What makes Christ Fellowship unique is not what happens on the campus, but what happens when the “church” leaves the building.
• The Community is invited to special services at 9:30 or 11:15 am, AND at a FREE cookout with bounce houses, food, and tethered hot air balloon rides from 4-7 pm this Sunday, March 19.
McKINNEY – When Christ Fellowship church began in 1997, McKinney was a small city with empty fields dotted along Eldorado Parkway and Highway 75. This year, Christ Fellowship celebrates 20 years of ministry in a booming city. People from around the world call McKinney home.
“I remember walking into a Shell gas station in McKinney and praying for all the people in the store,” said Bruce B. Miller, Christ Fellowship senior pastor. “Through prayer, it became clear that I was to help start a new church in McKinney.” Founding members took home pages from the phone book and prayed over each and every name.
On March 16, 1997 the grand opening was held at Faubion Middle School. Then, the church was named McKinney Fellowship Bible Church. The name was later changed, and today, Christ Fellowship has a large campus at Eldorado and Orchid Drive that welcomes 2,100 people every Sunday. The church has an online campus, and is breaking ground this month on a new auxiliary worship center for one of the largest Spanish services in the city, “Christ Fellowship – Español.” Construction plans also include a 41,600-square-foot renovation and expansion for children.
What makes Christ Fellowship unique is not what happens on the campus, but what happens when the “church” leaves the building. From its inception, Christ Fellowship has placed a high value on helping people in need. “Run for Cover started in 2001 to help the homeless, and has raised approximately $350,000 for the Samaritan Inn and Shiloh Place,” said Rafe Wright, pastor of missional life. “Clothe-A-Child was started in 2000 and today is a multi-church effort that serves hundreds of McKinney school children each year.”
Christ Fellowship was pivotal in the creation of non-profit partnership 3e McKinney and its cornerstone program, the Adopt-A-School ministry. Garage Giveaway was a major event at the church from 2008-2015 – “stuff” valued at over $5 million was donated to anyone in need, serving over 20,000 people (and over 20,000 hotdogs!).
Love McKinney, now called Go and Be, has sent thousands of volunteers into the poorest neighborhoods of McKinney to provide free home repair and cleanup. “When the Lord guided us to Jessie M’s home on Wilcox Street, it had no running water, and much of the flooring had been torn out. Jessie had to barricade the doors at night to keep the animals out of the room he was living in,” said Bill Hedgpeth, a Go and Be volunteer from Christ Fellowship. Over the next eight months, volunteers from churches and Habitat for Humanity rebuilt Jessie’s house. “I remember the life lessons we taught each other, friendships made and the steady and wonderful presence of the Lord as he guided us,” Hedgpeth said.
Stories like Jessie’s drive the church forward. “We’re the hands and feet of Jesus,” Wright said. In 2015, when a deadly tornado devastated two families in Blue Ridge, the people of Christ Fellowship raised $65,000 in just a few short days to help provide homes.
The church’s global projects have sent an estimated 3,000 people to six continents and 15 countries over the past 20 years. Currently, Christ Fellowship is developing a holistic village with a primary school for children, and future goals include a trade school, single mothers’ housing and an orphanage.
Student events, women’s and men’s events, DivorceCare, GriefShare and Celebrate Recovery programs are regularly offered to anyone in the community, regardless of what church they attend or if they attend church at all. “At Christ Fellowship, we are ‘all welcome,’ people of grace,” Miller said. “In these first 20 years, God has built a foundation, a beginning. Now it is time to expand and to grow with our growing region. In the earliest days I had a flip chart in my office on which I wrote 2 Corinthians 5:7, ‘We live by faith and not by sight.’ That became our motto. We go on faith.”