Local News

Act of charity gives Raleigh church new home

Posted March 25, 2014
Updated March 26, 2014

— There is a joyful noise coming from downtown Raleigh.

One of the songs belted from the new Ship of Zion Church says “get on board, there is room in here.”

But that wasn't always the case.

“It was kind of rough,” said Chris Jones, church pastor.

For nearly 13 years, the ministry’s home was an old home on Blount Street.

A building beaten over time, like the community around it, Jones said.

"When we came there, there was a lot of gang activity, a lot of drug dealing," he said.

Some of the scars on the old building included bullet holes. One of those bullets almost hit Jones.

“If we hadn’t been standing in the pulpit, we would have gotten shot,” he said.

The incident illustrated why the church was needed, helping those who need it most.

But their building was falling apart. Another Raleigh Pastor, Mike Lee of Hope Community Church made them an offer.

“You don’t need a building to have a church, but it sure is nice, isn’t it,” Lee said.

The offer surprised Jones.

“First, my mouth fell open,” he said. “That felt so good to us. We cried.”

Lee’s congregation quickly raised money to purchase and renovate the Lee Street building.

It wasn’t a hard decision, Lee said.

“Not at all, I mean, we thought about it for four seconds,” he said. “It was a good investment for a church.”

A few services have already been held in the new building. More than 200 people showed up to the first one, so many that it was standing room only.

Jones plans to use the new building to continue what he has started.

“We were touching the people right on the street corners,” he said.


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  • Todd Jenkins Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    All those mega churches are really nothing but business ventures for the founders and pastors all at the sake of non-profit status. Then the pastors live in 500k+ homes. Wakegov tells the story without bias.

  • tierneemalinadeveaux Mar 26, 2014

    I am curious as to how Lightfoot3 knows that churches like Colonial Baptist have no heart? Has Lightfoot3 ever even visited Colonial? I know I have, and I tell you the truth, going to Colonial is like going to Grandma's house, where you know you will be served some hot delicious food, and a yummy dessert. I feel like I am right at home every time I go to Colonial, which is not nearly as often as I would like. But it has got to be the coziest "megachurch" in the world.

    If you like a small church, that is your preference. I personally attend a small church, but I do not put down churches like Colonial, especially when I know they are teaching the Word of God, and living out those principles once they leave the building.

  • judyhammer Mar 26, 2014

    I'm a member of Hope and I can tell you that we may be big but we have heart! Just walk in the door on any Saturday or Sunday and you'll feel the love. Yes, we've built churches and dug for water. We bus in the homeless to sleep in the church when the temperature drops below freezing. This church loves God and loves mankind and puts their money and time where it helps people the most. I'm happy to call it home. To '50s child', I believe it said we bought and renovated the building.

  • 50s Child Mar 26, 2014

    Maybe I need more coffee but what exactly was the "offer"? The story doesn't say.

  • Dan Courtine Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    Although I can't totally disagree with Lightfoot, there are some mega-churches that do have it right. Hope apparently is one of them. Rumor has it that they also just started a church in Haiti, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars drilling wells in Africa to provide fresh drinking water, and have numerous local ministries to help people in any stage of life. They truly don't care who you are and where you came from, but do care about loving on you and helping you to the next step.

  • Lightfoot3 Mar 26, 2014

    "Seriously? Hope Community is a mega church" - I-40 Warrior

    How big is the church I was talking about, "Ship of Zion Church"? It looked kind of small to me (but I didn't watch the video).

  • luvbailey Mar 26, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I'm not sure who is larger - Hope Community or Colonial - but clearly Hope Community has their hearts in the right place!

  • Paul Jenkins Mar 26, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Seriously? Hope Community is a mega church. 4+ locations, multiple services, thousands of people. I'm glad to see the Body of Christ functioning as it is supposed to. Great job!

  • gwkeefer Mar 26, 2014

    paulmandl - Yes, they are still helping those on the street corners. Ship of Zion ministers to the people of this community on a weekly basis and have been for over 12-years. They have turned that whole area completely around. What a wonderful ministry led by Pastors with genuine love for people in need. I've been blessed to have volunteered with this ministry and now we have a similar outreach ministry to the people of East Wake. Ship of Zion was an important part of us starting our outreach ministry. Keep your eyes on the Ship of Zion ministries, great things are coming!

  • glarg Mar 26, 2014

    Very impressive music at Ship of Zion.