Our Story

Pastor Kevin Simmons fell in love with Stanly County as a child.

It was during that time that his parents, both from the Norwood area, would drag their family ‘home’ each weekend. Whether it was camping with his cousins, fishing in the ponds of rural Stanly County, or spending time with friends he made… he always felt a deep longing to be part of this community.

For two years of high school he was given the gift of attending South Stanly High School. In that time, he developed deep, long-lasting friendships that have survived decades.

Pastor Kevin also returned to Stanly County after graduating from college. He was given the opportunity to teach for Stanly County Schools and spent five years as a teacher and coach at both North Stanly High School and South Stanly Middle School.

It had always been a goal to enter full time ministry, so when God opened the door, Pastor Kevin and Amanda relocated their family to Columbia, SC where he was on staff at Friend Church as their Executive and Creative Pastor. He led worship, preached, and oversaw much of the ministry in the church.

While he had always know God had called him to start a new church one day, God prompted Pastor Kevin to pray for a specific city, instead of looking for a great opportunity. Beginning in early 2009 Pastor Kevin began to spend regular time in prayer simply asking God to give him a supernatural love for a city.

One morning in mid-2010, sitting at a traffic light, Pastor Kevin was thinking of the opportunity he had to share a message of hope and reconciliation with the people at his church in Columbia, SC. A thought breezed through his mind: “How incredible would it be to have the same opportunity in Albemarle?”

At that moment Jesus connected the dots… there had always been this deep, meaningful love for Stanly County. In that moment, God gave it a deeper purpose.

Beginning in late 2010 Pastor Kevin and a group of leaders in Stanly County began making plans for the start of Vortex. In late 2011 Pastor Kevin and Amanda moved back to start work on this vast project.

The story of Vortex is story is just at it’s beginning. There’s a lot more to write…

Here’s a short video of Pastor Kevin sharing his heart for Stanly County: