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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.
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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.


God Rocked My World

CBC graduate, John Essy the founder of, John Essy Ministries in Central Pennsylvania.
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As a young man John Essy had an experience with God when one of his college professors led him in a prayer of salvation. But, having grown up in a non-Christian home, John had no one in his life to mentor or instruct him; he continued to live his life as he always had, even becoming a bit more rowdy as he grew older. “I believed Jesus was God and He died for my sins, but my outward life was not a reflection of the inward transformation that had taken place,” John explained.

In May of 1993 John was invited by a friend to a midweek church service. During the service John rededicated his life to the Lord and was radically changed in that moment. John and his wife Leslie.
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“God rocked my world! All I wanted to do after that was read my bible and go to church,” John said.

As John saturated himself with the Word, major changes began to manifest in his life. During this time he heard the Lord tell him to go to Bible College and prepare for ministry. In addition, the Lord also surrounded John with a group of wonderful spirit filled believers, through whom he was introduced to Andrew's ministry. John listened to one of Andrew’s tapes and was hooked. “I had not heard faith taught with such simplicity. Not only that, Andrew seemed so normal. He was just like me—normal,” John said. He listened to Andrew’s Life For Today—Romans Edition many times over and the verse by verse teaching on Romans facilitated tremendous revelation in his life and gave him a true understanding of grace and faith.

John has had the opportunity to minister outside the US as a missionary several times. Here is the view from the platform as he spoke in Zambia.
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In 1997, John and his wife, Leslie decided it was time to move their family, which included their three small children, to Colorado Springs so John could attend Charis Bible College (CBC). John gave up an excellent job working for a major airline, yet he and his wife felt confident that the Lord would provide; and provide He did. When John and his family were settled in Colorado Springs, he started a small hardwood flooring business to support his family. “We had some hardships early on, but we stayed faithful to the calling, kept focused on the Word, worked hard, and God did what He is so good at—He prospered us like crazy,” John shared.

Here John (far left) is part of a CBC missions team visiting Kyrgyzstan.
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After graduating in May of 1999, John and his wife felt called to begin their ministry on the east coast of the United States. Of course, before they could leave, there was the issue of how to handle their thriving small business. By August of 1999, God brought them a buyer. The Essys were soon on their way to Pennsylvania with enough proceeds to pay off all of their debt with enough left over for a substantial down payment on a new house, and a five-year stipend that brought in a monthly income to help support them in their new endeavor. Praise God!

Today John’s ministry is making a difference in peoples lives across Pennsylvania. John and his wife enjoy setting people free by sharing God’s unconditional love and grace with them. John ministering in Kyrgyzstan with the aide of an interpreter. (Click to enlarge) John is amazed by how many people he has encountered who have not yet heard the Gospel of grace. Through his ministry he has seen blind eyes opened, backs and knees healed, and babies with a terminal diagnosis made well. “What Jesus did is so complete that it is beyond human reasoning. If you convey that message to people clearly and concisely it is limitless what God will do in and through them. God’s unconditional love and grace is the Gospel.”

To learn more about John and to find his speaking schedule visit, John Essy Ministries.