What happens when two like-minded groups of individuals come together with a common goal? Great things! This is what you will find when you look at the origin of Level Ground Community Church. One group, The Grove, was an established church in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana. The other group, Revive City Church, was a new church plant in that same neighborhood. Through the providence of Almighty God, leaders of these groups began to meet and discuss future ministry opportunities. Ironically, God’s plan was much bigger.
After months of meeting for prayer and discussion, uniting became the focus. Agreeing that God was leading, the groups decided to merge. The two would now be known as Level GroundCommunity Church, which met for the first time on April 6th, 2014.
God is faithful and we are excited to see the direction He will lead Level Ground Community Church.
As we engage the Hollygrove community, we seek to reach other parts of our city with the love of Jesus. We believe that God has allowed us to be a part of one of the greatest events in our city’s history, winning New Orleans for Jesus Christ.
Trinity Christian Community (TCC) is not a church. However Hollygrove residents were coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and needing a place to grow. It quickly became apparent that many of those whom we were sending to churches in the neighborhoods were not staying for long. Unchurched people often transgress deeply held traditions of the typical family church by sitting in the wrong place, dressing wrong, talking at inopportune times. In short, they do not fit.
We quickly realized that there needed to be a place in the neighborhood where the unchurched could feel save, be loved and fit in. A local AME pastor, the Rev. Earl Williams, served on the board of TCC and heard the stories of those who were being saved but falling through the cracks. He approached his Bishop and asked if he could transfer his call to a church plant. When the Bishop agreed the Grove was born.
Initially the “church” resembled a youth group. Kids from the neighborhoods gathered on Sunday morning and stayed throughout the day to eat and play basketball. They picked the topics and issues that inner city youth struggle for discussion and Earl would integrate scripture in his responses. It was a very dynamic Bible study and soon the space began to fill with interested youth.
As the fellowship grew adults began to join. This was also a traumatic time in New Orleans history. Katrina had devastated the city and people were slowly beginning to trickle home. They longed for genuine fellowship that could address the hurt, grief and stress experienced by those who had lost everything and were struggling to rebuild homes and lives. As the church grew, it became more organized. A Sunday School hour was added which allowed the youth to continue their study while adults broke out for fellowship and Bible study. Worship songs were incorporated with the addition of a musician. The connection between TCC and the Grove was significant as many of the attendees were also AmeriCorps members. These members from AmeriCorps were instrumental in rebuilding the community through TCC’s contract with the federal government and a growing TCC staff base.
After Earl Williams married, he stepped down as pastor and Duane Gidney, a seminary student and assistant pastor at a nearby ministry, took his place. As the need for rebuilding in the city lessened, TCC discontinued their AmeriCorps program leading to a significant staff reduction and a simultaneous reduction in the Grove’s attendance. As students who had been deeply involved in both TCC and the Grove graduated high school and progressed to universities around the country, further reductions in attendance occurred.
At this point the Grove became aware of another burgeoning church plant in the community. Conversations developed between the Grove and what was then known as Revive City Church about strategy in the community and what an inner city church could do to reach lives and see community transformation. It became apparent that the missions of both churches were remarkably similar. The leadership of the Grove met and decided to approach Revive City about joining forces. Today, the two groups have become one, Level Ground Community Church.