Warren County Iowa Genealogical Society




    Norwalk Fellowship Community Church

    Norwalk Fellowship Community Church, 225 North Avenue, Norwalk, IA, phone (515) 981-0699, http://www.fccnorwalk.org/

    A history of the Norwalk Fellowship Community Church comes from their website at http://www.fccnorwalk. org/

    Fellowship Community Church is a non-denominational, independent local church committed to the inerrant truths of the Bible. The Fellowship Community Church began on Aug 6th, 1995, as a church-plant of Grace Church in Des Moines. Rob JONES, has had the privilege of planting Fellowship Community Church in 1995 and continues to serve in the role of Senior Pastor. His family has lived in the Norwalk area since 1992 and consider themselves extremely blessed to live here and serve God in this area.

    The following history is given, with permission, by Pastor Bob JONES:

    God began instilling a burden in my heart to plant a church in Norwalk in February of 1994. Being an assistant pastor at Grace Church in Des Moines, I was extremely satisfied and fulfilled in my ministry as the director of Single Adult Ministries and our Missions Program. But God's work in my heart was unmistakable and after several months of prayer to seek formal confirmation from the Lord, we began laying the groundwork for the new church in November that same year.

    The pastor and leaders at Grace were very supportive of the idea of a new church. In fact they offered both financial support to cover our start-up costs and the first 3 months of my salary, and personnel support. Anyone interested in helping me to start the church was encouraged to leave Grace and be a part of the new work.

    In January of 1995 we began meeting once a month in my home to pray together, strategize, and make preparations for both our first service and our first few months of existence as a new church. There were 19 adults present at that first meeting. Our first fellowship/outreach was a picnic in the Norwalk Park in April. Several new faces showed up at the park that chilly day and began meeting regularly with us. In July we held our first pool party and over 70 people attended including children.

    In June our small core of people, which consisted of 32 adults and 16 children, began meeting weekly in preparation for our first service. We also completed the very first Get Connected membership class.

    Our first public worship service was held in the Norwalk High School gymnasium on Sunday, August 6th, 1995, with 183 in attendance. A number of families from Grace Church helped with our kick-off service; but besides them and our core families, the rest of the people were folks who had received some sort of invitation. The hard work and months of planning by the first few members of FCC had paid off!

    Through the years God has continued to bless and provide the needs of FCC. In the fall of 1996 the search began for a house to be purchased in the Norwalk area to be used for the church office. Up to that time the office was held in my home. Due to my growing family and our expanding church staff, our home would no longer be adequate. In answer to the prayers of God’s people, a home on the corner of Knoll Drive and Holly Drive was purchased and FCC moved in around January 1st, 1997. To secure the property a loan was taken out in the amount of $65,000. The church began a concentrated effort to pay off this debt and with God's help did so in just 15 months.

    In the fall of 1998 God led us to a 10 acre piece of land on Norwalk's west side. The elders had inquired about this land two years prior and had been told the asking price was $320,000. At the time this amount was out of the question. But now the asking price was $165,000. God had both kept this land from being sold and reduced the price. The sellers accepted FCC's offer of $l55,000. Because the ten acres also had a home on it which could be used for our offices, it made it the perfect location. With God's help the property on Knoll Drive, which was paid for, was sold and the proceeds applied to the new location. This left a shortfall once again of $65,000. So a loan was secured and this time the debt was paid off in just 10 months.

    We held our four year anniversary service outside on our new land on Aug. 1st, 1999. At the end of the service a 30 foot cross was lifted into place beside the highway as a testimony to the people of Norwalk to God's saving grace, and as a commitment by the people of FCC to build a permanent facility in God's timing to serve as a lighthouse to everyone in the area.

    In 2000 FCC's leaders felt it was time once again to take another step toward obtaining our own facility. The decision was made to move ahead with getting our property prepared for building construction. That preparation included grading our ten acres, bringing the underground utilities onto our site and paving a 228 space parking lot. The cost for this project was $350,000. The people of FCC raised the funds for this project over the next two years as they gave over and above their regular tithe giving.

    In the spring of 2002 God led FCC's leadership to begin plans for our first permanent facility. Our building was designed to be both a multi-purpose as well as a multi-phrase structure. Phase one included 30,000 square feet of space that includes a gym/worship center, large lobby, fellowship hall, 6 classrooms, kitchen, large storage area, and staff offices. On January 25th, 2004, FCC held its first service in our new facility. Over 1,100 people were in attendance to celebrate God's blessing of having our own building to use as a center for outreach and ministry. Today as part of our desire to be a blessing to our community, our building is used not only by the members of FCC, but also regularly by the Stepping Stones Preschool and Daycare, local groups such as athletic teams, the Ministerial Association, the Boy Scouts, and the Chamber of Commerce as well as a number of events held here by the Norwalk public schools.

    In 2005 FCC adopted a missions project called “Project Africa”. The project was the vision of one of FCC’s supported missionaries ministering in Zambia, Africa, and included constructing and operating a Bible College and Camp that would accommodate over 600 church leaders and campers. Along with several other U.S. churches, FCC made a 5 year commitment to annually provide $5,000 for building materials and to send a team of people each summer to help with camp construction and ministry outreaches. In 2008 FCC extended its commitment to include a sixth year so that the new institution could be totally operational and self-sustaining. By the close of 2010 dozens of FCCers had been to Africa and the people of FCC had given $30,000 to assist in the establishment of this ministry. The college is now training pastors and Christian workers to reach out across the southern continent of Africa and each summer hundreds of students are being impacted by their experience at the International Bible College and Camp of Zambia, Africa.

    With the completion of the college and camp and our commitment fulfilled, the leaders of FCC sought God’s guidance as to how He would have FCC uniquely contribute toward the Great Commission moving into the future. In the years between 2005 and 2010 several of the missionaries that FCC had supported had come home and were no longer serving in the field. Rather than immediately replace them our leadership felt God was leading us to wait for His timing in moving in a new direction. That direction began to unfold as God began raising up families within our own church body to answer His call to full-time missions work. It became clear that God was leading FCC to become not just a supporting church for missions work and missionaries, but a sending church as well. As a sending church it is necessary for us to mobilize our entire church family to reach out and make disciple both here in Norwalk and central Iowa and around the world – specifically among those people groups that are unengaged and unreached by the church at-large. This church-wide mobilization includes children, youth and adults being educated and actively participating in evangelism, disciple-making ministries, as well as intimate involvement in the lives and ministries of all our cross-cultural missionaries.

    Through a variety of circumstances FCC’s leadership also believed that our church should have a specific focus for our cross-cultural disciple-making efforts that included the unreached and unengaged in a part of the world known as the 10/40 Window. Inside this “window” resides two-thirds of the world’s population. 90% of the people living in this part of the world are unevangelized, most having never heard the Gospel even once. 85% of the people living in the window are the poorest of the world’s poor. The world’s largest cults are also centered in the window – Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. And half of the world’s least-evangelized cities are in this window.

    By God’s leading it was determined that our focus for disciple-making in the 10/40 window would be in SE Asia, in a nation with over 130 unreached people groups. The first organized trip to SE Asia was taken in December of 2010. It is our goal to contribute to the disciple-making and church planting efforts in Laos by sending groups of FCCers annually, raising needed ministry funds and supporting FCCers who feel called of God to go to Laos as cross-cultural missionaries. Our goal is that 20% of our FCC family has visited Laos by 2020 to see firsthand the mission work going on by our members in the field, to gain greater insight into the unreached of this nation, and to return with a greater burden for Christ’s mission both in SE Asia and in the world at-large.

    The first FCC family to be commissioned and sent out to make disciples cross-culturally were Brett and Jaci KUNTZ to SE Asia in May, 2011. The second family, Dan and Diane FOLKERS, were commissioned in January, 2012 and are serving in Papua, New Guinea with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Matt and Marcie NIESWENDER and family were commissioned in July, 2012 and are serving in SE Asia. Other FCCers are currently raising financial and prayer support to serve in cross-cultural missions. To learn more about each of our MIF’s (Members in the Field, stop at the Missions Wall in our lobby.

    In January, 2013, FCC became the owners of Stepping Stones Preschool. The school includes child care, preschool, and before/afterschool care for children 3 years through 5th grade. Currently over 150 children are enrolled in our programs. The vision of our Christian school is the same as that of our next generation ministries at FCC… “Discipling the next generation to know God, trust God and obey God for the fame of His name.”

    In August of 2013, FCC launched our seven year 2020 Vision. It is our sincere prayer that God would continue to use Fellowship Community Church as a local body of believers to fulfill His purposes until He returns.