by Terry Rogers
UNITED Church launched in September 2015 and over the past four years has grown to more than 2,000 members. Recently, the church decided to begin holding services in Milford to make it easier for those attending the church from Sussex County.
“We opened in the Schwartz Center in Dover, but very quickly outgrew that location,” Pastor Zach Childress, the Milford campus pastor, explained. “We were able to work out an agreement with Dover High School but we found that people were driving a long way to attend our church services. We had people driving from Bethany Beach to Dover each Sunday, over an hour and a half one way. We knew we had to make some changes as this was not sustainable for them and we would be unable to meet the needs of their community.”
After looking at several towns in lower Delaware, the church felt that Milford would be the most convenient. Pastor Zach explained that there are not a lot of meeting places large enough in Milford and since UNITED is a mobile church, they wanted to be sure they could accommodate as many people as possible. Currently, UNITED has an agreement with Milford High School to hold services there on Sunday at 9:15 AM.
“We launched on September 15 and had 600 people attend services,” Pastor Zach said. “Not only that, 111 of them were attending our church for the first time. We would love to take credit for this growth but we know we are seeing God do great things.”
According to Pastor Zach, what makes UNITED different is that they focus on community events that will promote the Word of God and give back to those who are less fortunate. The church motto is to “Love Delaware until their heart beats like His,” and they go about achieving this by helping others. Last year, the church gave over 200 coats to children at Banneker who were identified as being in need.
“Currently, we are ‘Mulching for Morris,’ a project that we are finishing in a few weeks,” Pastor Zach said. “We finished the playground a few weeks ago but the school noticed some other areas where mulch could be added so we are headed back again to finish the project. At the Riverwalk, we had people dressed in costumes like Cinderella, Wonder Woman and Elmo, walking around and letting kids get photos. We had a booth with a beanbag toss that if you won, you got cookies from Dolce. That was just another example of how we are not only supporting the people of our community but local businesses as well. We are doing some really fun, creative things for the parade this year.”
Services are also unique with a strong focus on music. The goal of each service is to demonstrate God’s gifts and talents, allowing all in attendance to experience and encounter Christ while also helping them be part of something bigger and better than themselves.
UNITED Church was founded by Kenneth Wagner who grew up in North Carolina. After graduating from Southern Wesleyan University with a degree in ministry, Pastor Kenneth married his wife, Sherry, and the couple moved to Harrington where he became the Lead Student Pastor of Calvary Wesleyan Church. Pastor Kenneth, with the blessing of Pastor Ken Figgs at Calvary Wesleyan, launched UNITED Church in Dover after seven years in Harrington. Just a few months after starting UNITED, Pastor Kenneth and Sherry welcomed a son, Jase.
“He wanted to create a church that if the church closed, the city would miss it,” Pastor Zach said. “Our dream is to have expressions of UNITED Church all over the state. Milford is a great step. It is longer for us to travel but it is worth it to make it easier for our members. We continue to have services in Dover at 9:15 and 11 AM as well as the service in Milford at 9:15 AM. All are welcome at any service.”
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