Bell Shoals Plant Becomes RiverStone Church
By Jessica Leigh Jone
After several transitions and prayers, a second branch church of Bell Shoals Baptist Church has launched as a standalone. In June the church’s East Bay campus officially became RiverStone Church.Originally known as West Bloomingdale campus, this Bell Shoals branch first met in 2005 near Bloomingdale Ave. and U.S. Hwy. 301. Within a year and a half, the church inherited a building in Gibsonton from Immanuel Baptist Church and became known as the East Bay campus.The church eventually progressed from running video sermons from the main Bell Shoals campus, to featuring live messages at the East Bay campus.Like a child growing up, it developed its own unique personality, with individual congregation and ministries under the leadership of Senior Pastor Chris DeArman, and two years later, launched as a standalone, with the blessing of the main campus of Bell Shoals.“We are a proud daughter church plant of Bell Shoals,” said DeArman, “and we’re grateful to have such a wonderful relationship with Bell Shoals as our mother church.”DeArman came to Brandon in 2007 from Birmingham, AL, and became senior pastor of the new Bell Shoals church plant soon after.Although DeArman and family quickly adjusted to their new Florida lifestyle, DeArman maintains his hometown allegiance, occasionally incorporating Roll Tide pride into sermons during football season.Generally lighthearted in nature, DeArman’s sermons always point to the church’s primary goals for its congregation: glorifying Christ by making disciples locally, regionally and globally by connecting to God in worship; growing in Christ with others in “small group” community; and serving His church and community wholeheartedly.“These goals serve as the filter for everything we do, helping us stay focused on what really matters,” he said.RiverStone celebrated its official start in early June. Since many are away during the summer, plans are underway to have a community grand opening and celebration in August.Weekly services at RiverStone Church are held Sundays at 10:30 a.m., following a 9:15 a.m. hour of small groups. There are small groups that meet during the week as well.You can reach the church office, located at 12011 East Bay Rd. in Gibsonton, at 677-0125 or online at riverstonechurch.org.Pastor DeArman, along with his wife Sonya and daughters Emma and Charleigh, invite one and all to join the love and community of RiverStone Church.