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Meet Andy Casper, Pastor of South County Church

"We just love being a part of this community. I know we are right where God wants us to be," said Casper to Patch.

Andy Casper, lead pastor at the South County Church, helps out the Huntington Community during its 2011 flood.
Andy Casper, lead pastor at the South County Church, helps out the Huntington Community during its 2011 flood.
If you've been to a handful of community events in Lorton, then you've probably seen Andy Casper, pastor of the South County Church, donating thousands of his hours to the betterment of Lorton.

The number of parishioners has grown from 60 to 170 since the church was founded in 2008, and the most popular service is, naturally, the pancake breakfast, which is held the first Sunday of the month. 

"We just love being a part of this community. I know we are right where God wants us to be," said Casper, who delivers sermons in jeans and a polo shirt. "I just want to be a part of making this community better."

South County Church, a pentecostal Church of Assembly of God ministry, is visible at most Lorton events, and recently donated 500 hotdogs to Lorton's National Night Out celebration at Lorton Park.  

About Andy Casper


Casper, 41, was raised in Renton, Wash. to a UPS driver father and piano teacher mother. He started serving at a young age (his parents were church elders) by by operating the overhead projector in church during hymns. But at 17 he found himself without purpose, and followed a friend into the U.S. Army with the goal of becoming a military policeman. 

"I was struggling, not really hanging out with a bad crowd, just an unfocused crowd. The Army was a good place for me," he said. 

Casper served for five years with the military police and was stationed in Saudi Arabia, Fort Meade, Md., Korea and Fort Belvoir. It was during his stint at Belvoir that he began attending the Word of Life Assembly of God church in Springfield and met his wife, Cindy. 

"The day I met her I knew she was the girl I was going to marry," said Casper. "I asked her to marry me two weeks later." 

Casper's future was uncertain after his discharge from the Army. He was in the process of applying to the Fairfax County Police Department when he saw an alter call at Word of Life for a youth pastor. Leading up to that point, Word of Life parishioners continually told Casper that he should consider being a youth pastor. 

"I had a conversation with God and I determined that this is what I felt God was leading me to do," he said.   

So, the young couple packed up and moved to Washington State, where they lived for over three years. Casper graduated from Northwest University with a BA in Church Ministries with an emphasis in youth, and the couple returned to Northern Virginia in 2000.

Casper served as the youth pastor at Word of Life for five years - through the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the D.C. Sniper shootings. But all good things must end, and in 2006, it was time to move on and start his own church. 

"I was driving home and coming off the Lorton exit off I-95 and I had another conversation with God," said Casper. "I said: 'I am not your guy. You know me, my faults and everything I struggle with. But the Lord just put that into my heart." 

Casper, at that point the father of two children (the couple now have three kids), then became a church planting intern and took over the operations at Christ Chapel Mountaintop in Manassas. 

"All the faith I could muster was when I prayed, 'Oh, God, can we please keep our house?'" he said. "My income went from $60,000 a year to $30,000, but God took care of us. We never had a time when we couldn't pay our bills."
South County Cares Church was officially launched at Holly Elementary School on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. 

What is an Assembly of God Church? 

South County Church is a pentecostal church, and takes the Bible literally.  

"We believe God has given us his word, given us his guidance and principals. But being an imperfect people sometimes we interpret things wrong. We do our best," said Casper. "We believe that miracles can and still do happen today. Someone in our congregation recently had a mild heart attack and there was a blockage and they were going to do an operation. He went back to the hospital and the blockage was absolutely gone. The doctor was flabbergasted… Prayer did it."

South County High School, while adequate, is not ideal for church services. 

"We do believe there is a permanent spot for us," said Casper. "I'm praying God will direct us there."

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