We gather each Sunday at 10 am in an informal setting where casual attire and friendly discussion is encouraged. Rather than seeing Christianity as a belief we acquire in completed form, we are taught to enter into our faith with the understanding that we are at the beginning of a life-long process of discovery and change.
Ours is faith that is lived…from beginning to end. We believe that our faith is not just doctrines to be believed but a way of life to be lived. We live it corporately on Sundays as a community of faith and in bi-weekly learning communities. We live it individually in our everyday lives and in the marketplace.
Epic Faith: Church or Club? Answer: Both/And
The church has a club? The club has a church? Which is it? Actually it’s both. At Epic Faith in Duluth, these questions are regularly asked of its owners and operators. The church, formerly Calvary Christian Fellowship (CCF), purchased the 6-acres known as Olde Towne Club in 2005 after the leaders made a decision to maintain its ministry in the city of Duluth and not move to the 50+ acres of land previously purchased just north of town. Since that time the only thing that has been consistent is the constant state of change they have experienced.
CCF, which began in 1988, slowly grew to own almost a whole city block, with their 500-seat sanctuary and 20,000 sq. ft. building on Main Street in Duluth, GA. That is, up until May 2005 when they purchased the swim-tennis club and took their ministry from a Sunday morning experience to a 7-day a week ministry to the body, soul, and spirit of their beloved community.
After the move, the church decided it was time for a name change, one that more adequately fit their new ministry and mission. “Our name and tag line says it all. Epic Faith – Where Our Story Meets HIStory,” says Stephanie Wolfe, pastor’s wife and now Executive Director of Epic Faith and the EPICenter. “Our mission statement is simple, Love God. Love Others. Our gathering on Sunday and our family-friendly facility help us to fulfill that mission 7 days a week.”
The purchase of a swim-tennis facility was a huge undertaking for the church that had gone through some painful years due to this non-traditional approach to ministry to the community. This transition led to the departure of many precious attendees who were looking for a more traditional approach to church. Another challenge for the group was the inadequate size of the Gathering Room that would accommodate Sunday Worship at 10am.
Jack Wolfe, Sr. Pastor, saw the property and couldn’t wait to show his wife and their leadership team. Together the choice was made and plans were drawn up to build a 500-seat sanctuary on one of the three tiers of tennis courts on the property. Meanwhile, the City of Duluth made a deal with Red Clay Productions to lease the church’s Main St. location and the church was given a 60 day notice to vacate the property. Sixty days to move 20,000 sq. ft. of ministry, and18 years of history into a 5,000 sq. ft. building, and a property that was in great disrepair! – but the pioneers rose to the challenge. A small group emerged and took ownership of the vision. The rest is HIStory . . . as the byline implies.
Pastor Jack and Stephanie decided to focus on what they did have instead of what they did not have and what they did have was 12 tennis courts, a Jr. Olympic size swimming pool, basketball half-court, clubhouse with café and commercial kitchen!
They gave; they sold; they tossed; and they packed until the downtown location was only a memory, resulting in the close of a chapter and the opening of another in their “story.”
The building and its property has now been completely remodeled. The community of faith gathers on Sundays at 10am using the clubhouse area – now referred to as the Gathering Room -for adults, the café for kids, the old pro-shop for nursery/toddlers, and the old weight room for its offices. A 5,000 square foot building is being built to house HISkids for elementary age children and offer some after-school projects for Duluth students. The building is being paid for with cash donations, as the church is on a debt-free mission.
Pastor Jack is a vulnerable, fun-loving, realist and down-to-earth preacher, but don’t let the relaxed atmosphere make you think that the Christian message is compromised. Epic’s faith is intact, focusing on the message and example of Jesus Christ. Jack’s year-long series from The Sermon on the Mount proves, “Jesus’ instructions to His followers in this message offer us practical ways to live our faith and not just talk about it. Once we can do that, I will move on.”
EPICenter memberships offer the community a year-long vacation. Members of the center enjoy Swimming, Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Playground, Wi-fi Coffee Café with Satellite TV, and much, much more. Annual membership is only $450 per Family, and funds support the facility, while donations to the church fund its ministry and outreach.
At Epic there is something for everyone, every day of the week. Church and Club, where “Our Story meets HIStory” . . .