CAMBRIDGE — Abraham Lankford, pastor and founder at Jesus’ Church International in Cambridge, has a vision for his nondenominational church and for the city.
About three months ago, the relatively new church moved Sunday services to the Dorchester Career and Technology Center where Pastor Lankford said he rents space by the hour.
“It’s just phenomenal. We couldn’t ask for anything better than what we have here,” the pastor said. “I’m thankful. We could not find a facility like this in Cambridge. We prayed. God gave us this awesome opportunity. We love it.”
Pastor Lankford also said he’s thankful for the Dorchester County Board of Education.
“They’ve given us favor. They’ve really blessed us,” he said. “This is a very unique opportunity for us to be able to be in here.”
The church uses the multipurpose room at DCTC for its adult services on Sunday.
“We typically set up about 75 chairs,” Pastor Lankford said. “We don’t have that many people coming yet.”
The pastor said his church uses another room to host interactive Sunday services for children as well. Ten to 15 children from ages 4 to 11 attend each week. He described the children’s services as very hands on with lots of arts and crafts. The children’s room includes access to the outside playground. Services for both adults and children run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Sunday.
Pastor Lankford, 38, grew up in Federalsburg. He moved to the Chestertown area with his family when he was 11, where he met his high school sweetheart, Wendy. Now his wife, Abraham and Wendy Lankford have been married for 17 years and are going on 25 years of being best friends. They have lived in Cambridge for more than 10 years and have three children, their oldest son Christian, daughter Kaylee and another son, Aidan.
"She’s a huge part of this ministry,” Pastor Lankford said of his wife. “She helps lead the worship on Sunday mornings. ... She works in the children’s ministry, directing the children’s ministry until we have appointed people over that which is our goal.”
Pastor Lankford has another goal for his ministry and for Cambridge — a racial reconciliation.
“My desire, personally, is to see an eclectic group of people worshipping. That is the passion of my heart, one of the many passions,” he said. “I want to see African-American leadership here at the church, pastoral staff, Latino, every culture. We want a multicultural church, a leadership base. We want that to even send a message to the city. We’re here to see a reconciliation within this city because it desperately needs it.”
Besides Sunday services at DCTC, the church offers houses of peace in Secretary and Conifer Village in Cambridge. Pastor Lankford hopes that the ministry grows to include many more houses of peace.
“Our vision of our church is to evangilize, affirm, disciple and send,” Pastor Lankford said. “These houses of peace are designed to affirm the believers, those who are in need of affirmation and growth. ... Every house of peace will have subleaders. Those subleaders will be trained to open up their own house of peace.”
The pastor said he hopes to one day see hundreds of houses of peace including sites in every ward in Cambridge.
“The concept is every house of peace will reach their ethnos,” Pastor Lankford said. “Whatever sphere of influence that they have, if there’s one on Light Street in Cambridge, that house of peace, they will know their neighbors. They’ll be there to pray for them during difficult times. They’ll be there to show them the love of the Father. So, all of these houses of peace are designed to minister to the needs of people outside of the traditional setting of the church, but they’re also designed to connect people to the larger gathering on Sundays. ...
“We long for the presence of God,” he said. “That’s the heartbeat of our ministry, the very presence of God. We worship him passionately. ... We believe that without God we cannot do anything. We know that. We long for his presence to be with us. ... More than anything, this community needs a revelation of the Father’s love.”
For more information about the church, visit jesuschurchcambridge.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.