Kingdom Come Moments in History

Kingdom Come began quietly and seemingly without fanfare at the beginning of 2007. The path forward included launching The Chapel at Elmwood (now Renovation Church), evaluating and prioritizing current opportunities, and the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit and prayerful consideration, strategic methodology was set into place along with a partnership survey and matrix to evaluate each opportunity. During the course of that first year, The Chapel’s entire roster of “missions support” was re-evaluated in light of Kingdom Come partnership opportunities in relation to our commitment to ensure that every man, woman, and child hears and sees the gospel of Jesus Christ on repeated occasions.

Since then, Kingdom Come has maintained an intentional and comprehensive strategy partnering with para-church ministries, churches, and church planters to further God’s Kingdom. Circles of accountability were established and telescoping targets determined to better facilitate our part of God’s mission. We were able to highlight 31 partnerships in Kingdom Come’s first “partner booklet” in 2007 that has now grown into On Mission magazine. God continues to bless Kingdom Come enormously, and we have experienced growth beyond expectation.

One of the best ways to walk through the history of Kingdom Come is by celebrating the wins of our ministry partners. We recently asked them to share a “God happening” type event, a milestone, or turning point, in their ministry during our partnership. The response was quite overwhelming and we hope you will enjoy strolling through some great memories of God’s faithfulness.

2007

On Easter Sunday, April 8, The Chapel at Elmwood (known today as Renovation Church) was officially launched.

2008

Steamtown Church: From what originally began as a youth ministry, Steamtown officially launched as a new church plant in Scranton, PA on March 3, 2008.

 Restoration Church:  In November 2008, Restoration Church gathered for the first time at The Park School, located in Amherst, NY.

 Sierra Leone Water Project: The Chapel got its feet wet wading into their first clean water well project for Sierra Leone during the Advent Conspiracy Christmas campaign. This led to further partnerships and the formation of the Sierra Leone Alliance the following year.

2009

ABWE-GAP SE Asia: In 2009, while living in Viet Nam, John decided to write a tract, specifically designed to overcome one of the main objections to the gospel in our part of the world:  Christianity is a western religion which started in America.  The tract, now titled The Ancient Path, has been translated into seven SE Asian languages and dialects, and more than 650,000 have been printed and distributed so far.

NorthGate Christian Community: On August 30, 2009, NorthGate launched their first Sunday morning worship service with approximately 250 people gathered at the AMC Theater in Amherst, NY.

2010

The Chapel at Lockport: In April, The Chapel at Lockport launches as a video-venue campus at The Palace Theatre in Lockport, making The Chapel one church in multiple locations.

HBI Global Partners: God brought to our attention that 35% of India’s population is below the age of 15, which is about 402 million children, and placed on our hearts the burden to work among children at risk. In the year 2010 we started a ministry among children at risk through drop-in centers in slums and child development centers in villages.

Dominican Republic Alliance: It was discovered that there were many local churches and organizations that traveled regularly with SCORE International to the Dominican Republic. In November 2010 leaders from these churches and organizations first gathered to begin looking at partnership opportunities to better facilitate gospel saturation of the DR.

2011

Circle ‘C’ Ranch/Wes Aarum, Sr.: After 43 years as founder and president of Living Waters Circle ‘C’ Ranch I turned the reins of the organization over to my youngest son, Wayne. He was voted in as President by the Board of Directors in April 2011. Since that time, Wayne has taken this ministry to new heights in many areas. I am thrilled that God has seen fit to put in place His man who will keep His ministry doing the job for which it was brought into existence.

The Apex: To better fill the needs of our growing ministries at The Chapel and reach our community, The Apex was strategically designed, built, and equipped for ministry with a full size basketball court, large conference/concert area, commercial kitchen, and classrooms, and opened in 2011.

The Rock Community Church: The summer kids’ camp at the Rock Community Church has been a significant program that has given children in Garfield Heights, Ohio the repeated opportunity to hear the gospel and practically experience God’s love for them. This program started in 2011 and has run for six summers, giving children in grades K-5 free lunch, fun activities, and Bible teaching. Because there is no cost for the camp, it has been a way to serve needy families and introduce them to other compassion ministries in the church. Many children have attended this summer camp year after year and even multiple sessions each summer, allowing them repeated opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel. Our crowd of children, volunteers, and interns has been racially diverse, which is a reflection of the community coming together. Our camp staff and volunteers have also been a multigenerational team, working and serving together each in their unique capacities for the same goal of loving the children and sharing Christ with them. This camp had also given us the opportunity to partner with mission teams from other churches, strengthening our community of churches. It is amazing to reflect how much summer camp has expanded the Rock Community Church’s sphere of influence generationally, racially, and socioeconomically in order to impact lives for the Kingdom.

2012

Renovation Church (originally named The Chapel at Elmwood) becomes a fully autonomous local church that is now a strategic partner of The Chapel.

Renovation University: The first class of Renovation University participants graduated in December of 2012. This two-year learning environment is designed to equip and empower the next generation of ministry leadership to live, lead, and serve well, consistent with the purposes of God.

Christ Together/Renovation Network: With beginnings several years earlier with the Infinity Alliance, the national expression of this movement was developed as the Renovation Network. Finding like-minded pastors and leaders in Christ Together, these two organizations completed a merger operating under the name of Christ Together. Their aim is to unify the Church to consistently communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to every man, woman, and child in America.

2013

Presidir.net: Through Kingdom Come’s partnership we were able to return to Central America, where we had ministered twenty years ago.  We saw many people we had reached when they were teens now walking with the Lord and in ministry leadership roles. We are thrilled to have had a part in helping them to continue reaching God’s vision for them. This reminds us of two principles: first, when you sow the good seed it bears fruit and secondly, God’s faithfulness is big and moves beyond us.

Buffalo City Mission: Three years ago, in 2013, the Buffalo City Mission launched “The DREAM Transitional Housing Program.”  The DREAM is our 16-step process to help a client achieve self-sufficiency, stability, and independence. This means that clients gain the tools they need to have a sustainable and meaningful job, and live in safe, affordable, permanent housing. These are things everyone needs to live a stable life. We do this by honoring their God-given gifts that we all possess to live in God’s light, and addressing the concerns that inhibit an individual’s ability to climb their way out of that desperate place. It’s a client-centered plan that includes addressing spiritual growth, financial literacy, education, relationships, legal support and health.  To help our residents to further their education, we partnered with Erie Community College for them to enter a degree or certification program. Our God happening moment in our program is seeing residents graduate from our DREAM Transitional Program and also Erie Community College, including Alicia, who graduated in May of 2016 and is already working in her field and moving into safe, affordable, permanent housing.

Destination Life Fellowship: After renting our facility from Niagara Alliance Church for the first two and a half years, they donated the building to the ministry. Being a mission church within the inner city we would never have been able to afford the building on our own.

Mission of Hope, Haiti: The Chapel established an anchor partnership with Mission of Hope to help restore the community of Bercy in Haiti that struggled in the wake of a devastating earthquake in 2010. The Chapel continues to send short term teams to serve in Haiti.

2014

EduNations: The most amazing “God happening” has definitely been reaching the remote village of Gbenikoro in Sierra Leone which was a place of great darkness and now has become a place of hope! Development has changed the village and the gospel has changed lives! Dean Weaver and team meet with the community to announce a school will be built in Gbenikoro and it was.

The Isaiah 61 Project: The Isaiah 61 Project finished its first home rehabilitation project in Niagara Falls. They are planning to expand into Lockport in the near future.

Chapel Lockport and Cheektowaga Campuses: The Chapel at Cheektowaga launches at the Regal Cinemas in the Walden Galleria Mall. The Chapel at Lockport relocates to 25 Walnut Street in downtown Lockport.

2015

True Happiness Ministries (Pioneer Trad): Zero to Hero |Since becoming a Kingdom Come ministry partner in 2014 the GOD HAPPENING moment came in March 2015 when the help from The Chapel arrived to rebuild the life of a young Christian couple (Simon and Esther) who have practically lost everything in the earthquake that rocked Nepal. Simon and Esther had been literally grounded to zero.  After some immediate rescue support, I requested The Chapel’s help with some resources to build a micro business for them to be effective again in serving the local church called Vision of Salvation Church in Swayambu, Kathmandu. Today they have a thriving convenient store business; they are happy, affluent to enhance the business and above all to support the ministry of the local church. God manifested Himself in their life.

Brothers Without Borders: Since becoming a Kingdom Come partner, we have been sharing the gospel on a weekly basis in several Dominican Fire Departments, as well as hosting a monthly study in Western NY to reach out to Emergency Services in this area.  In April 2015, Brothers Without Borders was able to send a donated fire engine to the Dominican Republic through the United States Air Force.  It seemed like it would not happen multiple times due to problems with international customs, but God made a way and the engine is now in service protecting the area of Guayacanes, including the Score Complex.

Jericho Road CHC: Since becoming a Kingdom Come ministry partner, Jericho Road has been able to expand our global medical outreach into two developing countries.  In 2015, we opened a clinic in Kono District, Sierra Leone, and in the next year, we will also open a clinic in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo. Through the generous support of partners like The Chapel, we have been able to expand our mission to provide quality medical care to not only the underserved in Buffalo, but also the underserved across the globe.

let them LOL: Our school, Hope Rising Academy, opened in September 2015, allowing 300 impoverished children the ability to attend school, many for the first time. Many of these children are sponsored by people at The Chapel and as a result of our Kingdom Come partnership these kids receive a Christian education, clean eater, daily nutritious meal, books, school uniforms, and healthcare.

Renovation Church: On June 23, 2015 Renovation Church hosted the Town Hall Meeting on Race and Relationships.

World Hope International: At least 16,600 children in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone lost one or both parents or their primary caregivers to Ebola. These unaccompanied children are at increased risk of human trafficking, abuse, hunger, and violence. Thanks to the support of generous and committed partners, like The Chapel, World Hope International started working directly with the government of Sierra Leone in March 2015 to identify, protect, and support these vulnerable youths!

Heritage Christian Services: When Christians plan mission trips they usually hope to have impact upon the people they will be serving. Last year, while leading a team of Western New Yorkers in Guatemala, it was a member of our team who was greatly impacted. I did not know this team member well. He joined our team late, came highly recommended and was friends with other team members. I was worn out from the fundraising aspect of planning the trip and told my husband before leaving for Guatemala in 2015 that I was not going to lead a team in 2016. However, on the 2015 trip, in answer to the nightly devotional question of, “Where did you experience God at work today?” this young man, who had been silent during previous devotion times, spoke up. He shared that he was, at best agnostic, but more leaned towards being an atheist. However, during a time of prayer with the family we had worked with to build a home, his heart and mind were opened to see that God is real! He shared that this was life changing and that he did not know what he was going to do with this brand new knowledge, but he now believed! I knew immediately that I was going to lead a group back in 2016 and that this person was going to be on the team. He will be back in Guatemala, working closely with sincere, loving and committed believers for another week this year.  The God Happening events of this trip was bringing a person who had never experienced total love and acceptance to a place where that was all that there was in his life.

Lockport Care Net: Now we are able to touch lives like never before. Because God has allowed us to have an ultrasound machine, just last week a girl came in our door considering ending her pregnancy. She was able to actually see her child before making a decision to carry! That’s what is happening since we opened as a medical clinic earlier this year. Women are coming here as a first choice, and choose life. The Lord uses so many things to touch lives. In this case it was an ultrasound machine. In others it has been an encouraging word, an offer of assistance or sharing the gospel of Christ. We have so many more opportunities and we’re seeing lives changed.

The Teacher’s Desk: During the 2015-2016 school year, The Teacher’s Desk reached more than 100,000 students across Western New York, providing $4.5 million in free school supplies and books to kids in need.  The Desk distributed over 240,000 books to 180 schools, and will have an even greater impact throughout Western New York in 2016-2017.

Saving Grace Ministries, Inc.: Saving Grace partnered with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, along with True Community Development Corporation and a host of corporate and foundation equity partners, to develop “Patriot Heights,” an affordable housing project to serve veterans and their families.

SCP Bangkok: A new expression of the Church was launched in Bangkok, Thailand through Saturation Church Planting. Their vision is that by 2035 to see strategic representation in the 169 sub-districts of Bangkok, the 76 provinces of Thailand, 10 global cities in Asia, and a pivot nation in each of the five Asian regions.

2016

Good News Jail & Prison Ministry: By God’s grace and through our Kingdom Come ministry partnership with The Chapel, more than 142 inmates have come to faith in Christ during the July 2015 – June 2016 ministry year at the Niagara County Jail in Lockport, New York!

International Students Inc.: After much prayer, God gave us favor with The University at Buffalo this year. In January 2016, we were invited to participate in UB’s mentoring program for international students.  Kathy Matheny was providentially matched with two girls, one who was already a Christian.  Jing longed to have an American Christian friend, but didn’t know how to go about it.  Kathy got her to Vintage, where Jing met a girl from one of her PhD classes at UB—what are the chances of that?! They’ve become instant friends, but that’s not all.  Now, they are not only encouraging each other in the faith, but they are co-leading a Bible study, helping other international students come to know Jesus!

Global Outreach Mission: In February 2016, our partnership with Kingdom Come allowed us to directly reach out and help 100 persecuted Christian refugees in Germany. Helping them transition and prepare for life in this new country.

Harvest Bible Chapel Buffalo: God removed the roadblocks for Harvest Bible Chapel Buffalo to purchase a location at a more than reasonable price this summer. They are rejoicing that they now have a place to call home!

iHope Church: Since we have become Kingdom Come partners we were able to replace our roof and raise enough money to replace 16 of our windows.  We were able to share the love of Christ with many unchurched families through our Easter Egg Hunt (3/19), Kids Carnival (7/22) and Church in the Park (7/23).  As a church we are seeking to share the love of Christ with our community one person at a time.

Missio Church: Our congregation meets in a neighborhood with the highest Latino population in Syracuse. For years we have prayed for a leader to help us reach this part of our community. In January, we welcomed a pastor from Cuba, along with his family, who is now part of our team. After they arrived we found out that Syracuse had recently started receiving around 30 new Cubans per month.

NorthGate Christian Community: NorthGate is a Christian community of all ages mentoring students to change the world. As members of our congregation go out into the community to share the love and hope of Christ with others, we see God is at work. Over the past year, we have seen God working through our building project, the members of our congregation, as well as seeing people choose to follow Christ.

Renaissance Christian Church: The most significant “God happening” in our ministry since becoming a Kingdom Come Partner has been the growth of our church. Since we’ve been able to wildly sow the gospel among un-churched people that don’t necessarily trust the Church, we’ve been able to patiently walk alongside people. We’ve gone from a Bible study in my apartment to a church of approximately 250 weekly attendees in two years and have baptized 12 people into the faith.

Village Church: Village Church will celebrate her fifth anniversary this fall. It’s overwhelming to review all that has been accomplished in that time, and all of the people who have contributed to help us reach this milestone. God has clearly blessed us over the last few years, and we are excited for all that the future holds.

FCA Hockey: Through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we are so excited to partner with The Chapel to host the first ever Apex Sports Camp at the Apex Sports Building.  It is truly an honor and a privilege to use our resources to help The Chapel’s sports program minister to young athletes and train coaches while providing an excellent sports experience.  Camp is from August 2-6, 2016.

Life Transforming Ministries: In the summer of 2016, LTM had the opportunity to partner with Netzer, another regional ministry with a similar heart but different approach to bringing oneness to the Body of Christ.  This will bring a new wholeness to each ministry, and what we believe will be a much more effective work of God in greater Philadelphia!

Campus Ambassadors/Paul Decker: We have a four-year milestone that is reflective of a true discipleship-oriented ministry. Derek led his roommate, Andrew, to the Lord during his sophomore year. Andrew, Derek, and Nick, who connected through CA, all started med school together at UB in August and all attend The Chapel. The three were also on the DR medical ministry trip this past year with SCORE and The Chapel.

Cross Training Athletics: We are grateful for The Chapel’s support to help us advance the Kingdom of God. God has opened an amazing door for us in the Western New York High School Sports Arena. This past year our indoor football camp had its largest attendance ever. At camp more than 60 athletes made a first-time decision to confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, acknowledging that God raised Him from the dead according to Romans 10:9. Approximately 40 more athletes recommitted their lives to Christ. This past school year (2015-2016) to the glory of Christ, God took center stage at six sectional championship events Football, Wrestling, Boys and Girls Basketball and Lacrosse.  CTA handed out over 200 Character Athlete of the Game plaques to boys and girls all across Western New York at these competitions. The inscription on the plaque was I Timothy 4:12, setting the example in speech, conduct, love, faith and integrity of the game.

InterVarsity/Nate Schutt: Before this year, I (Nate) was the most recent UB student to come on staff with InterVarsity, doing so back in 2007. I’m so grateful now to be able to say that I’m multiplying myself! Four years ago, John Oncher came to campus as a new believer looking to get involved in Christian community and grow in his faith. In March of this year, John was provisionally appointed as campus staff, and is in the process of raising support to begin work as a chapter planter on a new campus. This year, InterVarsity also hired another new staff member, Chris Sullivan, to come to UB and work specifically in the largely unreached mission field of graduate students and faculty. Please pray for both John and Chris as they begin their work with our ministry!

Isaiah 61 Project: Since becoming a Kingdom Come partner, we have with this past winter class, graduated 100 students! In addition to that we will soon be announcing our long-awaited expansion to the City of Lockport. Now two cities in our county with the greatest need for meaningful employment opportunities will be impacted.

Northtown Pregnancy Center: On July 25, 2016 we officially started being able to offer our clients Limited Obstetric Ultrasounds!  Katie, our nurse manager and Tonya our volunteer nurse were certified through a grant from Focus on the Family’s Option Ultrasound Program.  We know that God’s timing is perfect and He will use our Ultrasound to see many lives changed and babies’ lives saved!

Saving Grace Ministries: Mid-year 2016, Saving Grace Ministries was launching SGM of Tampa Bay, FL and was coming up on the one-year anniversary of SGM of Elmira, NY. Both partner sites needed a strong local executive director to oversee day-to-day operations and manage program staff.  Less than 24 hours after this need was identified, individuals in both cities stepped forward.

Set Free: Al is teaching a class for Niagara University—Educating Transformational Urban Leaders. The class is being taught on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in the midst of a city resurrecting. Al is including in his course a group of guest lecturers who are among the faith-based leaders using their expertise to do more than pour concrete and erect buildings. They are God’s agents to restore hope and encouragement. Like Nehemiah, these leaders are rebuilding and transforming our city.

SonRays Ministries: Two faithful men have overseen the maintenance of the SonRays Faith Home property for many years. This duo love God and enjoy working together to keep all mechanical things, in the ministry, running smoothly. Recently, one of our dear friends has needed to retire. His heart is toward the Lord and this ministry, and it is a challenge for him to leave the property in other hands. What makes this transition easier on him, and us, is the knowledge that 50 faithful (and always cheerful and hardworking) saints from The Chapel’s Love Serves come to help on the property in the spring and the fall. We truly could not keep up with the maintenance needs without The Chapel family’s love and support. These, and so many others from The Chapel, have contributed a tremendous amount of hands-on support. Thank you for your love, care, and kindness.

Urban Christian Ministries: Urban Christian Ministries and Greater Refuge Temple collaborated for a four-day event called “Rock the Block.” The first evening consisted of an outdoor praise and worship service, and Jefferson Ave was lined with local food trucks. The next two days we did door-to-door and street evangelism while interacting with the people in the fruit belt community.

Other Moments…

Christian Counseling Ministries: God continues to work in the lives of individuals, couples and families as they seek healing and wholeness.  Every day is a God happening as we see people allow God to redeem wounds from the past and trials in the present to conform clients to look more like His Son and to be used for His glory.

Mission of Hope, Haiti: MOH is training over 3,000 local farmers in sustainable farming techniques, feeding over 90,000 children a day, and hopes to have 100% of the food used in its food distribution program grown by Haitian farmers by 2020.  MOH is also educating over 6,500 students with a Christ-centered curriculum and is currently building a technical school that will provide further education and job training.  We are currently treating over 30,000 patients a year in our onsite and mobile medical clinics that go into 17 different villages.

SCORE International: As I look back on these past 10 years in my ministry of taking people on short term missions, the most significant “God happening” I notice are the lives that were changed. Those lives are now making a difference for the Kingdom. The medical students that find Christ and then use their profession to serve and share Christ. The high school student that sets their college major based on how God has gifted them rather than what the world says. Every trip I take, God works in the hearts of people to fully surrender their lives to Him!

Anchor Church: Our partnership with Kingdom Come has directly impacted children and families in our community. Because of your prayers and support, children attending “Anchor Kids” ministry are experiencing the love and truth of God. In turn, we have seen spiritual growth in parents who are now actively practicing spiritual disciplines and expanding their faith in their homes and beyond. (Anchor Church officially launched public worship services on January 31, 2016.)

Restoration Church/Dan Trippie: The most significant “God happening” in my personal ministry at Restoration Church was leading my father to Christ. Thirteen months after my father repented of his sins and received Christ, he was called to heaven. I am eternally grateful for the support of The Chapel. Your faithfulness was used by God to ensure our family will one day be reunited.

The Springville Crossing Church:  We have seen 113 people accept Christ! We have baptized 105 believers in Christ!

theWELLbuffalo: We have been greatly impacted by the ministry of Kingdom Come.  The ongoing support has allowed us to take the risks each year to increase our staff and continue to build into the team and the families that make up theWELL.  As a result of this, our church has been able to minister to more and more people in need, and given us the opportunity to share the gospel with every man, woman, and child in our reach.

Cru/Michael & Amy Ramos: Berhanu, from afar region of Ethiopia, home to nomadic Muslims, was trained to share his faith and disciple others. Immediately, he implemented what he learned in six locations, establishing six new churches throughout his homeland. Berhanu says, “I prayerfully selected the sites. I searched for a person of peace who welcomed me and asked him to have a fellowship time in his house. I shared Christ with him. As he accepted Christ, I encouraged him to invite his friends and neighbors to his house.” The outcome: one community has a church of 180 believers; another has a church of 40 believers, a third has one with 65 believers; a fourth church was launched with 38 believers; a fifth community has a new church with 11 believers; and a sixth church recently began meeting.

Eagles Wings:  We have been so blessed to establish two feeding centers in Israel, one in Jerusalem and one in Tiberius.  These feeding centers are “free restaurants” where those in need sit down and are served a hot meal with dignity.  Anyone in need–Jewish, Arab, Christian, Muslim–can come in and find a smiling face and a word of hope, with over 300 people being fed every day.

Israel Firstfruits: Over the last few years Israel Firstfruits has touched the lives of more than 1,000 local believers, investing heavily in the development of over 150 entrepreneurs and emerging leaders, and helped start or grow 35 small businesses.

Christ Together: We continue to see growth in partnership in our region of WNY through partnerships with the Church of WNY. Additionally, our national growth and development continues in other metropolitan areas throughout the United States.

Christian Central Academy: The amazing opportunity and outreach we have had with the international student program.

La Voix de l’Evangile: Seeing our students accepting Christ and following our Bible courses.

Patch Our Planet: Since becoming a Kingdom Come ministry partner and partnering with the Every Child Ministry at The Chapel, our most significant “God happening” in our ministry has happened over the course of four years as we went from two church partners using our orphan care curriculum to just under 100 communities across 25 states guiding them to care more effectively for orphans locally and globally.