In less than 2 years, ACTS Community Church has moved from the beaches in Pot-Nets to a shopping center just off Route 24 at Oak Orchard with a mission of community outreach in the name of Jesus Christ.
Since he started the church in June 2012 with a congregation of six on the beach, Pastor Jim Nowland said the collective prayers have been answered for the future and growth of ACTS.
First, Nowland credits God for moving his congregation indoors in 2012 as Hurricane Sandy approached, and now, he said their prayers have been answered with a larger unit in the shopping center where he hopes to continue his community outreach.
“We grew and we grew. We needed a building and we prayed about it,” Nowland said. "God provided because we wouldn't be able to do it on the beach.”
At the new location of ACTS, Nowland and his wife, Judy, lead a growing congregation that assembles inside, sitting on a motley collection of patio furniture, spreading the word of Jesus despite an unconventional church setting.
"There's no protocol; every Sunday is different," Nowland said.
The nondenominational Christian church now has room for Sunday school and a nursery for the youngest members of the congregation, Judy said, and a new incarnation of God’s Victory Wall, where members of the congregation chronicle their answered prayers.
“Things we’ve prayed upon that have been brought to fruition go up on that wall as a reminder,” she said.
“It’s God’s provision,” Nowland said. “Sometimes it's new jobs, or grandparents have prayed and healthy babies were born. People dealing with incarcerations are reestablishing their lives.”
The pastor said he never planned to become a preacher, but after moving to the Millsboro area and witnessing some of the battles in a community dealing with arrests, drug addiction and hopelessness, Nowland said he was driven to take action and reach out with the word of Christ.
Since they founded the church, the Nowlands have reached out to the community with free lunchtime hotdogs at church barbecues and even a bayside baptism last summer.
Taking his inspiration from Jesus, ACTS was founded as a place of hope, love and restoration for the community, rooted in the New Testament, Nowland said.
“What draws people here is God,” Nowland said. “There’s no traditions here; you come here for Christ.”
ACTS Community Church is at 26582 John J. Williams Hwy., Millsboro. For more information, call 302-519-8004 or visit ACTS Community Church on Facebook.