CITYLIGHT BENSON STORY
During a Citylight Church corporate prayer gathering at the end of 2014 the leaders sensed that God was leading us to plant a new church. There was a growing desire to plant neighborhood churches all over the city that would 1) make it easier for people to invite their friends to come to church with them and 2) have a local impact. Therefore, on June 14, 2015, we kicked off our first Benson Core Team gathering with 150 adults and 30 kids. We purchased the spacious 27,000-square-foot Benson Presbyterian Building (5612 Corby St.) on June 16, 2015 and held our first worship gathering there on June 21, 2015.
We met throughout the summer every Monday night to renovate the building, every Tuesday night to pray together, and every Sunday morning to eat breakfast and preach through our Core Values (Gospel, Spiritual Formation, Community, and Mission). The Core Team gathered with the vision of reaching 13,000 Benson residents for Christ. Our mission is to multiply disciples and churches that “Love God and Love Benson.” The initial focus areas that we set out to serve were people in the neighborhood, refugees, artists and musicians, high school students, and Rose Hill Elementary.
HOW GOD IS MOVING
Citylight Benson's public launch was September 20, 2015. Within the first six months over 90 people got involved in the church. In addition, 30 leaders were raised up to launch 12 City Groups in Benson and the surrounding area. Over 10 people went public with their faith and get baptized!
Local impact is happening with block parties, seasonal events, and clothing drives for refugees. The church has also connected with leaders, organizations, and local artists to find out how the whole community can work for the common good by providing work and event space for local artists, hosting dances, yoga, and birthing classes.
We’ve seen generosity radically increase as ownership of the mission has increased. Financial giving has increased 65% since the church launched in June 2015. In addition, money was raised for more church planting in 2016. Citylight Council Bluffs was gifted with a $10,000 check toward their start-up costs. We are thankful for the grace of God and want to continue to steward that grace for His glory and the good of Benson!