In the summer of 2001, Jeremy & Lori Drake opened up their home for a weekly Bible study. After several weeks, the Lord spoke to the heart of Jeremy and Lori to establish a new church. Pastor Jeremy’s initial response to the Lord was, “this area doesn’t need another church, because there is one on almost every street corner”. But the Lord told him to build a church with an emphasis on “love” and “family”. Again, he prayed to God, “If you will give me some provision (people, building, finances, etc.) then I will get a vision for this.” He felt the Lord speak to his heart again and say, “get a vision first, then I will give you the provision!”
So, on October 20, 2001, Eastside Family Church held their first service in a little room of a mini strip mall in Maryville, IL. There were only 40 chairs and 34 showed up the first Sunday without any advertisement! After another week, EFC moved into the Coligny Professional Complex in Collinsville, IL where it stayed until October of 2002 and grew to a congregation of 65 attendees.
One year later, another big step was taken… Abundant Blessings Church of Troy, IL merged with Eastside Family Church. Jack & Jan Walter founded Abundant Blessings Church which had been in existence for almost 15 years. The Drakes and Walters became very close friends and felt the leading of the Lord to bring the churches together.
It is important to note that two years before their meeting one another, Jack had received a prophecy that a young man would come into his life and work with him in the ministry. Although he had met several young men in the ministry, after meeting Jeremy & Lori, the Walters felt a confirmation in their hearts that the prophecy was coming to pass.
Therefore, in June of 2002 the Walters approached the Drakes and told them how God had spoken to them about merging the churches. After 4 months of prayer and many meetings, the congregations of Abundant Blessings Church and Eastside Family Church were joined in a special ceremony that took place on October 21st, 2002. It was exactly one year after the conception of the original Eastside Family Church.
This fulfilled the prophecy given to the Walters as well as a prophecy given to Jeremy in September of 2001 in which the Lord told him “Not to let his age cause doubt about whether people would accept him. God would give him influence with men much older than himself and that it would begin to happen immediately.”
At the time of the joining of the churches, Jeremy was 29 years old and Jack was 59. It was decided willingly by Jack that Jeremy would serve as Senior Pastor and he himself would serve as Executive Pastor, administrating the church. Not exactly a normal situation now is it? That is how God works. Remember, it says in the Bible that, “God uses the foolish things of the world to confuse the wise”. His ways are not our ways.
The Church began to grow and establish its identity. Pastor Jack mentored Pastor Jeremy and then in the spring of 2004, the Walters moved out of the area to establish a new mentoring ministry called, T.E.A.M. Ministries. The Walters remain as extended members of the church and come back to minister periodically.
Eastside Family Church moved into the former Abundant Blessings Church facility in Troy, IL in October of 2002 and stayed until September 2006. Recognizing the limitations of growth in the facility and purchasing ground for a future site, EFC left the location at 200 Collinsville Rd in Troy and began holding services in a skating rink until July of 2008. EFC moved again to the Maryville YMCA to facilitate more space for classrooms.
In the fall of 2008, the economy was in a major decline, and the church was unable to raise the finances needed to build on the five acre piece of property it had purchased on Troy O’Fallon Rd. south of Troy, Illinois. The church did not own a facility to operate in, was still mobile, and relatively unknown in the area. Many who would find the church and attend called it, “the best secret in town”.
Pastor Jeremy and some of the leadership began talking about making two particular changes. One was to seek out a new location to purchase property in Collinsville with good exposure and room to expand. Collinsville is where most of the members resided, where we were more connected in the community, and where we felt we could make the greatest impact.
The other change discussed was a new name. We felt a name change would be good to inject momentum and a fresh start into the congregation. Too many people had never heard of our church and many upon hearing our name (Eastside Family Church) thought we were in East St. Louis, Illinois. So, in October of 2009, we became known as CenterPointe Church.
In February of 2010, we purchased the Latham School Building, at 2200 Vandalia Street in Collinsville, from the Collinsville School District. It marked the first time in our existence that we owned a facility. The old school remains our current location, where we are remodeling the building and have room to expand on its almost four acres of property. It sits on one of the busiest traffic roads in Collinsville.
Over its brief history, our church has seen God do many great miracles! Sick people have been healed, families put back together, and most of all many have found new life by becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.
Today, CenterPointe Church is full of people from all walks of life who are growing as a family. We look forward to remodeling and expanding our facility which will allow us to grow and house the vision that God gave us. Through the years, Jesus has always been the center of it all, and people have been the point of why we do it.