After spending two years ministering in the St. Louis metropolitan area, the Lord began to close several key doors that had been opened. With much prayer and fasting, the
Zimmerman’s began to seek the Lord as to what He would have them do in the Illinois/St. Louis area. Or possibly, relocating to another area of the country to continue ministry.
One early spring morning in 2006, Pastor Tracy was driving a delivery truck for a locals greenhouse, and had a delivery in the small town of Lawrenceville, Illinois. The Lord had been
speaking to his heart about starting a brand-new church plant in Vandalia, Illinois.
Pastor Tracy was reluctant to accept the call of what the Lord was telling him to do, so in a time of negotiating with the Lord, Pastor Tracy asked for this confirmation:
“Lord, if you really want me to start a church in Vandalia, let someone walk up to me and say these words – ‘If you started a church in Vandalia, we would come to your church’.”
At the end of that round of negotiations, Pastor Tracy felt very confident that no one would do, or say those words. He had been alone, the entire time, praying while sitting at the McDonald’s in the Lawrenceville, Walmart at 6:00am waiting for his truck to be unloaded. Pastor Tracy was so confident that he had won this round of negotiations with the Lord, that he continued on his way assured that there would be no way anyone would ever say those words to him because that prayer, was simply - between him and God.
Once the truck was unloaded, Pastor Tracy continued on his way with his deliveries and pickups. Later that afternoon, he found himself at his last stop, the Walmart in Effingham, IL. Getting ready to unload his truck, he recognized some people that he had known from several years before. In fact, he had been the youth pastor to this family’s three teenage children. When the father of the children saw Pastor Tracy, he walked up to him and said these words - “If you started a church in Vandalia, we would come to your church.”
Those words from that father, that filled the atmosphere in that parking lot, pierced through all the doubt, all the questioning, and all the hesitations! It was at that moment, Pastor Tracy knew, it was time to start a church in Vandalia! And please make note of this - that man and his family never did come to church in Vandalia! Our great God, Master of the universe, simply used that man and those words, to birth what is known today as Family Worship Center. It didn’t even take God one day, one week, one month, or one year! But, in less than 12 hours, God had already brought the confirmation, and the word, of what He wanted Pastor Tracy to do in the city of Vandalia.
During the summer of 2006, before any church services, before a building was secured, before any of that – the Zimmerman’s opened their home and began to teach three families home Bible studies. One family was Baptist, another was Assembly of God,
and the other didn’t have much of a church background. These home Bible studies would last for a couple hours in an evening, and a one point, there were over 22 people in the Zimmerman house for Bible study. The groundwork was being laid, and the foundation was being poured for what was about to happen in just a few short months for Family Worship Center.
September 10, 2006 was the very first service at Family Worship Center! With 32 people in attendance in a small, old-fashioned, concrete block church building, that had been vacant for about five years. The first corporate praises were raised to the Lord on that Sunday morning. The small congregation would meet every Sunday for worship services, and would meet once a week for Bible study during the week. Family Worship Center’s early days
were built on Bible studies, and Bible studies, and Bible studies, and more Bible studies.
After about a year, a Wednesday night midweek service commenced because of the request of many, in the new congregation, that they wanted to meet more than just on Sundays. That it was too long of a time span, they wanted to be with their brothers and sisters during the week.
In just two short years, the old, concrete block building would become too small, because of the growth of the congregation. By the end of 2008, the congregation was averaging around 90 people. It was time for a new building! A larger place to worship the Lord Jesus, and minister to the needs of the community.
Many ministries were birthed at Family worship Center. There were weekly AA meetings hosted at church, a food pantry was established, where the physical needs of those needing help could be blessed. The Bible studies continued, a radio broadcast was birthed, there were community outreaches, Thanksgiving turkey dinners were distributed throughout the area, helping families
in need. Many families were blessed with Christmas trees during the holidays, and blessing children less fortunate, with gifts during the holidays to help brighten their lives a little.
A New Home for Family Worship Center:
On April 12, 2009, Family Worship Center held its very first service in its newly acquired building at 1803 Janette Drive. This beautiful 10,000 ft.² building situated on 13.8 acres was now the new home for this growing church! Now, with plenty of room to expand, more ministry, and more lives could be touched and changed - because
of this miraculous, provision of the Lord.
The ministries continued, and more have followed! From Thanksgiving meals, Halloween parade floats, trunk-or-treat community ministry, Praise in the park, and community puppet shows for the kids. Ministry outreaches from Mulberry Grove to St. Elmo, and Brownstown to Shobonier, has touched countless lives. Food pantries, Bible studies, youth ministry has expanded, and children’s ministry has grown! In June 2012, God opened all the doors and blessed us with our new daycare & preschool, Horizons Child Care and Learning Center.
The mission of Family Worship Center is simply this: “A healing place for a hurting world.”
We don’t sit in judgment; we stand offering grace & mercy! We give and show mercy! Affording everyone the opportunity for a second, third, fourth, or however many chances it may take for any, and all of us, to get our hearts right with the Lord!
Today, we develop men and women to be servants and leaders in the kingdom of God. Teaching and believing that everyone has a call, and all have a purpose, and a destiny that God has placed in each of us to fulfill and complete His purpose in our lives.
Now, these folks, with lives full of purpose, destiny and hope, are leading in:
community ministries and outreaches
working in Celebrate Recovery to overcome hurts, hang-ups and habits
serving in the kingdom
greeting new folks
working on our webcasting team
working in our tech team
involved in super church and puppets in our children’s ministry
chaperoning youth trips
preparing young adults for the future
and developing and nurturing the main point and main ingredient of Family Worship Center…
and that’s Family!