Since its, inception New Faith Baptist Church has been more than a building, it has been a people. People coming to know Christ, people with a desire to mature in their faith and impact the world for Christ.
New Faith Baptist Church held its first service with 67 people at the Blackhawk Elementary School in Park Forest, Illinois on January 4, 1976. New Faith began as a result of the efforts of Rev. Junius Dudley, who in 1975 completed a study of the Park Forest area in which he found integrated churches, but the churches all lacked Blacks in leadership and also lacked the Black worship style. Because of his concern for the community, he made an appeal to Rev. Dale Cross of the Southern Baptist Convention, for funds to plant a church. As a result, New Faith began as a Southern Baptist Mission with a supplemental income for the pastor as well as access to the resources of the SBC.
Rev. Dudley served New Faith faithfully and under his leadership membership grew rapidly to 150 members. In 1978, Rev. Dudley resigned and on June 3, 1979 Rev. Donald Johnson became the second pastor of New Faith Baptist Church. There were many transitions and changes that occurred under new leadership, one of which was the move to a temporary facility at Emmanuel Seventh Day Adventist Church in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Some of the members decided to remain at Blackhawk Elementary and formed a new church. With the change of location, New Faith Baptist Church began its journey to be a life changing source within the community.
On April 12, 1981 Rev. Johnson resigned as pastor of New Faith and the congregation welcomed their third pastor, Rev. Dr. Frank A. Thomas. The membership, which at that time was 30 active members, began to increase. The congregation sought to move from the rented facility to their own edifice. In September 1982, New Faith purchased five acres of land in Matteson, Illinois. On October 12, 1984 the church broke ground for a permanent facility. New Faith moved into its first home at 25. S. Central Avenue in Matteson, Illinois, on February 22, 1987 with 287 members. By October of 1992, New Faith acquired 22 additional acres of land. After moving, New Faith had phenomenal growth adding 1,300 new members.
Feeling called to another ministry after 18 years of faithful service, Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas accepted his new assignment as pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, in Memphis, Tennessee.
New Faith Baptist Church went into prayer asking God to provide them with a leader after God’s own heart. After two years of prayer and fasting, God sent New Faith a man and a woman with a shepherd’s heart, Rev. Dr. Trunell D. Felder and Rev. Dr. Alexis L. Felder. Rev. Dr. Trunell D. Felder formerly served as the co-pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia.
On July 28, 2001, the entire New Faith family came together in an overwhelming response to appoint Rev. Dr. Trunell D. Felder as the new Senior Pastor along with his wife, Rev. Dr. Alexis L. Felder. Believing God had given them double for their troubles, the Drs. Felder began their official duties on October 1, 2001 as the fourth shepherds of this great ministry.
With new pastors and a vision to impact the world, New Faith had to heed to the call to minister not only to local communities, but also to the world. On January 13, 2002, Pastor Felder and Dr. Alexis presented God’s new vision for New Faith Baptist Church:
To be a people of faith who seek the heart of God through worshipping, witnessing, and sharing the love of Christ (God’s Son) with the world.
Living the faith, through worship, witness, and wondrous works.
Within one year, the membership had grown to an active 2,700.
Pastor Felder and Dr. Alexis have continuously led the membership into local and global evangelism and outreach/missions.
2002: New Faith hosted its first Faith Fairs and Community Outreach initiatives in Ford Heights, Illinois and Pembroke, Illinois with a vision to impact impoverished communities within a 25 mile radius of the church. Since then, New Faith has held annual Faith/Health Fairs providing school supplies, baby care packages and job interviews for local residents. These outreach activities and others helped in bridging the gap between church and community by providing support and assistance through financial seminars, men’s ministry family reading nights, tutoring, and alcohol and drug recovery programs.
2003: New Faith invited CNA Foundation and KaBOOM to partner with them to build a playground for the children in Ford Heights. This effort is but one example of Pastor Felder’s call to take New Faith to the next level of ministry. This hand on ministry helped in manifesting the dreams of the young children in Ford’s Heights to have a safe place to play. New Faith was “Setting Captives Free in 2003″ through the weatherization of homes in Pembroke, providing 650 turkey/food baskets for needy families, and distributing 3,600 gifts for the Angel Tree Ministry during the Christmas season, continuing to be the state’s leader in this ministry, and fighting against breast cancer in the first 5K run/walk raising $10,000.
While transforming lives, New Faith also changed the face of the facility. The trailer that housed the staff for 8 years was replaced with the current administrative wing and pastoral suite debt free.
Pastor Felder and the Church Council recognized the rapid increase in membership and New Faith moved forward in building expansions. A new design was created to honor God and New Faith began to move Forward by Faith in its Capital Campaign.
2004: New Faith’s theme was “Give God More in 2004″ through time, giving, studying, worshipping, praying, witnessing, saving, teaching, and serving. The membership had grown to 4,800 active members. Local evangelism and outreach continued.
2005: The theme “Transform Lives in 2005″ was a response to God’s call to reach the nations. In obedience to God, New Faith Baptist Church was renamed New Faith Baptist Church International. Then, The Joseph Assignment Global Initiative was birthed and a team of missionaries traveled to several villages in Ghana, West Africa to provide clean water, school supplies, teacher training, host free medical clinics, and refurbish village schools. Through the vision of Pastor Felder and Dr. Alexis, New Faith established five church locations in Ghana in the villages of Accra, Odoben, Tema, Takoradi, and Nsaba.
Whether local or across the seas, New Faith was diligent about building God’s Kingdom. With the 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastation, New Faith became a leading force in the collection and distribution of relief supplies. New Faith was recognized through local news coverage for their spirit of service. Individual ministries of New Faith were also recognized nationally. The Boy Scouts ministry, one of the oldest ministries at New Faith, was also recognized and honored nationally for their commitment and service to young men through scouting. New Faith also received The Leadership Award by Prison Fellowship for their active involvement in leading the way in aftercare and prison ministry.
New Faith continued in the transformation of lives by partnering with Habitat for Humanity in their endeavor to provide housing for the Lemon family which consisted of 18 people. Whether through worship, service, community outreach or a “Jazzing for Jesus” outdoor concert, New Faith provides every opportunity to reach the lost and to mature the saved.
Through New Faith’s relentless efforts in the community at large, the NAACP awarded Pastor Trunell D. Felder and New Faith with the Presidential Award for being a community leader and for their participation and support of the ACT-SO Program.
During this season, the membership grew to 5,300 active members.
2006: New Faith added their 4th weekend worship service to accommodate the growth. As well as, they kicked off their Forward by Faith international television broadcast and planted three additional churches in Ghana.
While New Faith has an international vision, the local outreach projects continue to impact the lives of those in need as mandated by God to our pastors.
The Joseph Assignment Global Initiative separated from New Faith’s annual mission trip to become a separate 501(c)3 global humanitarian organization with offices in the USA, Ghana and Liberia.
Today: New Faith Baptist Church International is one church on two continents and three countries, with plans to plant in Liberia and other parts of the world. New Faith’s USA church has grown to over 7,000 active members with over 1,300 people in prayer on Tuesday nights. A total of 15 remote village churches have been planted in Ghana (headquarters in Accra) with a combined membership of over 3,500. The South Africa (Cape Town) location has a total of 700 members.
New Faith continues to be the state leader in Angel Tree (Prison Fellowship) donations, to feed the homeless and house them through the Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) program, to provide Thanksgiving food baskets for over 1,000 struggling families, to provide 500 Christmas food baskets through the Rich Township Food Pantry (premier sponsor), to sponsor Chicago’s Englewood community’s 32 food pantries, to sponsor Pembroke’s Little League Baseball Team with uniforms and equipment, to partner with Habitat for Humanity, to host the men’s ministry’s family reading night in Ford Heights, and to provide school supplies for children living in Robbins, Illinois, (400) Pembroke (400), and Ford Heights (400).
Under the leadership of our pastors Rev. Dr. Trunell and Rev. Dr. Alexis Felder, New Faith Baptist Church International has embraced the great commission by making Jesus’ last command the church’s first priority.
Through the Joseph Assignment Global Initiative, the Drs. Felder have partnered with companies, organizations and individuals to provide 28 fresh water wells in remote villages in Ghana, two fresh water wells in Angola, built six schools, to establish a life farm to feed the children in the schools, to host annual free medical clinics that serve over 10,000 villages with free exams, free medicine, surgeries and continued care, and to support over 1,000 orphans and vulnerable children. The Joseph Assignment’s programs are located in Ghana, Liberia, Angola, Burkina Faso, India, South Africa, and the USA.
We believe that compassion must be followed by action that cultivates change and promotes holistic living in Christ.