Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19-20)
The First Alliance Church of Columbus began quietly, with no fanfare, in 1896, after a handful of local Christians attended the Christian and Missionary Alliance Convention at nearby Beulah Park. The crowd’s passionate commitment to make Jesus Christ known from Columbus to the ends of the earth reverberated in the visitors’ own hearts. Immediately, the little group began meeting in private homes on Sundays and weeknights. Within months the home meetings had swollen to such proportions that it became necessary to rent a storeroom on the corner of Monroe and Mt. Vernon Avenues. And still people came. The little congregation continued to reach out to its neighbors and in 1900, they built their first real church on Garfield Avenue. Within 30 years, the church needed a bigger facility, and they moved to the corner of Third Avenue and Mt. Pleasant Street. (Reaching out has practical as well as spiritual consequences!)
In time, the congregation sensed that God was again pushing out their borders, so in 1971, First Alliance Church purchased a plot of land at the corner of Sawmill and West Henderson Roads. It was a huge step of faith, because the location was really “out in the boonies!” Henderson and Sawmill were a a couple of seldom-traveled two-lane roads! In any direction, there were only cornfields, a few old houses, and an occasional cow. It was hardly a neighborhood!
Some forty-five years later, the vicinity of Sawmill and Henderson has exploded into a vast suburban community! There are malls, fast food restaurants, gas stations, apartments and condos; there are residents of every ethnicity, language, and nationality. And First Alliance Church remains committed to reaching all its neighbors with the Good News of Jesus Christ. In addition to Sunday worship, families come to Sunshine Nursery School, to AWANA (a scripture memory club for kids), Vacation Bible School, international potlucks, garage sales, and men’s basketball. Immigrants come for free English conversation classes during the week. First Alliance is a very busy place.
In the 120 years since its unremarkable beginning, First Alliance Church has faithfully and obediently proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. People from all walks of life have experienced the saving work of Christ’s death on the cross, becoming new creations in the eyes of God. We have seen people healed from sickness, delivered from afflictions, set free from addictions–all through the power of prayer in the Name of Jesus. Yes, in 120 years the neighborhoods have changed, the neighbors themselves have certainly changed, and even our ways of reaching have changed to stay relevant to the time, the place, and the people. But our Message has never–and will never change: that God loved YOU so much that He willingly sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die in your place, so that YOU could spend eternity with Him. Isn’t that Good News!