The Story of Christ Fellowship Church
by Timothy O'Day
In July 2015, Zach Thompson and I moved our families from Jackson, Tennessee, to Utah with the desire to plant a church in the Provo-Orem metro area. This move was a long time in the making for me. Moving to Utah in order to preach the gospel was a desire of mine ever since I learned in 2010 that Utah is one of the least reached states in the US with an evangelical population of 2%. The Provo-Orem metro area was then, and still is, the least reached metro area in the US with less than 0.5% identifying as evangelical Christians. To put that differently, 98% of the state is lost and 99.5% of the metro I live in doesn’t know the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only that, but nearly 90% in that metro identify as Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), meaning that they would say they know and live in the gospel of Jesus Christ but have a view of God and salvation that is not found in the Bible. In short, we live in a dark and complicated place.
The process of planting a church in Utah has not been easy. We did not see a convert until nearly 2 years into the process. We did not have any believers from other churches join our core team until 2 years into the process. We started several Bible studies, both with groups and individuals, only to see the majority of people ultimately reject the gospel. It wasn’t until 2019, after 4 years of effort, that we officially planted Christ Fellowship Church. Things do not happen fast here. Most surveys of ex-Mormons who come to faith say that it takes an average of 7 years from when a Mormon first hears the gospel and doubts the tenets of Mormonism until he or she comes to faith in Jesus Christ. As we do this work, we wait on the Lord and trust his provision.
And the Lord has provided abundantly. Even though the process of planting a church has not been easy, the Lord’s provision and refinement has been rich. This past Sunday we baptized a young woman who constitutes the 21st member of our church, which may seem like a small thing to many, but is a significant milestone for us as we remember that 7 years ago it was just 4 of us pleading with the Lord to help us make the gospel known in Utah. At the baptism service, I was able to preach the gospel to her LDS family members who came, and she was able to stand before them and profess her trust in the true Christ. It was a beautiful way to celebrate 7 years in Utah.
As I share these things, I want to point out something that I hope is obvious: we have never been alone in this work. Not only has the Lord richly provided for us, but he has been pleased to do so through his church. If you are reading this, you have most likely been involved in some way. Countless saints and many churches have prayed for us, encouraged people to move out here and join with us, and provided for our financial needs as we seek to make Christ known in Utah. We thank God for your aid and support. Without it we would not be where we are today. Without it we cannot continue to do the work that we are doing. We thank God for you, our coworkers in the faith.