Photo credit: Eduardo Artiga
Epic Church Suburbs, the church where Ethan found his faith and currently attends, is uniquely located at a storefront inside the Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard, Illinois.
Ethan says his first few times attending Epic Church felt like culture shock. He had never encountered a church so dedicated to investing in him. In fact, he says he probably would not have been as interested in being a worship leader if it weren’t for the way the Epic Church worship leaders brought him in.
“I was discipled when I started at Epic through some of the worship leaders. I was new to playing instruments in church, but they were very inviting and welcoming, and mentored me through the whole process,” Ethan explains.
It was the same methodology of getting to know people before having spiritual conversations that gave way to planting the Epic Church Suburbs campus that Ethan and his family helped start about two years ago. Operating a little bit differently than the city campus, the suburb campus is an “Art Space” where families can come do free art projects on Saturdays, as well as participate in the afternoon Sabbath worship services. They both share a closely aligned focus on creating and building relationships first as well as a desire to reach non-Christians.
For Ethan, this approach to outsiders not only brings in new people, but it also strengthens his personal faith. He said his experience within his church has brought him to not only start his own Bible studies but ultimately get baptized.
“Before I really had no real desire to open my Bible and start praying and start doing Bible studies,” says Ethan, “but, through being in a church where everybody is together with that purpose, I now find that purpose here as well. I've seen a lot of growth in myself and in my family because now we're more open to talk to people and get to know who they are.”
Epic Church pastor, Andres Flores, commends Ethan’s dedication to outreach and ministry. “I have seen him grow slowly but surely into a committed follower of Christ. He is very passionate about offering the best he can offer to God . . . and everything he does, he does with excellence. He really believes in the mission of disciple-making. I’m really pleased that he is continuing to help us and to serve and [growing] in God.”
As for the future, Ethan says that where God leads him, he will go. “I'll take everything that I've learned here and everything that God has given me through this church and take that same mission to wherever He leads me.”
Joel Guerra is studying Business Administration and Public Relations at Southern Adventist University. He enjoys social media and local journalism.