The history of Church In The City shows how a dream birthed in God’s heart becomes reality through faithful followers. This is our portion of His story on Milwaukee’s East-side.
In 1987, the Lord began to place a call in the hearts of Steve Kuper, a youth pastor in Appleton, Wisconsin, and Dan and Jeanne Mader who served alongside Steve. After much prayer and God’s directing, Steve and the Maders left Appleton and moved to Milwaukee. Aided by the 1988 Milwaukee Outreach to the Third Ward and east-side areas, Church In The City was officially birthed into existence. The week of outreach and invitation culminated with a service at the Astor Hotel. On August 14, 1988 that dream became a reality.
The initial vision was to reach a very diverse east-side population from the Third Ward to Whitefish Bay. The demographics of the area include the Lake Drive affluent, the academics of UWM, and the homeless. Certainly, all dear to the heart of God. Our name was inspired by an InterVarsity publication focusing on reaching those in urban areas. The December 1987 U Magazine carried the title “Church In The City”.
As Pastor Steve shared the vision for Church In The City, many decided to join him in establishing this ministry. Services continued to meet in the Astor Hotel until they were able to expand to the Hartford Avenue School Auditorium.
In the early summer of 1989, Pastor Steve resigned as pastor. The future of the church was not clear at that point. With a strong core group and God’s plan still in place, Pastor James Tims and his family moved from Massachusetts to Milwaukee to write the next chapter of His story.
Pastor James and Lea were greatly used by the Lord to bring stability to a very transient community. The church grew and eventually moved to our current location on Hackett Ave. No more set up and tear down. The beautiful Gothic building was originally built in 1915 as a Masonic Temple. It was also the Italian Community Center before it became the home of Church In The City. The WNMD district and many from area churches helped in the acquisition and transition into our new home. As the church grew in numbers and maturity, Pastor James worked hard to write our Constitution and Bylaws and bring us to a Class A church with the Assemblies of God.
During this time, Pastor James also served as a part-time Chaplain in the Air Force National Guard. Each time he returned from duty, he shared the wonderful ways God had used him to share with those in the military. This effective part-time ministry eventually became a new set of orders for Pastor James and his family. He eventually resigned to pursue his new calling as a full-time Chaplain with the U.S. Air Force.
Little did anyone realize, that our next pastor had been sitting alongside us for the last two years. Todd LaBute served as interim pastor until it was obvious to the leadership that he was the next pastor. Pastor Todd served for two years as pastor while also studying for his PhD. He received his PhD. and in 1999 resigned to pursue a teaching career with the Assemblies of God University system.
In January of 2000, Pastor Dave Duncan came to serve as pastor. With extensive education and ministry experience, Pastor Dave has taken Church In The City to the next level of growth. He has designed a curriculum for membership and discipleship to engage each member to greater relationship with God and service through use of Spiritual Gifts. He also helped cast our current vision and values, which will plot the course for our future.
We are excited to see what God can do with those who faithfully follow Him. We are committed to seeing each person discover their potential with God. Many have experienced life change. And many have been launched into new and exciting areas of service for the Lord. Come be a part of writing the next portion of His story, here on Milwaukee’s East-side.
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