a nationwide ministry that aims to show people how their faith can impact their job and vocation. 

Pfaller described the local response to Ascent Church Dawson thus far as “so welcoming” between individual people, different ministry partners and the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, to which the church now belongs. 

“We want to replicate that [feeling],” Pfaller added. “We want people to feel welcome just like we’ve been welcomed.”