In the late 1980’s, the Spirit of God began to move in the heart of several young Kalamazoo families as they considered how best to reach the unchurched in Kalamazoo. These families began to connect and after a season of prayer and seeking God’s will, God led them to establish a different kind of church – a church who saw itself as a mission to Kalamazoo. A church that would focus on reaching those no one else was reaching. This new kind of church would not do things the traditional way. They would use contemporary creative arts to reach the community. Songs right off the radio would be played so the non-churched could connect, entertaining and thought-provoking dramas would be used to communicate spiritual truths, and the sermons would speak to real-life issues.
So, in 1991 Kalamazoo Community Church (KCC) was founded, meeting in high school gyms and auditoriums. Since it was dramatically different than anything else in the region, it attracted people from all over Kalamazoo and neighboring counties. KCC grew to become a regional church that was widely known for its friendliness and for its excellent musical and creative elements. Over the next decade, many people who hadn't gone to church since childhood, or who had never previously stepped foot in the door of a church, began to make KCC their church home. God was moving through the ministry of KCC and many people came to place their faith in Jesus.
Early on in its growth, the church leadership had a growing conviction that it should be guided by its own understanding of Biblical teaching and that it should not ally itself to any denominational theology or polity. Its conviction was that church needed to be guided by its own conscience, answerable to God for its decisions. Because several Reformed Churches of America congregations had provided the seed money to establish the church, KCC was loosely affiliated with the RCA. But because of this growing conviction, KCC requested and was granted a release from any denominational ties. Today, KCC is completely independent and governed by a board of elders who attend the church.
In the early 2000s, KCC put down some roots. First, the church purchased a piece of property in the Comstock township that still serves as its current location. Second, the elders hired Dave Johnson as its next lead pastor. After having several pastors that served short tenures, Dave became the church’s first “long-haul” pastor. Dave sensed the need to broaden and deepen the ministry so that it could do more than just reach the unchurched. KCC needed to be able to effectively mature and develop those who were now followers of Jesus. So, changes were made to the morning service format using Christian music so people could move beyond songs that were entertaining to songs that allowed people the opportunity to worship. Sermons became more of Bible study than a talk on spiritual principles. Through the years, the church was a witness to God’s movement as many people made decisions to make Jesus their leader and lord.
In the late 20-teens, the elders began to sense that God was calling them once again to do something unique. With the increasing rate of change and complexity that churches were experiencing, the elders believed that it was God’s desire to restructure the church and have not one but two pastors – one who would focus on the Sunday services and pastoral care of the church and one who would focus on ministry development and the administration of the church. This seemed like a ridiculous consideration for a church of KCC’s size. Most churches like KCC have a hard time affording one pastor, but two? But believing this was God’s desire, the elders stepped out in faith and hired Kenny Bryant as the complementary partner to Dave. We believe that this co-Pastor model will be used by the Holy Spirit to equip and propel KCC to further church depth and breadth.
As we move forward in the 2020’s, our aim remains the same: To pursue, live, and share the full life found in Jesus (Jn 10:10). Our ministry focus is to craft Sunday services that bring worship to God and truth to the people; to build a family ministry where children, youth, and parents are equipped to live the full life; to mobilize our church to reach our friends and neighbors with the life-transforming power of the gospel of Jesus, and to expand our global reach by serving those who suffer both physically and spiritually in the most marginalized places on our planet.