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John Essy Launches New Church

CBC graduate, John Essy, pastor of Charis Church in State College, Pennsylvania. (Click to enlarge)Two years ago we introduced readers to John Essy, in an article titled God Rocked My World. John is a Charis Bible College graduate, and he is the founder of John Essy Ministries (JEM) located in State College, Pennsylvania. At the time of our first article about John, JEM was a para-church organization, but for the past 12 months John's ministry focus has shifted and he now leads a gathering of believers called, Charis Church. While the perception of his ministry has changed, his focus and role have not; he ministers the Word, prays and shares God's merciful love and grace with the people of State College.

John during a pre-service time of sharing personal testimonies and answering questions. (Click to enlarge)When John and his wife Leslie left Colorado to step into ministry in the Keystone State, planting and pastoring a church was the last thing on John's mind. However, as the years went by, he sensed the Lord refocusing the direction of his ministry. John first began to entertain thoughts of starting a church at the end of 2011, but he was reluctant to make the change and dismissed the idea, blaming it on his imagination. The prompting to plant a church not only remained, but it continued to grow. John finally acknowledged that the idea may be the Lord's. Conscious of his commitment to do whatever God asked of him, John said, "Okay Lord, I think this is you. I will start a church if that is what you want me to do."

Charis Church's new location in the Hope for Kids building, 1400 Fox Hill Rd, State College, PA 16803.
(Click to enlarge)
Three days later a close friend of John's, who operates proficiently in the prophetic, approached him and said, “The Lord told me to tell you that it is time for you to start a church.” At that point, John said it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he should move forward and start a church.

In February of 2012, John launched Charis Church in State College. In the early going, John ministered to a small, but steady crowd of 15 regular attendees. By early autumn the church was meeting in a hotel conference room, and the base of regular attendees had doubled. Growth continued and at the end of 2012, a Christian business woman recognized John's need for more space and offered the use of a large multipurpose room in her business complex. John's wife, Leslie, and daughter, Rachel, serving as part of the Charis' tech team. (Click to enlarge)At the beginning of 2013, John and Charis Church moved into the new space. Charis' new facility can accommodate 200 people.

Many of those in John's congregation are people who had previously stopped attending church for one reason or another. Often these people are the ones John sees break free from the bondage of religion when they receive the true Gospel of grace. He views the ones who find the freedom, as those who will be leaders in the church. "My vision is to establish these leaders in the grace message, for the next year or so, and then send them out to do the work of the ministry in the heart of our city," John said.

John's services are casual, relaxed and focused on the Word. (Click to enlarge)Most of his congregation loves the grace message, and John can see them growing by leaps and bounds in their relationships with the Lord, but John is also aware of some resistance in those new to grace. John said, "The true Gospel of grace, preached in its purest form, can be offensive to anyone who has even a little religion in them. For instance, I recently preached that sin does not stop the power of God from moving in a person’s life, no matter how big the sin—even adultery. I said that people can get healed even if they are having an adulterous relationship. You preach a message like that and you will have resistance. But like it or not, that’s the Gospel."

Although in appearance, John's ministry has taken on a new face, that of a church, his job description hasn't changed much in the crossover. He considers the shift an expansion of ministry he was already doing, only now he focuses on teaching in one location. The church posts most of John's Sunday messages on their website, so in essence, he is still bringing the Word to all who will listen, he's simply traveling via the internet.

Reader Comments (2)

I know how big God is, how He loves us unconditionally, but I must say that sin in anyone's life, no matter who it is, IS going to hinder your walk with God. It may not affect God's attitude towards us, but it will affect our attitude towards God. It is very hard to have something like adultery on ones conscience and be effective for Jesus! Andrew taught just this week on how sin is stupid, sin is emotional and can lead to great loss. He used as an example, evangelists and great men of God of our generation who blew off their prestige, their income, their influence for a cheap thrill! God has forgiven them and still use them, but their influence will never be what it was at one time. How sad for them, their families and for the Body of Christ.

It is vitallly important to keep a clear conscience towards God. If it violates your conscience, then don't do it! If you have lapsed, then thank God that you are the righteousness of God, go to Him, who set the standard 70x7 in one day for forgiveness, realize that He has already forgiven you that sin, and then (in the case of adultery) break it off! Make a clean cut of it, and then don't go back! (refer to Proverbs chapter two) Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery, but then admonished her to 'go and sin no more.'

We must be careful (as Andrew has said) not to get into a ditch in the area of grace. God wants the very best for us and sleeping around with someone elses mate has the potential of destroying your marriage, their marriage, hurts children for even generations to come, and violates the true law of love. Love does not want what others have.

It is true that God used Rahab, the prostitute, He used David, the adulterer and murderer, and Paul, who murdered Christians. I am sure you are showing that no matter how far anyone has fallen, God can still use them, and you are not advocating sin, but showing how merciful God is. But there were great turnarounds, repentance in their lives.

March 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEleanor Lock

Well, I have re-read my post, and believe that ultimately you are correct in your assessment that God can and will use people who are in sin, practicing sin, and still get people healed, set free and delivered.

There are so many examples of that, Kathryn Kuhlman, Aimee Semple McPherson, a man whose last name is Branam, (I think) A. A. Allen (who had problems with alcohol) and on the list goes.
Like I said in my previous post, God can still use them, because it is the Word that delivers people, you are not advocating sin, you are just showing how merciful God is.

I believe that it is important to listen to our conscience, and be sensitive to it. I believe anyone will be a better minister of the Good News by avoiding the traps of a sinful life. I think the above were effective in ministry in spite of, (of course) not because of their involvement in sin.

Sin hardens hearts, if we accept compromise into our lives, it gets easier and easier to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who ultimately has our good in mind for our lives. Obedience always leads to a good end!

Blessings to you.

March 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEleanor Lock

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