The Salvation Army is first and foremost a church. It’s the church I was born and raised in, the one in which I dedicated 10 years of full time ministry. It will always be a part of me, but it’s not the focus of this post. You see, for 18 years I have been ministered to by Apex Community Church. In February 2000 I was a freshman trying to figure out life at Wright State University. My friend Renee invited me to the young adult ministry at her church. From the first moment I walked into the ministry of Apex, I love it. People my age worshipping God! A speaker who was young and fun but also a fantastic preacher. As my college years rolled on, God blessed this little group and it flourished.
In January 2003, God allowed this former young adult ministry to open its doors for the first time as a new church plant. It was around this time that I had to physically stop attending due to various reasons, but my heart never left. Even during my own ministry, as I gave to the people God had ordained for me, I was being refuelled by the podcasted sermons of Apex. When I was back in Dayton on vacations I would still attend as I could and always felt the sense of coming home when I walked into the large sanctuary with an ugly orange carpet.
In July 2013 I left full time ministry. Suddenly, I found myself without a home, without a car, without a job. At the age of 32 I was back to living in my parent’s house. It was just like being that young freshman trying to figure out life again! But God was exceptionally good to me – blessed me with a job, a car, and in time, a condo complete with mortgage payments! And one other thing He blessed me with? Apex.
When I moved back to Dayton, the choice of church was a no-brainer! This community wasn’t just my church, they were my family. I immediately got plugged into my then-boyfriend’s House Church. These people loved me without knowing me. Eventually, they grew to know me, and still they loved me! When my romantic relationship ended I found myself in a temporary house church before finding a perfect fit with the (now named) Great Commission House Church. I had switched from Sunday Gathering Services to Saturday night and got plugged into the prayer ministry. There were significantly less people attending on Saturday but the faithful (and even not-so-faithful) attendees became family. Bill who would always ask me about my beloved Seahawks. Steve and Naomi who were my co-prayer ministry partners. The large sanctuary with an ugly orange carpet was filled with faces that became so dear to me.
Life settled into a routine, though that is probably the glossy word for a rut. I had my pretty compartmentalized life: work. Home. House church. Exercise. Quad. Saturday service. Time with my biological family. In truth, I loved my life. I still do.
But God in His wisdom shook things up at Apex last year. So much so that the sermon series for a few weeks was honestly called, “Welcome To Our Mess!” This church, this family that I had grown to love was rock at its very core. This is my journal entry from around that same time.
“There are moments on every person’s journey that force you to stop and take stock of your life. One such moment happened at 6:10 on a Sunday evening. Though I had seen something coming for about eight months, when the battle began, everything changed. My entire world shifted. The first 24 hours were brutal. The attack was a complete surprise both in tactic and intensity and truthfully, I am not sure we [as Apex church] were well prepared.”
But in retrospect, God was doing a great and mighty work in my church, my family. Continuing from my journal, “[In a short time,] people were repenting. Lives were being transformed through confession. Prayer and compassion and grace were the primary weapons being used against the enemy. The Holy Spirit was moving and working and Satan had to be getting overwhelmed. And even today, though the battle still has its moments, little hot spots here and there as with any large scale attack, already people are celebrating The Lord’s victory.”
The Lord Is Victorious.
The last 18 years have been a crazy journey in my life as well as that of Apex Community Church! Moments of great and glorious celebration. Flourishing ministry. There have also been missteps along the way. Yes, even times when foundation are shaken, but here is the truth: Apex wasn’t built on people, it was, is, and will forever be built upon the Solid Rock.
And that is why I feel so privileged to call Apex not just my church, but my family.