By Susan LeDoux and Rick Kern
The Lord seems to have a particular fondness for small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10) and Liberty Temple Ministries (LTM) is living proof. Established in 1997 with five people who met in a home, LTM has grown into a godly force that communicates the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. “Liberty Temple Ministries Church of God in Christ, Inc. was founded in 1997 by Pastor Charles G. Simmons, Sr.,” says his wife, Evangelist Missionary Rachel Simmons. “We are a dynamic family and a community oriented church with a burning desire to reach the lost, make disciples, and up-build the Kingdom of God!” Both Pastor and Evangelist Simmons were raised in strong Christian homes and in August will celebrate 49-years of marriage.
The strong Christian foundational up-bringing and background has led Pastor and Evangelist Simmons to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the community to transform their world one person at a time through discipleship. Additionally, they have shaped Liberty Temple Ministries to create a biblical community through Church School and biblically-focused, culturally relevant corporate worship. Through it they are changing lives, changing families, and changing their world.
Their spiritual achievements have created the need for them to expand LTM in order to move the Kingdom of God forward in their area. “We are expanding so that we can have more of an impact in the community. We were limited with our current space,” Evangelist Simmons explains. “We’ll be able to offer more programs with the growth of the church. Prayerfully, we want to grow the church to the point where we will have more manpower, resources, and people, to reach out to the community on a larger scale.”
Pastor Simmons reveals that God gave him the vision in 1998 to acquire the property adjacent to the church from corner to corner, which is evident of God’s faithfulness today. He quotes Psalm 118:23 (KJV) “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Once the new building is constructed, the existing church will provide room for overflow, serve as an all-purpose area, and house the kitchen, offices, and a fellowship hall to serve the community. LTM will also be able to expand their outreaches which include such ministries as free food and clothing distributions, block parties for the community, and book bags stocked with school supplies for students.
As the church leader, Pastor Simmons knows the challenges facing his flock. He noted that just one-out-of-ten black males graduate high school in Rochester. The dismal graduation rate reflects poverty on every level, from scarcity in the home to no sense of hope. In his work with Rochester’s Judicial Process Commission he mentored inmates to help them prepare for their pending release. “It was frustrating,” he recalls, “after mentoring them, some would return to their old ways and say they didn’t have a choice.”
LTM’s neighborhood has evolved into a unique mix that includes residents from different nations such as Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, and Hispanic ethnicities. Accordingly, the church is accepting people of all cultures with the love of God. “We are open to approaching our praise and worship with songs that would be culturally relevant to these groups of people, as much as possible,” says Evangelist Simmons. “Our outreach will be enhanced by going door to door and/or doing street ministry.” And God is blessing their efforts. Since LTM’s presence in the neighborhood; prostitution in the area has dropped markedly.
As LTM wins the hearts of the community for Christ, they invest wholeheartedly in making vibrant, thriving disciples. Their mission is to lead people to a vital, personal faith in Jesus Christ, and help them grow to maturity so that they might reproduce themselves as disciples and become involved in edifying the Kingdom of God. They accomplish this through effective witnessing, focusing on the entire family, providing programs and activities that will educate, train and equip believers to live a life that emulates Christ. “We just want to build on what we already have,” explains Evangelist Simmons, “continuous growth and bringing more people to the Lord. Saving souls is what it’s all about.”
For more information about Liberty Temple Ministries you can visit their Website located at www.libertytempleministries.org or call (585) 464-8476.