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Published: Saturday, 7/10/2004

Family Christian Center has its first home

BY DAVID YONKE
BLADE RELIGION EDITOR
Co-pastors Crystal and Dan Rogers, who will host an open house today at their new church in Sylvania Township, want the facility to be used for ministry around the clock. Co-pastors Crystal and Dan Rogers, who will host an open house today at their new church in Sylvania Township, want the facility to be used for ministry around the clock.
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The Rev. Dan Rogers and his wife, the Rev. Crystal Rogers, pioneered and have served as co-pastors of Toledo's Family Christian Center for 20 years.

Today, the church is planning to throw a party because, for the first time, it actually has its own building. An open house is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the new location, 2728 North King Rd. in Sylvania Township.

A dedication service will be held 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.

"In 20 years, we have always rented or co-existed with another church," Mr. Rogers said. "We've been looking for a space, but we couldn't find what we were looking for."

Does it feel different to have a building after two decades of renting?

"I thought I was going to feel really weird at first, but it's the added ingredient we needed," Mr. Rogers said.

He believes it was God's favor that made it possible to obtain the building.

"A parishioner was driving down King Road and saw a Realtor putting up a for-sale sign. That was on a Tuesday or Wednesday. We walked through the building on Saturday."

The facility had been owned by the Northwest Ohio Baptist Association, which moved its headquarters to Waterville. Mr. Rogers called the group to discuss terms and everything quickly fell into place.

Family Christian Center purchased the building and two-acre lot for $165,000, he said.

The church had been averaging about 40 at its Sunday morning service but the new facility is set up with chairs for 100 and can easily accommodate 20 more.

As a pastor who learned to make use of church space that otherwise would sit idle, Mr. Rogers wants to make his new facility available to other area Christian ministries that don't have their own facility.

"We want to have round-the-clock service going on," he said. "Our goal is to have the building used consistently. We want to talk to churches that don't have a building and tell them that if they need a place for a wedding or for baptisms, they can come here and use it for ministry."

Family Christian Center has undertaken several projects that go beyond its four walls, including an outreach to residents of a 425-home trailer park in Holland.

"We started about three years ago, just ministering to them and loving them," Mr. Rogers said. "We have sponsored parkwide picnics, brought in live bands, and fed the entire community.

"We aren't there to proselytize and convert everybody, we're just pouring our love on that community," he said. "We want God to bless that community."

The church also has been involved with Toledo Urban Mission in sponsoring a program for youth called "Flight School," which meets at a location on Angola Road west of Crissey Road.

Family Christian Center will be planting a new church in that area sometime in 2005, and is currently training a pastor to lead the congregation, Mr. Rogers said.

"Our model of ministry is to get ministries happening outside of this roof and out in the community," he said.

A native of Lorain, Ohio, Mr. Rogers graduated from Life Bi

Crissey Road.

Family Christian Center will be planting a new church in that area sometime in 2005, and is currently training a pastor to lead the congregation, Mr. Rogers said.

"Our model of ministry is to get ministries happening outside of this roof and out in the community," he said.

A native of Lorain, Ohio, Mr. Rogers graduated from Life Bible College East in Christianburg, Va., which is a Foursquare institution.

A champion wrestler, Mr. Rogers was third in the state when he wrestled in the 155-pound weight class for Lorain's Clearview High. He said he turned down a wrestling scholarship to the University of Michigan to attend Bible school because "I knew God was calling me."

The district supervisor of the International Foursquare Church of the Gospel called them and asked them to consider moving to the Toledo area to pastor a church in Northwood.

Mr. Rogers, who also works as the director of men's ministries at the Cherry Street Mission, and his wife moved to Toledo from Maine in 1984.

"You know it has to be God when you move from Maine to Toledo," he said with a laugh.

Contact David Yonke at:

dyonke@theblade.com

or 419-724-6154



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