In 2003 two churches came together and formed one new body, Hanover Wesleyan Church. From that very beginning we felt called to reach out to our community and to create a great space for the people of Hanover, especially the children, to come to know Jesus. This was going to require change. We just didn't know how much yet.
Eventually, it became clear that our original building on South Street wasn't where we were supposed to stay. Following the leading of the Spirit we sold our church home. We moved into the building at our church campground, Oak Side, for what we thought was going to be a short stay until we could sell that too and begin construction on our new building.
That short stay turned into almost 7 years. It would be untruthful to say that many of us weren't concerned or didn't question if we were really following the where the Spirit was leading. Were the early signs and answered prayers just coincidences? We couldn't see how God was really shaping us.
Over time it became clear that something was happening. It was happening in individual lives and it was happening to us as a whole. If you ask the folks that were newcomers to our church at the time, you will probably get the same answers about their first impression; it was an incredible sense of welcoming, love, and family. Church started becoming less about church and more about being the body of Christ, together. People were seeking and finding a real relationship with the God who formed them. Sometimes this was difficult. But it was real, authentic, and powerful, and we as a church, were changed.
The desire to care for the things Jesus cared about began to show itself in other ways as little acts of obedience turned into bigger things. We started new ministries like our AWANA program and started a Wednseday night service in an effort to reach, support, and grow people in their spiritual journey. We became more focused and involved in the mission of Christ outside of our church community. What started as a few ladies obediently offering $25 a month toward global missions has turned in to our church's connection to and support of 3 missionary families abroad. We volunteer with and are connected to God's Meal Barrel and New Hope Ministries locally and have engaged in other short term working trips in the US . The little church that could barely pay its own bills less than a decade ago, is now seeking to find more missionary families to support and striving to find more ways to bless and aid the people of our community.
The story doesn't end there either. We did sell our campground building and we are still working on that new building. We are temporarily holding service at Hickory Falls and we are still trusting in our Father's goodness. But we know through experience that this isn't really about a building. It's about learning to live in the light of a relationship that will last for eternity ... and the result: the lost are given purpose, the broken spirited are renewed, bad men are made good, lives are irrevocably changed, marriages are saved, families are united, lifelong wounds are healed, the rejected is welcomed, the life of the terminally ill is preserved, cancer is beaten, depression overcome, the grieving are comforted, addictions broken, the Spirit is present, our Father the Lord of All Creation draws near, and Jesus Christ our lord and redeemer is glorified! and yes, it's really like that.