By Chris Moon
Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, Md., is opening a new campus northeast of Baltimore—expanding its community center church model with its second “Epicenter” facility.
The church will launch its Aberdeen campus in the fall of 2020 after its 9,000-square-foot worship building, which will be added to a local shopping mall, is complete.
But even before that, the church-affiliated Epicenter at Aberdeen will open; the Epicenter will offer before- and after-school childcare and workforce development services for the community. Other community services will be added later.
“It became very clear very quickly that God’s choice was Aberdeen,” Jared Fox, Mountain Christian Church’s director of campuses, told Christian Standard.
This will be the second Epicenter to open. The first was launched in 2013 in the nearby town of Edgewood; that Epicenter is connected to MCC’s Edgewood campus.
The Epicenter was designed to draw in the community for a range of services—including childcare, employment help, care for the homeless, summer camps, and reentry services for former prison inmates.
“We want it to be the center, the point of gravity that people are pulled into”—because they are loved and cared for, Fox said.
The Epicenter has been very well-received in Edgewood, so much so that city leaders in Aberdeen, upon hearing that Mountain Christian Church was thinking of opening a campus in that town, asked if the church would open an Epicenter there as well.
“It’s extensive. The buzz is real around the difference the Epicenter is making in Edgewood,” Fox said.
The Epicenter in Edgewood operates as its own nonprofit organization separate from the church, although its board is made up mostly of Mountain Christian Church representatives. The Epicenter produces revenue through its childcare programs and grant-writing, and Epicenter’s director works closely with the campus pastor of the Edgewood site.
The expansion plan is straightforward: Epicenter will open a new site in Aberdeen, and later in 2020 at the same location, Mountain Christian Church will open a new campus there.
The gospel impact of the Epicenter is that the facility—with its many services—allows the church to interface with people who normally wouldn’t darken the door for a church service.
“We’ve made some connections just walking through the door at Edgewood that we never would have made otherwise,” Fox said. “We’re meeting people every single day we never would have come in contact with.”
The new Epicenter at Aberdeen will be in a 14,000-square-foot shopping center space. The church’s 9,000-square-foot worship space addition will be attached to it.
The Epicenter plans to begin offering some services as soon as early in 2020.
Mountain Christian Church also has church campuses in Joppa, Bel Air, and Abingdon, Md.
Chris Moon is a pastor and writer living in Redstone, Colorado.