On New Year's Day 1994 we moved our family to Matthews, NC to begin a church plant called Joy Christian Fellowship. Clay and Alene Prevost had committed to help, especially in the areas of administration (and encouragement) and eventually moved to the area.
Meetings on Sundays and Wednesdays began in our den. After much advertising, flyer distribution, and door knocking, our first service was on Easter Sunday that year in the cafeteria of East Mecklenburg High School. A small group from the area, joined by numerous friends who traveled to support our efforts, met there regularly until we were able to rent the storefront on John Street in Matthews. Our numbers increased as we worshipped, prayed, and learned more about what God had called us to be. We were a "non-denominational, interracial, Spirit-filled congregation" in our spirit.
The Lord sent families, missionaries, Latinos, and a few stragglers from the neighboring Laundromat and Pool Hall. We became involved in puppetry and mime during Matthews Alive, Stumptown Park, and other outreaches and began a monthly outreach to the youth detention facility in Columbia, SC. We participated in Promise Keepers and the Billy Graham Crusade in 1996 and half of Joy Church (21 people from 8 to 68 years old) went to Mexico on a mission trip in the spring of 1997.
A New Home
It was also in 1997 that the Lord gave us the opportunity to buy the building on Idlewild Road and about 50 of us moved in and remodeled in a day so we could have our first service on Easter Sunday. What a celebration of what the Lord can do!