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Church Restart: Atlantic County, NJ (Don Waltermyer, Pastor)

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Church Restart: Atlantic County, NJ (Don Waltermyer, Pastor)

Don grew up in an unbelieving household in southcentral Pennsylvania. By age seventeen he was a confirmed agnostic. Soon afterwards, though, his assumptions and way of life were challenged, and he turned from arguing against the Christian faith to embracing it fully. Soon afterwards, much of Don’s family was converted. At college he met another new believer, Patty, and they got married three years later. After seminary they went to York, PA (Don’s hometown) and Don planted a church there. (That congregation grew and later planted two daughter churches.) More recently, Don has pastored a church for eighteen years in southwestern PA that has been a renewal work.

Earlier this year he became aware of a congregation of ten families in southeastern New Jersey, in the community of Northfield (Atlantic County), that wanted to make a new start. The church (Faith Presbyterian Church) has had a faithful gospel witness for many decades. However, while the church needed a full-time pastor, they could not support one. Since Don had experience in both church planting and church revitalization, this looked like a perfect match. Additionally, the presbytery wanted to see this congregation be renewed and be a vibrant presence in South Jersey.

Atlantic County New Jersey anticipated great benefits and prosperity when gambling was legalized in Atlantic City in the 1970’s. Those hopes were never realized. The church we are re-starting has an opportunity to present a hope to the region that will not disappoint, the hope of the good news of Jesus Christ.

We want to be a church that will be attractive and accessible for those who need the kind of hope that delivers. We desire the kind of church where an unbeliever visiting our worship service will sense the presence of God Himself. However, we will not wait for those in the community to come to us – we will be proactively present in the community, seeking to serve where we can, in both word and deed. We want to follow the Apostle Paul’s lead and take a multi-faceted approach to outreach, so that “by all possible means” we “might save some”.

Today 85% of all churches in the U.S have either plateaued or are declining. Our vision is not only to reverse that history in this congregation but by Christ’s resurrection power to ignite a holy flame that will catch fire in many other congregations who also haven’t been growing. Jesus’s resurrection power not only gives new life to individuals, but it can also do the same in churches. It’s out of that conviction that Don and Patty have relocated and are giving themselves to this ministry.

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Mission to North America
P.O. Box 890233
Charlotte, NC 28289-0233

MNA

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