MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Some churches have been around for decades or centuries. Some just a few weeks or months. They all start somewhere. This morning we’re talking with Reid Guy with The Port Church in Chickasaw. How old is your congregation and how do you start?
Guest: Our congregation is 7 months old. We held our first service on January 24th of this year in our backyard with about 25 people.
Anchor: Why does one decide to start a church? What need does it fill that you feel may not be addressed in the community?
Guest: I think first and foremost I would say, it was pretty clear to my wife Lori and I that God had called us to start The Port Church. After about two years of prayer and research, we saw an area here that needed a church for the community. What we found was that the area we are in, once was a very affluent area with big churches. However, over a period of time, the demographics of this area changed, but the churches didn’t. Now, you can drive through the communities we are trying to reach, and you can see churches that have closed or struggling to reach people.
For us, we have seen that people are looking for authentic relationships, especially after COVID. We believe we are a church where people can come and be themselves. They can wear the clothes they wanted to wear, their hair can be whatever they want. They can bring their hurts, habits, and hang-ups, they can bring their sin and not be judged and not be chastised. They will be welcome and they will be allowed to work through their process of knowing Jesus. I believe we are all looking for something like that.
Anchor: I hate to compare a church to a business but finances are necessary to support any ministry–how does a church go from start-up to solvent?
Guest: I think comparing a church to a business is a very fair comparison. In fact, a church should be run like a business in a way. For both, there must be some type of startup capital. Where business owners may go to a bank or investors for start-up capital, we go to our own investors. We lean on other churches, businesses, or individuals who want to invest in the Gospel and have the heart to see people reached for Jesus. Like businesses have a business plan, we have our own strategy, and we believe that if we can see this strategy realized, then in 3 years we will be a self-sustaining church.
Anchor: What have you learned in this journey starting a church?
Guest: You don’t need the bells and whistles, you don’t need the traditions, and you don’t need the big buildings to let God work. Most of our growth came when we were meeting in our backyard. I’ve also learned that as a church, we can create obstacles in buildings, traditions, and programs, that distract others from Jesus. From a church standpoint, we have learned to step back and let God work and we have witnessed some incredible life change in the short life of The Port Church.