About Donnie

Donnie Griggs was born and raised in a small town called Morehead City, in coastal North Carolina, where he planted One Harbor Church.


Donnie (left) and  his brother

Growing up in a small town in Eastern North Carolina, if you wanted to have fun, you had fun outside in the woods or in the ocean. Because of this, Donnie still loves spearfishing, surfing, going out on the boat, and hunting.




It was into this context that Donnie and his wife Jill planted One Harbor Church in a living room with a few friends in February, 2009.


On Easter Sunday 2009, One Harbor moved into an old gas station on Atlantic Beach, which has a population of 1,504 people.


They met in the gas station through the summer and grew so much that they had to relocate to a restaurant down the street that was closed on Sundays.


Eventually, growth forced One Harbor to move off of the beach in the fall of 2010 into an old theatre building in downtown Morehead City, which is population of 9,203 people. image8While they were located at this site, One Harbor planted it’s first multisite in 2012 in a neighboring town called Beaufort, which has the population of 4,184 people.


One Harbor Morehead and One Harbor Beaufort continued to grow until both had two morning services. It became evident that the Morehead City site needed a new facility that could be used as a regional hub for continued church planting. One Harbor Morehead moved into this new facility on Christmas Eve 2015.


Donnie, Jill, and their two boys, Jed & Wyatt



It became apparent that there was a growing group of people from Swansboro (population: 2,663) and the surrounding towns. In light of that, One Harbor Swansboro started in May 2016, with 254 people on their first Sunday. 

SBO Launch-2

As you can see from One Harbor’s story, Donnie’s passion is to see churches in small towns and rural areas equipped and empowered to radically engage culture and make disciples. Because of this passion, in addition to leading One Harbor Church, Donnie also travels frequently in the United States and internationally to help strengthen and encourage other church leaders and planters.

Additionally, One Harbor wants to continue planting churches and strengthening existing churches up and down the coast of Eastern North Carolina. If you are in our neck of the woods or seeking to plant a church in Eastern North Carolina and are interested in connecting, please email us at smalltownjesus@gmail.com.

Small Town Jesus is more than a book, it’s a call to take the gospel everywhere. The heart of the Small Town Jesus website is to help those seeking to do church planting and church revitalization in small towns by giving opportunities for planters and existing pastors to rally together and learn from each other so we can better advance the gospel in small towns. Click the button below to get more information.