Church Highlight: Church at the Park

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Your name: Raphael Yon 

Your spouse’s name: Wife: Amica Yon

Children: Seth Yon, Faith Yon

Name of all members on your church planting team: Elders: Eric Bowens and Quincy Brown Staff: Larry Bowens, Tony Thorpe, Amica Yon, Latonya Brown, Carma Hooper,Tunisha Thorpe andGabrielle Cleveland

Name of your church plant: Church At The Park

Location of church plant: Durham, NC

Date church was planted: February 17, 2010

Name of partnering church(es): Second Baptist, Lancaster, SC is our sponsoring church. We also partner with Freedom Church, Greenville, NC; Disciples of Grace Church, Rural Hall, NC

What are the reasons you decided to plant a church in your city? The reason we decided to plant a church in our city is because we felt a strong leading of the Holy Spirit to plant a church in the central border of the cities of Durham and Raleigh, NC. We began praying for our city and asking God to give us resources and vision to reach the people in our city. God answered our request to the brokenness in our city: “the Gospel”. The solution for Durham was plain. The answer was Jesus Christ. 

Later we discovered that our city is rich with tech companies and universities, including places like Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State. Wake County Economic Development newsletter states, “within the Research Triangle Region, Wake County is the largest and fastest growing county in the area. Its population of more than 925,000 continues to expand at a pace of 65 people per day. The reason for this impressive growth is simple: “smart people want to live and work with like-minded professionals in a community that is well positioned for the future.”

Our city needs a church who preaches the gospel, lives out the gospel, is willing to break bread, and shares a common purpose for the gospel. We planted a church in our city because we believe Jesus lived life the way it was meant to be lived and because of that love he had for others, we do life, like Jesus in our city.

What have you seen the Lord do in and through your church plant so far? We have seen God transform a homeless brother out of a broke down car into a furnished apartment with no job and then later bless him with three jobs.

We’ve seen God free people from alcohol and drug addictions. We have witnessed restoration of marriages and relationships with Jesus deepen. God has showered families with financial blessings and singles with new jobs. We have baptized ages ranging from 5 to 68 years old.

What do you hope to see the Lord do in and through your church plant in the future? We want to see over 5,000 lives change by the gospel.

We’re praying about launching a leadership development program among the African-American churches.  We have identified our next church planter and are praying to plant our first church plant in Greensboro, NC.  

What advice do you have for future church planters? My advice for future church planters is to adhere to a pastor/mentor, develop a solid prayer life and recruit prayer partners. Seek God for vision, implement a mission statement and carve out simple vision goals for your family before you plant a church.

What else would you like to share with the readers of our blog? We are not designed to live our lives alone.  We need community. We need one another.  We need Jesus!

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