Founding Members: (Steve & Rachel Anderson, Jerry & Marian Cotton, Rex & Jennifer Nystrom, Eric & Angela McCoun, Robin & Carole Bower, Steve & Stephanie Jordan, Ken Lowery, Phil & Jeanne Smith, Kevin & Jill Schad, and David & Gina Stacy)
Christ Fellowship started with about ten families as a church plant. We started this church plant after Christ’s Church at Mason tried to help another local church (Little Miami Christian) grow. Unfortunately, after Mason hired a preacher to lead, LMC fired him and decided to go on independently without Mason’s help. So those who were working to build up the church decided to start a church plant in the Maineville area. Mason agreed to help us support a part-time preacher temporarily. At that time, all we had was a part-time preacher (Phil Smith) and a volunteer worship director (Rachel Anderson).
After many weeks of planning in basements and living rooms of our “group”, we decided to make it official. April 20th 2008, our first church service was held at the Village on the Green clubhouse under the name of Christ Fellowship at Little Miami (Jerry Cotton and Rachel Anderson came up with the name). After only a few weeks of services, Steve & Judy Walker visited us. Steve and Judy attended Salt Run Christian and wanted to meet with us to discuss the potential of combining churches. At that time, Salt Run was struggling. For various reasons, their leadership had gone on to other things, and the church was about to go under. We had leadership in place and they had a congregation and a building (the warehouse behind the Shell Station at the corner of Rt 48 and Grandin Road), they asked if we would be willing to combine.
We all voted and determined it would be beneficial for both churches. Salt Run also agreed to merge with us under the name of Christ Fellowship.
In 2009, Christ’s Church at Mason offered to pay Phil Smith (our preacher) as a full-time employee, considering us a satellite church. We agreed. Initially, this was beneficial to us, but they made some decisions we disagreed with, including firing Phil Smith, our preacher. Mason told us they would supply substitute preachers while looking for a new preacher. One of the substitute preachers was David Hennig, who had a business called Magician with a Mission.
When Christ’s Church at Mason leadership was unable to find and hire a preacher, they decided it would be in our best interest if we shut down for a year while they looked for a suitable, permanent preacher. At that time, about 35 families were attending Christ Fellowship. So, we met, counted the cost, and voted to strike out on our own, supporting David Hennig as a part-time preacher and paying rent and utilities for the building.
From 2008 to 2012, Christ Fellowship remained in the warehouse and experienced Spiritual growth, but the building limited numerical growth. Because we were so new, we installed a Steering Committee (Steve Walker, Ken Lowery, Steve Jordan, Greg Hennecke, Steve Anderson) to lead the church instead of elders.
End of March 2012, our building lease contract was almost up, and we had a decision to make. We could renew our lease for another couple of years, or we find another location. Ken Lowery worked hard to find a new place for us. He spoke with the owners of almost nine acres of property in a great location and negotiated a spectacular deal with them. Not only did we find a new place of worship, we were now landowners and no longer throwing money away on a monthly lease. To top it off, our new monthly mortgage was less than the monthly rental at the warehouse. The only caveat, we had only one week to tear down and move everything from the warehouse to our current location on U.S. Rt. 22 & St. Rt. 3 (22 & 3).
After about 10 truckloads some with trailers in tow, over 30 + volunteers, many hours of hard labor installing a worship platform, building a crow’s nest, installing overhead projectors, painting and carpeting the church; we had completed the move in 6 days. From holding worship service in a warehouse building to worshiping our God in a pole barn with a hog barn behind the worship building, an old farmhouse and tons of trees in the parking lot, we were all blessed and excited to hold the first service at our new location on Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012.
In 2015, we moved from a church led by a Steering Committee to a church led by Shepherds (Elders). The Shepherd dedication service was held on January 4, 2015, and the first Shepherds were Steve Walker, Ken Lowery, Steve Anderson, and David Hennig.
From 2012 – 2019 we experienced exponential physical growth and spiritual growth. We had to go to two services. We had 200 people in attendance and offered many life groups. We reached a size that we felt we needed to build. So, we met with architects to design a new building and began work on financing. Unfortunately, the Adversary wasn’t happy with our growth. After a great deal of spiritual pain, the church family had to part ways with David Hennig in 2019.
The Pulpit Committee and the Shepherds spent much time in prayer, searching for a replacement preacher. We had many great substitute preachers for our services that year. Then on June 21, 2020, Father’s Day, Ben Walker became our new full-time preacher.
Between the loss of David, the start-up of Ben, and the Covid-19 pandemic, Christ Fellowship experienced a decrease in attendance. We dropped to under 100 in attendance and fell back to one service. For a short time, we had to close our doors because of Covid. However, we began to stream our services online, thanks to the expertise of Floyd Resler, our inhouse IT expert and fellow Shepherd. After a month, the Shepherds decided that worshipping together is vital to our Christian walk, so we re-opened the church.
In April 2020, after the Covid closure, Christ Fellowship started growing again. Praise be to God. The Word is being preached in a fresh new way. Our currently staff is committed to serving the Lord and the people at CFLM. They are Ben Walker (Pastor), Shawn Issacs (Associate Pastor), Rachel Anderson (Music Ministry), Matthew Hennecke (Youth Ministry), Jackie Cebulskie (Sunday morning Children’s Ministry), Judi McDaniel (Wednesday evening Children’s Ministry), and Lisa Walker (Nursery). We are currently back to two services and over 200 in attendance. Praise be to God.
In 2023 or sooner Lord willing we will revisit new building plans. We are excited to see what God has planned for CFLM. God is Good!