I' M NEW
Valley West Christian Center’s Historical Background
The first part of the history was written by Yvette (Leach) McKeever in July 1995.
“Have you ever had the feeling that you know that you know that you know? Yet… when the confirmation from Holy Spirit comes over and over and over again, you find yourself amazed and humbled? I’m sure Pastor Roger knows of what I speak. Let’s begin…
Even before Valley West Christian Center (VWCC) opened its door in 1987, the vision of this new church was clear to Pastors Roger and Dixie.
The congregation had been meeting in the homes of members with Sunday School consisting of teachers Brian and Lynette Jacobsen and a “classroom” consisting of a blanket spread on the lawn of the home of the week.
The first official service was held in the cafeteria of Berenda Elementary School on September 6, 1987. There were 91 in attendance.
VWCC was staffed with Roger and Dixie as Pastors; Michael McKeever, Associate and Lance Leach, Youth Director. Pastor Roger had drawn up the Church Logo with his own handy artwork with scenes inspired by the vineyards of the valley. The name Valley West Christian Center was chosen over names such as Family Worship Center and West Valley Christian Center.
In October 1988 VWCC was graciously given 10 Acres of land on Adell Street by Sherman and Sally Thomas, to build our new church building. Sherman has always longed to see a church where there would be gatherings as often as possible, youth ministry flourishing, a Christian school and people always given the opportunity to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Groundbreaking was done on June 6, 1989. On the same day the Thomas Family gave another 10 Acres of adjoining land. God Bless them!
The church was growing fast; the building started. Anticipation and excitement was all around, as the men and women of VWCC pulled together to see completion of their hard work. Steps of faith and many miracles carried the work to a visible manifestation of the first buildings. Dedication and Opening of the new sanctuary was on November 24, 1991.
Next phase for us to watch was the Youth Activity Center, “The Place To Be…” groundbreaking was in September 1994. (Later renamed to the Embassy and dedicated in September 2004 in honor of retired Pastor Jimmy Guinn who mentored and loved VWCC)
Valley West has come a long way in the last 8 years. The praise and worship is beyond compare through the leadership of Dixie…Blessed with many lay ministries and leaders within the church, VWCC has reached many in our community, region and Mexico with the Good News. The congregation numbers 600 in 1995 with attendees at about 1000. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Now let me share the vision of Valley West Christian Center with you, as was given to Pastor Roger many years ago. We shall be ministering to people from all walks of life, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. Also, we shall be a lighthouse to our beloved community of Madera; a lighthouse of acceptance and love, sharing the Word of God to all who will come and receive. Praise Ye the Lord… For His Mercy Endureth Forever. We, as His Church Body, are learning how to praise Him, anticipating His Glory revealed!!”
As I pick up on the history and growth of VWCC, now ministering to over 1000 weekly and over 2000 attendees, I am reminded of my personal pillar verse in Jeremiah 29:11, stating that God knows the thoughts He thinks toward us – thoughts of good – to bring us a hope and a future – to bring us into His destiny for our lives. Little did I know that as a graduate of Fresno State in 1971 with a degree in Agronomy (field crops) that God would lead me on an incredible journey that has been a true adventure of His grace and manifestations of His miraculous power throughout these last seventeen-plus years.
In 2002 we finished 10,000 square feet of office complex that houses our ministry offices and chapel. This facility has truly been a blessing and how we existed in the old office space (now a nursery) I’ll never know! Again, the majority of the work was accomplished through the efforts of our men and women.
Our training college, Harvestime International Bible College, at VWCC has developed many students who are now ministering side by side the office staff in caring for the needs of the entire congregation. Their dedication in furthering their Biblical education has been a key force in expanding goals and core values of the church.
Since I have been the only Senior Pastor of VWCC, people often ask me of the future. My heart and life is here in Madera, my birthplace. God has called me to a lifetime of ministry for this region. I want and desire to see an outpouring of the presence and glory of God that will so greatly impact our Valley that will usher in the calling and destiny of God’s will for each believer and those that will come to know His saving Grace. Pastor Lance will take more of an active roll in Family Ministry, while Youth, Children, College, and other Missions-oriented ministries from the Church-Body will continue to grow as we all realize that all believers are Full Time Ministers. We have developed a vital Hispanic Ministry over the years and I believe that its full purpose is yet on the horizon. Many teams of praise groups who lead people into experiencing real worship will be developed and released into this region. Prayer Ministries will continue to add covering and protection for the advancing of the Kingdom of God through this body. As we develop a House of Prayer attitude individually and corporately, a releasing of power is being established in the heavenlies over this place.
We will continue taking a leading role in unifying the Body of Christ of Madera with other like congregations and Pastors.
In 2003, Sherman Thomas Charter School opened its doors to this community by using VWCC’s facilities throughout the week. We have chosen to provide an atmosphere that will challenge and change children’s lives to excel in education.
In the ensuing years, our desire and goal is to effect our world with the Good News, understanding that as we are changed into His image, we will impact our community for Christ’s sake.