West Hartford, Connecticut
"Thank you, AGTrust and The Church Multiplication Network, for your continued investment to multiply God's church across the United States. We count it a privilege to be partnered with you in God's mission!"
Co-lead Pastors Brad and Christan Causey and their 13-member launch team planted Essence Place church (Assemblies of God) in West Hartford, Connecticut, one of the least religiously affiliated regions in the nation.
"We serve an unchurched and de-churched community," says Pastor Brad. "We have a lot of walls, obstacles, and barriers to overcome to help people find their way to Christ. And yet, we are seeing God move in miraculous ways.
In Hartford, Connecticut, one of the least religiously affiliated regions in the nation, the vision of Essence Place is to see people's lives transformed now and for eternity by sharing with them the love of Christ.
"People who had given up on the church, some who had given up on God, and many who did not understand who God is have come and experienced the unconditional love of Christ and are seeing their lives transformed."
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Essence Place was already intentionally leaving their building on some Sundays to go beyond their walls to reach their community for Christ.
One year ago Essence Place was given the opportunity to move into a two-unit space in a shared commercial building. This allowed them to participate in community experiences and discipleship opportunities during the week.
"One of our favorite events is SUNDAY FUNDAY," Pastor Brad Causey says. Each year at the start of the school year, the people at Essence Place leave the church building to host a community event in a local park. Their purpose and vision is to move beyond the walls to the community on a Sunday morning and preach the gospel without words by loving people and serving the community.
Each year at the start of the school year, the people at Essence Place leave the church building to host a community event they call SUNDAY FUNDAY in a local park.
Rather than making it a church service outdoors, Essence Place offers a day of fun with games, a bounce house, food, face painting and prizes.
The consistent reaction from those attending is that they are surprised it's free, that the church was willing to take a break from "Sunday service," and that everyone is welcome.
"What's the catch?" they ask. "There is no catch," says Pastor Brad. "This outreach gives us the opportunity to love on people in a practical way, through conversation and serving others."
Essence Place is celebrating a church that is growing in faith and relationship together, and impacting the world through missions and outreach.
"We may still hit some hard obstacles of finances and people resources," Pastor Brad says, "but God is faithful and continues to provide. We are grateful to AGTrust and CMN for the Matching Funds that helped jumpstart our church plant and for CMN's coaching and resources.
"People willing to partner with God in the support of new churches being planted are a vital part of bringing the gospel into much needed areas. While the investors will never fully see the depth of impact their giving is making, people's lives are being transformed now and for eternity."
Intentionally going to the community gives Essence Place church the opportunity to love on people in a practical way, through conversation and serving others.
Co-Lead Pastors Brad and Christan Causey are ordained Assemblies of God ministers. Both are graduates of Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., and Brad completed a master's degree from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Prior to planting Essence Place, Brad and Christan served on staff at Evangel Assembly in Wilbraham, Mass. They have three children.
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Essence Place is one of 550 churches your gifts have helped plant
across America through the Matching Funds.