Over the years, I’ve learned that in order to appreciate the glory of anyone’s success, you must first read through the pages of their historical stories. Rather you’re talking about a Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey , Donald Trump, Joyce Meyer, Tiger Woods, or a S. Truett Cathy taking a good look at their background, struggles, and challenges helps you understand and better relate to them as humans, not as Superhumans because of their level of success. Any successful leader in any arena will also tell you that in order to reach the level of success they enjoy today they suffered rejections, a thousand “NOs”, bankruptcy, foreclosures, near death experiences, and repossessions, just to name a few of the things they had to endure; but instead of “giving up” they “got up” and stared all their obstacles in the face and made their dreams reality.
When I hear my Pastors, Pastor John & Constance Christian talk about the history of CWC, I’m truly inspired to keep pushing towards my personal dreams and reaching my God given destiny I realize if they made it, I too can make it so that keeps me going whenever I find myself in the valley. Stepping out on Faith, Christian Worship Center was birthed January 3rd 2000 with services beginning at the historic black library located at 212 Child Street, where many of Leesburg’s residents were educated and mentored.
The ministry began from very humble beginnings with a 5 member congregation, Elder John Christian his wife Constance and their children. The first members to join CWC were Deacon James & Janenetta Anderson, Minister Terrence Ible, Devlin Perkins-Lynch and Minister Lorrie Simmons. According to Minister Lorrie Simmons, “Pastor John kept the vision in front of the small congregation, constantly reminding us of the vision God had for CWC.” After a community windshield survey by Pastor Christian it was understood, the church would be built on the promise, it would not be about money or about what people wore to church. In 2002, after a visit from Evangelist Carolyn Poitier-Deloach, Pastor Constance’s mother, the instructions from the Lord was to start looking for a facility to call home for Christian Worship Center.
The church on Hwy 468 was finished in January 2004, the church membership doubled in size in less than two months. One of Pastor John’s most memorable moments was in the month of October 2004 when 32 people joined the church. At that time the church moved forward to purchase an additional 5 more acres for future church growth. Then in 2005 the church began its own version of Extreme Makeover, the sanctuary size was expanded from 100+ seats to 300 seats to accommodate the rapid growth of new members and families being added almost weekly, additional restrooms were installed, the former duplex was renovated into administration offices, and the house on the property was transformed into a daycare facility.
During this season, Pastor John was elected as City Commissioner and now serves as the Mayor of Leesburg. According to CWC member Tasha Hurst, “Having the Mayor of the city as your Pastor gives me both a sense of pride and conscientiousness of my community. Our Pastor leads by example, whenever he informs us of community issues or events, he’s always present as well; not because of his duties as the Mayor, but because he genuinely has a heart to serve others and his community. Following his lead, he encourages his members to take ownership and personal responsibility for our community, city, and most importantly the future of our children.”
The borders of CWC continue to expand throughout the Lake County area, CWC in partnership with Men of Distinction looks to expand its ministries to reach the unsaved, with the new acquisition of the former 15th Street Church of God. The Lord has blessed this ministry to provide jobs and economic development through the lives of our members and community partners. This facility will continue CWC’s vision of b r i n g i n g “Enthusiasm, Education, Excitement, Empowerment, and Excellence” to its individual and corporate members. There are plans to include a bookstore, opportunity store, counseling center, tax assistance and a launching pad for aspiring entrepreneurs. Pastor John says, “We look to bring God’s Kingdom glory by the development of his people through spiritual and economic empowerment.”
Also located on the property will be the official “Constance Poitier-Christian Women’s Ministry House.” This former 3 bedroom 2 bath house will be transformed into a center of refuge and restoration for hurting women. The focus will be to rebuild and restore one of God’s precious creation. This empowerment center will focus on issues that impact today’s’ woman, breast cancer, low self esteem, domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug abuse and martial counseling to name a few.
The men’s ministry also found a new home located off of Hwy 468, the vision for “The Dream Center “A Place Where Dreams Once Died”, is to revitalize dreams of community members. The focus will be on entrepreneurs and small business assistance. The facility will be filled with success stories of individuals who have overcome obstacles and issues that may have hindered their progress. This was once a house where the Lake County Sheriff’s Department considered a nuisance. Now CWC looks to make it a valuable asset to many in the community.
On any given Sunday or Wednesday, you may not find the members of CWC wearing fancy suits with matching purses, or wearing the latest pair of alligator shoes, but you will find a group of young vibrant people hungry for God and filled with so much love that it makes you feel right at home. When people walk thru the doors one thing for sure, they can see and feel the Love of God within the Pastors and members. Their smiles are contagious, you can’t see them smile and not want to smile not matter what type of day you’re having.
Take a quick glimpse around CWC, you may see a few familiar faces, some people who were once labeled as Lake County’s most wanted, but now through God’s and CWC’s help, they’re now known as “God Most Usable.” The church is filled with its own spiritual melting pot; the congregation consists of former drug dealers & addicts, convicted felons, and a few others with a not so picture perfect past, along with teachers, nurses, entrepreneurs, accounts, managers, and the Mayor of Leesburg John Christian; but the mission statement of CWC explains it best “Taking people where they are, and helping them become who GOD wants them to be.”
If you’re new to the area, looking for a church home, or just want to visit, you’re welcome to stop by and experience CWC~“The Church with power in this Hour.” Their service times are: Wednesday –Throw Down Service 7:30pm, Sunday morning: 9am (Sunday School) 10:30am and (Sunday Morning Worship)11:30am For more information or for directions, please call 352-365-1709 or send email.