Start it and they will come.
Each Sunday at 2 p.m., members of Impact Church gather inside St. Paul United Methodist Church in St. Charles to worship.The church started just six weeks ago, but was the result of many months of prayer by lead pastor Joshua Lewis.
Lewis, 31, is the lead everything for the church - almost. Misty Lewis, his wife, plays keyboards and leads the rest of the musicians and the congregation with her singing.
This is not his first position as a pastor, but it is the first time Lewis has started a church- a brand new church without a parent church or larger denomination behind his effort.
Lewis said the decision to create a new church took much prayer. Is this what God wants? After eighteen months of preparing, meeting in home groups and divine timing, Impact Church officially began its ministry Jan. 30.
Starting a church takes enormous effort and energy. And then there is the ever-present need to keep one’s spiritual side strong when pastoring a church.
So I find this endeavor that much more remarkable after I learned that Joshua Lewis is finishing a degree in Christian Ministry at, heading next to Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Misty Lewis is a full-time graduate student at Washington University. Together they are the parents of three daughters age 4 and younger.
All that and a new church. No, they have not lost their minds. They have given their minds, souls and hearts to God.
Lewis says, “my passion is God’s Word.” Impact Church will be grounded in the Bible and from there Lewis sees its mission as “forming a faith community where people come to know the Jesus of the Bible and demonstrate that Jesus to others.”
I attended Impact’s fifth worship service. Lewis welcomed me with an outstretched hand. His oldest daughter, four-year old Bethany, was pirouetting down the aisle with the offering plate in her hands. She was practicing for the collection time in the worship service. Middle daughter, Anna, was helping her mom at the keyboards, and baby Abigail was nearby, rocking to the beat in her car seat.
Lewis showed me the large room behind the sanctuary. He - lead pastor, painter, plumber- with help from his friends has updated the kitchen and lounge area into an attractive meeting room. The coffee was brewing and snacks were out on the counter. The children meet back here for their Sunday lessons. Coffee fellowship follows the service.
Others greeted me as they came in. The service began with prayer and music, then during the announcement time, Lewis remembered my name and remembered the name of everyone else who was visiting. He recalled each of our stories, who we were with, why we were there. We had no nametags. That’s attentiveness.
Lewis warned me before the start of worship that the “service was still raw." There was prayer and a message based on scripture from the Bible. There was music - good music. The lyrics came on the screen when they should, a photo of a newborn baby the church had prayed for appeared when it was supposed to, the sound system worked, the preacher was clear. The Sunday I attended - the fifth worship service ever - was a complete worship service in all ways for me.
Two days after the worship service, Lewis and I spoke again. He said, “There is a core group of people already. A church was forming. You can feel it.”
I agree. I did feel it. I felt it singing, sitting in the sanctuary, and seeing the faces of the people there. It was real. It is a real church. It is a gathering of believers where there is Christ, community and caring.
The building is located in historic Frenchtown. I asked Lewis how they came to worship there. Lewis told me that he and his wife drove around the streets of St. Charles praying and looking for a place to begin Impact Church and found St. Paul United Methodist Church. They contacted Pastor Willie Rivers and St. Paul’s welcomed them to share their space.
St. Paul’s is an old building and it has been there since 1869, housing Methodist, then Baptist, and currently a United Methodist congregation. That’s 142 years of history as a church.
Now it’s the first location of Impact Church. What a heritage this historic church has and now adds as this brand new group of worshippers praises God from its sanctuary.
The plans Lewis has for Impact Church will take it well beyond the corner of North Third and Franklin. After just six weeks, the congregation has grown from the first five to more than twenty-five. Impact Church has started, and people have come. I am glad I got to be there when it was just beginning.