Establishing a ‘beachhead’ on the Grand Strand
As the year moves into warmer days, Myrtle Beach becomes a top vacation destination for fun, sun and pleasures of all kinds – but at the same time, two Southern Wesleyan University graduates are helping visitors and area residents find the true joy only available through God’s son.
Scott and Kimberly Payseur, 1992 Southern Wesleyan graduates, are reaching out to teenagers through Ground Zero, a Myrtle Beach-based organization they founded. Along with the staff of Ground Zero they serve approximately 24,500 teenagers in the Myrtle Beach area.
Ground Zero renovated a 1958 movie theatre located next to the old Pavilion site and had their grand opening Saturday, October 18, 2014. The Ground Zero Venue houses the Ground Zero offices, a full service coffee shop, a 50's style cafe, a merchandise store, gaming areas, a backstage green room to provide comfort to the speakers and bands that minister and a main room with a state-of-the-art sound, light and video system.
“This school year has been kind of a trial year, just trying different things, different types of bands, different speakers, different schedules,” Scott said. “We’ve had over 3,000 teenagers attend events since we opened and there have been over 400 decisions for Christ.”
The Payseurs and Ground Zero’s staff are constantly amazed at how God has been working to bring about life-changing opportunities and to open new avenues of ministry. This past spring, the Dragon Boat Festival, their biggest annual fundraiser, exceeded their expectations, despite rainy weather. Ground Zero is also partnering with Hampton Suites Oceanfront and Downtown Ministries to present Sunday Celebrations on the Boardwalk, a series of free concerts, each featuring a national Christian band. Performers will include: June 21, Finding Favour and City Harmonic; June 28, Building 429 and KJ-52; July 5, 10th Ave. North and Among the Thirsty; July 12, Audio Adrenaline and Ray Stevenson; July 19, American Idol alumnus Colton Dixon and Coley; and July 26, Hawk Nelson and The Rhett Walker Band.
Ground Zero had the privilege of partnering with Premier Festivals and the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce to launch Beach Blast. Ground Zero has also brought a number of top Christian bands and speakers including Luis and Andrew Palau to Myrtle Beach.
“One summer a big guy about 50 years old walked up off the beach in tears,” Scott recalled. “We talked with him and prayed with him. He said he had been an atheist all his life but there was something about that music drew him up from the beach. It was a cool opportunity, to pray with him that night. Summer brings whole new set of ministry opportunities.”
Military strategists would talk of establishing a beachhead – a landing of soldiers on the beach of an enemy’s shore. Scott admits that doing ministry at the beach is a battle, and challenges are often daunting.
“Satan has hold on a lot of things here, but there are churches and other ministries starting to stand up. On Highway 501 as you come into Myrtle Beach, before you cross the Intracoastal Waterway, there’s probably about a six to seven mile strip of adult clubs. There’s a county official – he went in and they staked out those places," Scott said. "They couldn’t close them down, but they were able to close eight of them down because of illegal activity.”
In addition to Ground Zero, new churches are establishing at Myrtle Beach’s U.S. Highway 501 gateway, including a new campus opened by NewSpring.
Ground Zero grew out of a passion Scott first developed as a teenager attending a Wesleyan youth convention in Knoxville. Ground Zero's mission is to transform teenagers' lives.
For details about Ground Zero, visit their website at mygroundzero.com.
Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to swu.edu.