By Pastor Tim, April 2012
In the 19th century, America looked like it had a bright future. There was widespread belief that the country was destined to expand across the entire continent. This widely held belief was eventually captured in the slogan “Manifest Destiny”. The expansion of America was obvious (thus, “Manifest”) and inescapable (thus, “Destiny). The Polk administration tapped into this sentiment to build support for the looming war with Mexico. And as they say, “The rest is history.”
Fourteen years ago Faith Community Church was a very young church with an uncertain future. Previously, the church had met in homes, hotel conference rooms, and schools. We eventually secured a more permanent presence by renting some retail space that was situated next to a bar and behind a liquor store. The location wasn’t exactly conducive for church growth, but it worked and the Lord blessed us. After almost three years we were notified that the building had been sold and we had 30 days to leave. Thinking back on it, those were some very tense times. We had no idea where we were going to go. Amazingly, the Lord opened the door for us to meet in the chapel at Park University in Parkville, MO. This cathedral-like chapel, which was both beautiful and spacious, was in stark contrast to the retail space. More importantly, the rent was 75% less than what we had been paying.
When I think back on those days, they were both precious and awkward. We had about 60 people sitting in an auditorium that could seat 500, so there was plenty of room—too much room, in fact. The chapel was also situated right next to the railroad that runs through the city of Parkville. If you listen to tapes from back then, you will probably hear the long, annoying train whistle that regularly interrupted our Sunday services. Moreover, it still wasn’t our building. We were guests in someone else’s building.
Even back then, however, with just a few people and an uncertain future, there was an expectation and anticipation that God was going to do something unique with Faith Community Church. Next to the chapel, there was a park where I would often walk and pray. Fourteen years later, I can remember exactly what I prayed as I walked in that park. “Lord,” I prayed, “let Faith Community Church impact the face of Christianity for my generation.” It was a grandiose prayer, and I didn’t just pray it once.
God has been so faithful to this church over the years. When we procured our current building, we were overjoyed! It wasn’t much too look at and it needed a lot of work, but it was our own! At this location the Lord has truly sustained and prospered us. When we first moved into this building I remember thinking, “There is no way we will use all this space…” Well, all that space we thought we had back then is gone. Amazingly, there is still an expectation and anticipation that God has something special in store for us.
As the elders have been grappling with the future, we have noticed that our ministries and outreach go way beyond just that of a local church. Many of our key ministries reach out to the larger Body of Christ. For example, 70% of the students at Faith Christian Academy attend other churches. Reigning Grace Counseling Center counsels many Christians from other churches, and RGCC is poised to become a regional, perhaps national, if not international hub to train, counsel, and disciple believers in the biblical counseling model. The Anchor House ministers to men from all different walks of life. And, through The North Africa Venture, Faith Community Church is responsible for the radio broadcast that goes across all of North Africa, reaching many Muslims for Christ.
All of these exciting ministries were not a possibility 14 years ago. We simply did not have the capacity or resources to accomplish all these things. The only thing we could do back then was dream and be faithful. All these ministries are possible because FCC has grown. The elders realize that we are at a critical stage in our ministry. There is still an expectation and anticipation that God is doing something unique with Faith Community Church.