Growing Faith Christian Church Brick NJ
Meet Pastor Marc Sweet Growing Faith Church Ocean County NJ
B.A.degree – Pastoral Theology – Hyles-Anderson College, Crown Point, IN Master’s Degree in Education – Hyles-Anderson College, Crown Point, IN
My name is Marc Sweet. I live in the Herbertsville area of Brick, NJ with my family. I have an interesting story to share with you about something that happened to me when I was 14 years of age. If you’re interested, read on!
My parents had a troubled marriage. I was put in a boarding school from at the age of 4 for a year. My parents were divorced when I was 6 years old, and at one point, I was put in a foster home for a year when I was 8 or 9. Then, my mother married a man named Sid (now deceased), and we all moved in together.
I was 10, and for the next 5 years, my life became, for the most part, a living hell. He would beat me for the slightest infraction, such as not answering “right”, or not coming to him “quickly enough” when called. The extreme pain and agony of a leather belt slamming into my back, arms, and legs, with brutal force, is forever seared into my memory. My screams traumatized my sisters, and left deep emotional scars.
My most painful memory is when he held kangaroo court (his words) in the living room, with my mother, three sisters, younger brother, and two step sisters. I remember standing there next to him while he tried to make a case to everyone to vote to kick me out of the family. I can still see the bewildered looks on their faces…
My eyes were opened to spiritual realities (God, Christ, sin, Heaven, Hell) on June 16th, 1968, at the age of 14. I trusted Christ as my Lord and Savior that day.
In perhaps the greatest irony of my life, my cruel stepfather, who was a religious man, had carefully explained the Gospel to me that night, as he had done in times past. Only this time, as he spoke, I came under intense conviction of my sinfulness. It was while he was talking to me that I realized something; what he was reading from the Bible about Jesus was true! I didn’t know it at the time, but the Holy Spirit was convincing me that Jesus was real and had nothing to do with the sinfulness of the messenger. Though I was sensing Christ was real, divine, and there, I feared greatly that He would not save me because of my sinfulness.
Nevertheless, I admitted my sins to God, acknowledged that Jeus was the Savior who shed His blood for my sins, yielded to His authority, and timidly asked Him, “Jesus…. will You save me?” I immediately sensed being fully, powerfully, and freely FORGIVEN and it felt like my entire soul was being held in a strong, loving embrace by Jesus. The most memorable sensation was a deep inner awareness that I was being LOVED. It was the first time I had experienced love. From that point on, up to this day, that initial experience has defined my life.
After high school I went to Bible college, earning a Bachelor’s in Pastoral Theology and a Master’s in Education.
Out of college, I served as an associate pastor for nine months at Pine Forest Estates Baptist Church in Cantonment, FL. I then went to Maryland and helped to further establish a one year old church meeting in a school in Glen Burnie, for about three years.
In 1984, I joined a college buddy to start a church on Staten Island. Together we hit 30,000 doors in the year I was there. It’s still going today.
I served for a while at Calvary Baptist Church in Turner, Maine, then in late 1986, I started a church which later became Growing Faith Christian Church (Brick, NJ). We are located near Lakewood Township, Toms River and Brick Township. I’ve been here ever since. In 2011 we joined Community Bible Fellowship Church, a Bible church.
My areas of passion and spiritual giftedness, to whatever degree God has given them to me, lie in the areas of explaining Scripture, evangelizing, and encouraging / empowering believers to serve.
As far as my family goes, I was out visiting one day, and encountered a lovely young lady named Janet. She trusted Christ, and I baptized her, and she kept coming to church. Over a two year period, we grew to love each other. We’ve been married for over twenty-five years. We have a son and a daughter.
I’ve taken a few hard hits over the years, and have been “down for the count” more than once. It is a fact that I am still in ministry only because of the overwhelming grace of God, who raises the dead back to life. I am still passionate and committed to directly engaging strangers and simply proclaiming the Gospel to them. My goal in life is simple – to talk to as many people as I can get myself to talk to before I die. …or am raptured, preferably…
I’m still knocking on doors, still systematically going down phone prefixes and calling strangers on the phone…it’s my feeble, inadequate, and futile attempt to pay Jesus back for what He did for me that night.
I continue to love to explain the Word, with a commitment to putting significant time and effort in preparation.
When I look back on my life, the thing that means the most to me are the few individuals to whom God led me, and allowed me to share the Gospel with, who went on to have their lives radically transformed by Christ, and are still going strong in their relationship with Him and serving Him.
As I age, I am increasingly and somewhat painfully aware of how vulnerable I am, how fragile I am in my own strength. Though I’m physically healthy at present, I’m kind of crippled and broken in certain ways, from some of the life experiences I’ve had. I pray a lot, not because I’m that spiritual, but because I’m unable to function without God helping me every day. I’m also more and more aware that I’m still immature in some ways, have grown in some ways (I hope), and still need to change in many ways. I am so much looking forward to seeing Jesus for the first time one fine day. I want more than anything to hear Him say to me, “Marc, well done, you good and faithful servant.”
We hope you will visit our Christian Church (Ocean County NJ) and grow with us as we grow our church.