Remember, when you were a kid and you tried to run downhill? It was fun at first, feeling like you were running as fast as you ever had. Then, at some point, you realize that you're throwing your legs in front of you as fast as you can so that you don't crash to the ground.
That's how this church planting journey feels! We're running way faster than we ever could on our own, and we're striving just to keep up with all that God has planned for us - and all that He is doing.
Through a number of God-appointed and God-providing occurrences and opportunities it became clear that He was calling a group of people to plant a new Alliance church in Cheektowaga. We're simply joining in a work He began a few years ago.
PJ and Sandra Bogoniewski grew up in the Buffalo area. After moving to a family farm shortly after being married, they moved to Rome NY to serve as a full-time pastor with the Alliance - and then to Athens OH. In January of 2016, through a long and complicated chain of events (which could only be explained as God's timing), the Lord brought PJ, Sandra, and Seth back to WNY. About this same time, the Alliance was looking for new cities to plant churches.
After a few meetings to explore the possibility of planting a new Alliance church in Cheektowaga it was clear that this was the Lord's will. The next step was to develop a plan. After meeting with a few coaches, and consulting others who had planted churches in WNY, the plan began to take shape.
The first step was to develop partnerships with churches who wanted to be part of this new church plant. There are already five Alliance churches in WNY. They, along with three other non-Alliance churches offered to follow the Lord's leading to help out. We did this during the summer of 2016.
The next step was to recruit a CORE team of leaders. These mature disciples, gleaned from the partnership churches, were sent from their existing churches to be part of the new Alliance Church of Cheektowaga. A group of about 20 began to meet on Sunday nights to learn the WHAT, HOW, and WHY of this new church. We first met on January 1, 2017 and spent an entire year training for our public launch.
As our time of training gained momentum, we began to recruit a LAUNCH team and put a public launch date on the calendar. Ideally, this team would be about 100 people who were willing to be part of our new church for a year. This would allow us to have enough people at the start of our church plant to give our ministries a "jump start." Then, as new people came into the new church plant over the first year, they would return to their sending churches. Although we didn't have our intended LAUNCH team, we planned to launch our ministries and Sunday morning worship service on January 7, 2018.
The next barrier to cross was, "Where do we meet?" There simply aren't many buildings that are good places for churches to meet except for churches and schools. We looked into over 40 potential locations and finally settled on meeting in the banquet rooms at the Airport Holiday Inn.
After meeting at the Holiday Inn for close to a year, we decided to change our location and time for our worship service. The people at Centerpointe Community Church have been more than a blessing to us! They've invited us to share space with them. We're currently meeting to worship on Sunday nights at Centerpointe from 6-8PM.
We're a young church, but we're growing. YOU'RE INVITED to come and grow with us and be part of the next chapter the Lord is writing in the story of His Church.