As the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) seeks to accomplish the goals of Arise 2033, churches are catching the vision, implementing new strategies, experiencing growth, and impacting their communities.
Pastor Navil Vaughan in Westville, Oklahoma, grew up as a pastor’s kid in the Westville P.H. Church and assumed the pastorate in 2008. Although regular attendance hovered around 140 in a town of 1,500, he felt God wanted to do something more.
When the church celebrated its centennial in 2016, it received a prophetic word about changing its name. After much prayer, the congregation took the bold move to rename the 100-year-old church to Westville Impact Church. According to Pastor Vaughan, the new name helped bring a renewed focus and identity to the church.
During this time, the church also began to experience a powerful move of God. A wife of one of the church leaders received instantaneous healing from a rare, life-threatening disease. This powerful testimony catapulted the church into a revival with miraculous healings and transformed lives. Another young lady received salvation and deliverance from drug addiction. She is now leading Hope for Today, a support group for people who are recovering from addiction.
With a rekindled passion, the church began to embrace its new identity and impact its community which sits in one of the poorest counties in the state. Whether through providing meals for local school children in the summer or cleaning city streets, the church is constantly looking for ways to share Christ’s love. As Pastor Vaughan puts it, “When we lift Him up, He draws people.”
In January 2019 Impact Church launched a second campus in neighboring Stilwell, Oklahoma. On Easter Sunday, 141 people were in attendance in Stilwell, and 250 in Westville. Pastor Vaughn attributes this growth to prayer, being intentional, and staying open to the Holy Spirit.
Impact Church now partners with Evangelism USA’s Church Multiplication and Revitalization Ministry led by Josh Hannah. With a strong emphasis on three “waves” during Easter, Fall, and Christmas, the multiplication strategies encourage churches to develop an annual content calendar which focuses on recruiting volunteers, appointing leaders, increasing finances, and improving the guest connection rate. According to Pastor Josh, we often ask God to bring people supernaturally, but we must also do our part to be ready to receive new guests.
Utilizing these principles, Compassion Church – Hartwell (formerly Hartwell P.H. Church) increased its average attendance by 200% since 2017. Pastor Rick Womack attributes this growth to a streamlined vision and focused ministry team. He says, “We want to be a welcoming place. We want everyone to know ‘There is room at the table.’” As a bi-vocational pastor, Rick feels his part-time job helps keep him in touch with broken humanity and his local community.
Pastor Bill Rose of The First Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, says, “The Church Revitalization Model has made us more attractional and made it easier for us to connect guests. We have been able to build better teams and increase the assimilation or connection rate.”
The First Church has also focused on increasing its footprint in the community by partnering with local social workers and the federal McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance program, which helps provide education for homeless children. Through this partnership, the church provides after-school reading assistance for at-risk children and hosts bi-annual breakfasts to connect with social workers and listen to the needs of the community.
As this relationship developed, Pastor Rose discovered that over 70 children in the county were sleeping on the floor. In response to this need, The First Church launched “Sweet Dreams”, a program to provide beds for children in Wayne County. In the first year, they received enough donations to provide a bed for every child, and Sweet Dreams continues to provide beds as the need arises.
In the summer of 2018, River of Life in Oklahoma City transitioned to Compassion – OKC and has experienced a 40% increase in average attendance. According to Pastor Jeff Patterson, the Church Multiplication connections ministry and the “waves” or evangelistic emphases have been key to the church’s growth. Families who have recently moved into the area are attending service, and the church family has a renewed passion for the lost and their community.
In a rural Oklahoma town, Pastor Sean McKinney has a renewed expectancy for a move of God. In 2008, Pastor McKinney felt God calling him back to his hometown of Stratford, Oklahoma, to pastor the Stratford P. H. Church. For nine years, he poured into the life of the church and community “doing what we knew to do,” but he felt he had hit a brick wall and was looking for a change.
When Pastor McKinney was introduced to the Church Multiplication model, things began to change. As the church implemented the multiplication principles, new people started attending church, and new believers were baptized. Compassion – Stratford is now holding two services on Sunday and averaging 250 in attendance.
Pastor McKinney shares his excitement, “We have more people involved than we ever have. We feel we are developing a blueprint for something that can be multiplied in other places, in other counties.” Compassion – Stratford wants to focus on planting churches in other rural areas and raising up leaders to reach the goals of Arise 2033.
As the IPHC moves forward to have a presence in 75% of the counties in the U.S., to plant churches among immigrant populations, and to focus on house churches in major cities, we must be open to new ideas and the power of the Holy Spirit.