The Central Community Church will celebrate its fourth anniversary on July 27. The church's humble beginning started with a hollow shell of a building with no air conditioning and a group of approximately 25 parishioners who had the courage to roll up their sleeves and build a church.
The Rev. Darrell Allen, pastor of the Central Community Church, his wife Donna and a handful of volunteers took possession of the building that formerly housed Pavement Technology. They worked the entire weekend to clean one room that would accommodate 50 people.
"We were completely worn out that Saturday evening and decided we would meet Sunday morning to have prayer meeting in that room," Allen said. "We had 80 people show up and had to move out into the larger area. People brought bottled water and lawn chairs. We rolled up the doors and brought in fans."
The excitement led to an evening service. The good news had spread during the day and 200 people came that night for services and a covered-dish supper.
Today, the growing membership is around 700 attending Sunday worship at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., followed by an evening service at 6 p.m. Small groups meet nightly. A midweek Bible study and youth services are held at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Last year, the church purchased the adjoining 6 acres, known as "the strawberry fields," with hopes to build a sanctuary in the near future. Sitting on 14 acres, the church operates an administrative office building with 5,000 square-feet dedicated to the middle and high school ministries. The 19,000 square-foot building houses the main sanctuary and Clubhouse Kids.
The church is focusing on reaching people and leading them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. The members are a contemporary, non-denominational group of people from all walks of life.
A native of Newton County, Allen was born in 1964 to parents Jane and Gary Allen. A 1983 graduate of Newton County High School, he was licensed in the United Methodist Church and graduated from the Candler School of Theology in 1999.
Allen and his ministry partner, his wife, will celebrate 24 years of marriage this month and have two children, Daniel and Dalyn.
Allen said he has always been a soul-winner and felt God's call as he would go out and visit people. Opportunities opened up for him to preach and serve in prison ministries as he continued door-to-door evangelism.
"I knew all along that God was calling me to be a pastor," Allen said of his love and compassion for people.
The couple accepted Christ in 1986 and served for 18 years at Gaither's UMC in various roles including youth, assistant and senior pastor.
"We fell in love with God and
had a desire to see people made whole in every aspect - spiritually, physically and emotionally," Allen said. "The main thing with us is that we have always tried to be real. People want to be around others who live outside the four walls of the church the same way they act inside the church."
Donna served for the first year as youth director and put together ministries and programs for elementary, middle and high school students.
"We got the people behind us," she said. "We promised them if they would go after the young people, we would go after the parents. We have seen the youth ministry explode here."
The parents who were sending their children are now attending services. This past Sunday night during a youth blow-out service, over 300 of the 450 in attendance were under 21 years of age.
"It's an amazing thing to see," the pastor said describing the youth praying at the altar and worshipping with one another.
Both Allen and his wife agree the key to their church's success is that they are committed to teaching and preaching the uncompromised word of God and being real.
Allen told about seeing a tremendous outpouring of the spirit of God during the past few months. According to Allen, he has witnessed people being healed physically and people being set free in worship.
For more information on the Central Community Church located at 11157 City Pond Road in Covington, call 770-385-3452 or visit www.centralcommunitychurch.net.