“It’s Vision Sunday,” said Pastor Ray Bernard to his congregation.
He told the attendees about his plans to form athletics programs within Impacting Your World Christian Center. The announcement was met with great applause.
October 20 will mark the 19th anniversary of the creation of Impacting Your World Christian Center. In 1994, Pastor Ray Barnard along with wife and fellow pastor Tracey Barnard founded Impacting Your World in Philadelphia. Things started small, with a congregation of around 11 people that the Barnards personally ministered to out of their own home.
But the church has since grown to its current location on the 5500 block of Germantown Avenue, right next door to the Germantown Historical Society. That site, where they have been for 14 years, is considered to be their main branch. In 2009, a second branch of the church was opened in Cherry Hill, NJ. Some members will even make the journey to both churches in one day, in order to attend both services.
The church describes their mission as “empowering people to manifest the vision, purpose and plan for their lives.”
Donna Holliday has been a part of the church since 2007 and found her way there through another organization, known as Interim House.
“I was in a drug treatment program,” said Holliday. “I am a success story.”
Interim House offered the chance to get involved in bible study classes, which were available through Impacting Your World. Holliday got started there and has since moved up in the workings of the church, becoming a part of their Prayer Team and doing work in the office.
“They [the Barnards] want us to get it,” said Holliday. “They work tirelessly.”
Geneva Hackett is the church’s pastor of administration, essentially the second-in-command after the Barnards. Hackett started attending the church in 2000 after her daughter introduced her to the organization. She has since been working at Impacting Your World full-time for 12 years.
“After visiting here for a while, I became very drawn to the level of spirituality and the level of faith that the people operate in here,” said Hackett. “This ministry was different in that there is a literal belief in the Bible. Not like stories, like it’s not real, but the literal belief that every word of God was true.”
Hackett, who holds a master’s degree in theology, had already been involved in ministry, prior to joining Impacting Your World. A self-professed “preacher’s kid” coming from generations of family religious involvement, she had actually been planning to start her own ministry.
“The Lord was leading me to becoming involved here,” Hackett said.
Within Impacting Your World Ministries, there are numerous programs. One particular program is called the Special Moments Ministries and it helps members – and even non-members – with services such as weddings, baptisms and funeral proceedings, which they call “homegoing ceremonies.”
“Say, for instance, that someone in this neighborhood had a member of their family pass away and they didn’t have a church home,” said Hackett. “A lot of churches won’t allow you, unless you’re a member or family of a member, to come. But we open our doors to people who want to have homegoing services.”
There are also several ministries targeted toward different demographics.
There’s the children’s ministry, known as SuperKidz, which is intended for any child between the ages of 6 months to 12 years. They’ve contributed to the community’s back-to-school necessities by providing backpacks along with other supplies to those who need it.
Men and women can attend their own separate ministries or, if they’re in a couple, engaged, married or otherwise, they can also visit a specific couples ministry. Teens and young adults can also attend meetings, specific to their age group.
These ministries hold meetings and other types of social occasions that are designed to bring together members of the church and even outside individuals that are just curious.
Impacting Your World also holds many different conferences and events that bring various different speakers to their church and, as a result, to the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s just a different experience than from other traditional ministries,” said Hackett.