"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, 'The Lord Reigns!'"

Imagine if you will, churches cooperating with their communities, their zip codes, influencing them in ways that make life better for everyone here and now. Would that community rejoice, and say "The Lord Reigns!" regardless of their own faith tradition?

Amy Sherman provides training and consulting to churches and nonprofits as a Senior Fellow at the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis. She is a strong Christian leader, has authored six books, and was named one of the 50 most influential evangelical women in America in Christianity Today (2012). As a leader, she writes: "Christians and churches can bring unique gifts to the neighborhood and communities. Do you know of anyone else who ultimately lives to give themselves away?" For instance, she believes that God has placed faith driven entrepreneurs in the marketplace to be salt and light through our actions. Faith driven entrepreneurs look to love on their employees and the broader communities around their business in a way that is exemplary and distinctive. It is certainly a great start. What about the church itself? Where should we start?

What really is a community church? What unique gifts makes it distinctive?

  • The community church should not just be "in" the community, where it takes up space in the neighborhood, and it does not desire to influence, assist, or give back to the community. This type of church is of little value.
  • The community church should not just be "to" the community, where it desires to bless and make contributions to the community but on its own terms, making itself feel better, and assuming it knows what's best for the community.
  • The community church should ultimately be "with" the community, where it serves and develops a community for reasons and methods that bring transformation to the community and church alike. This should always be a higher goal than our church(s) being recognized. When Christ is being glorified, even those far from Christ should receive a benefit.
God was alive & active in our ZIP Code(s) long before our churches set up shop, and will continue to be there long after the doors close for the final time.

What's God already doing in our community? Let's join with Him in it!

- Pastor Milo
@milowilson 
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In 1903, a group of believers known as Randall Church purchased a lot at the corner of Main Street and Spring Street in the Village of Williamsville. Here they constructed a stone building drawn in part from the Glen Park quarry for the completion cost of $23,000. This was the first building in Williamsville to be lighted with gas lamps having their own manufacturing plant. The church moved to this new location from a building on Cayuga Road that is still standing today. The text "Ye Old Church House" can be seen while driving by, enscripted above the front door of this private residence.

Some of our people will recall in 1960 when the youngest and oldest members of the congregation broke ground for a new facility our current location 6301 Main Street Williamsville. David Rowe was the youngest at 3 yrs old, and Clarence Brown was the oldest at 80. Because of growing attendance, even while holding two Sunday morning services, the existing church in the village had grown very cramped, and the church moved to it's new larger home in July of 1961 at a price tag of $450,000. This was only the educational wing however, and in April of 1970 the full sanctuary was dedicated and completed for an additional $500,000. Friends, this was no small feat! God had provided a way!

Interestingly enough, in that same era of local history, the Clarence Church of Christ vacated a building they also had outgrew in the Clarence Hollow. In 1969 they moved to their current location on Old Goodrich Road, in Clarence. Since then, the previous building at 10678 Main Street, Clarence housed a sewing center for decades, before becoming an antique store in 1995. Currently however, it is in disrepair and has been vacant for 7 years. Bottom line. This old church building is for sale now, more than 50 years since it was last a house of worship. We believe Clarence Hollow is a key gathering place for many living in the Clarence zip code, and it may be time to be a place where the Gospel rings out once again.

We are a church that plants churches. In 2013, we planted Renewal Church with First Baptist North Tonawanda, and God blessed with a $1.6 million dollar facility. Isn't God good! Six years later, we believe God may be asking us to consider re-planting in Clarence in partnership with a small congregation at Harris Hill Baptist. Perhaps by helping them re-start new here. We are praying for wisdom. We are praying about a purchase. Won't you be in prayer with us? 

Pastor Milo 
@milowilson 
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