FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The saying goes, “A church isn’t a building. It’s the people.” Pine Hills Church is proving that with their new branch on the south side of Fort Wayne.
Pine Hills City Church launched November 13 inside the City Life Center at 3701 S. Calhoun St. According to lead pastor Chris Freeman, 343 people attended the inaugural service.
The church is a mobile operation. They have no building to call their own. They’ll be setting up their church space inside the City Life Center every Sunday morning and tearing it down right after service. All their equipment arrives in two trailers.
A small team meets at the City Life Center at 7:00 a.m. to set up the stage, chairs, lights and audio equipment. Service is at 10:30 a.m. Their goal is to have everything torn down by 2:00 p.m.
“It’s really exciting,” Freeman said. “A lot of buzz in the room and just a great opportunity for us to meet some of our community here, make some new friends.”
Freeman is a Snider High School graduate who grew up on the Northeast side of town. His love for the south side developed when he attended Taylor University, a bible college in the area. He also interned at South Side High School. He said these experiences opened his eyes to Fort Wayne’s diversity.
“I may be biased, but in my opinion I think the South side very well might be the best side of Fort Wayne,” Freeman said.
After college, he worked as a youth pastor in Dayton for seven years. He said he then felt a calling from God to start a church on the south side of Fort Wayne. He later learned Pine Hills Church was looking to start a branch campus in that area. After a series of meetings, they decided the branch would have to be mobile.
“Here’s the reality: when you go to start a new church, it’s expensive,” he explained. “It costs a lot of money, especially if you’re going to buy a building.”
It also gives us the church the opportunity to invest their dollars and resources in the community rather than into a building.
With all of that considered, Freeman asked the staff at the City Life Center if they could utilize their building on Sundays.
Freeman said Pine Hill City Church will join the Fort Wayne South Side community in it’s mission to flourish.
“A lot of times it can get a pretty bad wrap,” he said.
He hopes to improve that through ministry. He explained there’s a “what” and a “why.” Their church is the “what.”
“The why is so that people who feel far from God can find him and realize that he loves them and he is for them,” he said.
Freeman believes the diverse community they’re creating is just like how heaven is depicted in the scriptures.
“What I see in the South Side of Fort Wayne is different nations, different languages, different people from different backgrounds and cultures and to me that’s exciting,” he said. “That’s a representation of the kingdom of heaven.”
Pine Hills City Church’s service is Sundays at 10:30 a.m.