The City Church Story
Thoughts of City Church began in 2007 when Pastor Joey began to dream about planting a church that reflected the narrative of the early church in the book of Acts. He dreamt of a church that not only shared their belongings with one another, but a body of believers who would do the same for the community in which they lived. After 7 more years of student ministry, the Cook family decided to uproot their family from their hometown in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and travel to the suburbs of Dallas to witness church planting first-hand and undergo extensive training for the mission that God was calling them to. In July of 2013, Joey discovered a video (The Campfire Story) that captured the feel of the kind of Acts chapter 2 culture that God was calling him to create.
The next week, a local church donated the facility located at 1950 South Boulevard to fledging new church that, at the time, only existed in theory. God had opened a door in Central Arkansas that would later result in a thriving community of believers dedicated to carrying the good news of Jesus into the dark areas of her city.
After an unbelievably affirming phone conversation with a close friend/mentor, the Cook's packed their bags and sold their house in 1 day and moved in with a childhood friend and his wife who now serves as a directional leader of City Church. After only 2 short weeks of living in Conway, the church launched on the campus of UCA under the name of College City Church with 73 college students, two families, and two children. After outgrowing the Chapel on their first Sunday, the church decided to take their gathering outside to the amphitheater at the center of UCA's campus. After a bout with rain, the church began to gather at the House on South, a building that was given to the church as a "paid in full" gift for $1! A few months into their new location, the pastor's prayer partners exited their pre-service prayer meetingto find a line of couples waiting to drop their children off in the back bedroom of the house that was being used as a makeshift children's ministry space. After outgrowing the house with 100 attenders, the church moved to Ida Waldran Auditorium in the historic Old Main building on the campus of UCA. The auditorium was to be closed on College City Church's first Easter, a Sunday when a record crowd was expected. In an act of despair, Pastor Joey spent the afternoon driving around the city, crying out to God to provide a place for his people to gather to celebrate the resurrection of their Savior. Joey's drive ended in the parking lot of the Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, where he volunteered the infant church to assist the club in a couple of upcoming projects. That week, the director decided to take a chance and allow the church to meet at the facility on Easter. That Sunday, 160 people showed up to worship Jesus and see what the buzz was all about! A few weeks later, The Board of Directors at the Club rewrote the By-Laws to allow College City Church to gather at their facility on a weekly basis. During it's inaugural year, College City Church had the privilege of seeing over a dozen people come to know Jesus as Savior and baptize 20 people in 4 different locations, including the Farris Center pool on the campus of UCA, cattle troughs located at the amphitheater and House on South and Fountain Lake, which compliments the Conway youth baseball field and Boys and Girls Club facility.
At the end of August 2014, College City Church celebrated it's one year birthday with 300 attenders and the launch of 10 "City Groups" throughout Faulkner County. These groups continue to meet weekly to unpack scripture and experience authentic community together. In the Fall of 2014, the directional leadership team and it's newly developed pastoral team decided to shift the phrase "College City" exclusively to it's collegiate gathering on Thursday nights at the House on South and adopt the name "City Church" to better reflect the diverse age, race, and socio-economic demographics that characterize this body of Christ-followers.
Since the beginning, City Church exists to call Conway to Christ-Centered Community and anticipates what God has in store in the months and years to come!