Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We’re Going
While assisting his father in ministry at his home church Jerusalem Baptist, after an unfortunate turn of events that would not allow him to succeed his father’s legacy, providence would have it that New Joshua would be birthed. This would be a ministry that would meet the need for more than a mere church experience for the believer and would hopefully take the local church model to another level in the community of predominately black churches. One that would not only teach man about God but would also teach him more about himself and how to be in relationship with God giving him access to rights, benefits, and privileges promised him in the word. After a long and prayerful contemplation, Prophet Walker therefore, founded New Joshua Full Gospel Baptist Church with a vision that centers on faith, hope and love. This ministry would inclue in-depth biblical teaching and preaching, moral conduct, prosperity, healing, prophecy, vibrant praise and worship, and utilizing the five fold gifts of the church given to perfect His church (Eph. 4: 11,12).
New Joshua Full Gospel Baptist Church was founded on March 10th, 2000. Our church fellowship began with 17 members all of which, with the exception of a few are still in attendance. Our first year of operations were managed by Prophet Walker as Pastor, one Administrative Assistant, and a Leadership Council; we as a local church was established with the following ministries after a period of rapid growth: Weekly Sunday Morning and Evening Worship Service, Weekly Bible Study, Women’ s fellowship, Men’s fellowship, Music Ministry and JAYM (Jesus and Youth Ministry). Due to the rapid rate of growth, New Joshua was forced to implement a second morning Worship Service at 9:00 a.m., leaving the original at 11:00 a.m. By the end of our first year, New Joshua had added over 200 souls to the ministry at which time we also began the process of purchasing our first facility at 4119 So. Lafayette St. Many were saved, baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. During our first year the church was able to purchase our first van and a sound system. Only a few weeks young, New Joshua made its first fellowship trip to Flint, MI with Heavenly Host Full Gospel Baptist Church, Bishop M. C. Akins. As a young church, New Joshua was able to send Prophet, first Lady and Elder Mckinley to the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Conference at that time held in New Orleans, LA where we became a member. We were blessed within the first year to have celebrated the elevation of our Pastor, Prophet Walker to District Overseer of Northeast Indiana area of the Fellowship and later in 2003 State Overseer under the esteemed leadership of Presiding Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr..
In 2001, Prophet Walker developed the C.E.E.P concept (Capitol Economic Empowerment Program) to manifest the Spirit of giving to finance the vision and the enhancement of this community. With C.E.E.P our church and its ministries for humanity would be able to reach out into our community with a strategy of social economic development. Another program, ELI (Economic Leverage Initiative) was also birthed to lead people into financial security through economic empowerment.
From 2001- 2002, many ministries were added to the church …Praise Team, Choir, Children’s Church, Armor Bearers, Prayer Warriors, Doorkeepers/Greeters, Culinary, Nurses, Joshua’s Gentlemen, I Am Woman, Jesus and Youth Ministry, Shepard’s care, The Announcers Guild, Finance Committee, Administrative Staff, Building Maintenance and the Used To B’s. Over our 15 year history we have witnessed numerous signs of healing, deliverance and miracles throughout the ministry. Lives have been changed and we have actually witnessed life being conquered and the enemy being defeated as our model states. During this time, more ministries had been added to the church…. The Council of Elders, Alter Ministry, Ministers Alliance, SWIM, Living Single, Saturday School, Higher-level Book Club, F.A.T., Stretching it to The Limit, Forever Word, and the founding of Joshua’s Childcare Academy. During this time, New Joshua was known for its crazy praise style of worship. We were able to have several members attend the Full Gospel Fellowship Conference held in many different cities. Because of his anointed teaching, preaching and leadership of Prophet Walker, NJ has been across the Nation doing ministry. In 2003 New Joshua would be represented by Prophet Walker at the International Full Gospel Fellowship Conference held in Baltimore as a conference speaker.
After purchasing land for expansion and continued growth, NJ would take a turn for advancement, Relocation and spiritual warfare. Over the years ministry continued, but the honeymoon would soon be over, storms would rage and while many challenges would be met the enemy would be harder to defeat. Instead of expanding the worship facility in which we were housed, providence and favor granted us the opportunity to purchase our second facility after only six years; our present home at 4202 Hessen Cassel Rd. Our ministry would continue to grow but not without spiritual attack and the gates of hell would try to prevail against the church but it was obviously built on a rock.
Just as the prophet had determined to step aside, Providence would have it that he would discover a book written by John Baker entitled, Life’s Healing Choices. It would be through those writings that not only our founder and leader but the core of our church family would experience the joy and freedom that follows being healed of one’s Hurts, Habits and Hang ups. The Holy Spirit would share with him what we call our Core ideology; Cooperative Objectives Releasing Expectations which simply means, now that you are healed, delivered and set free you will give others hope. When they see you conquering Life and defeating the enemy of your purpose they will want to know how to do the same. We meditated for the next few years on a revelation of enduring temptation where God said in James 1:12 “blessed is the man that endures temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him”. We discovered that if we could endure the temptation to quit, give up or give in to defeat, despair and low living we would receive the crown of life, better stated; the abundant life that Christ promised. Finally we had resolve, we could move forward.
Armed with that knowledge, we began to open up for new experiences, more challenges and resume our quest to call men, women and children to Christ, build them up and send them out according to our, not new……but revised mission; To Conquer Life and Defeat The Enemy of Purpose through Worship, Word and Work. However this time, thanks to the principles we’d obtained from Life’s Healing Choices and a Purpose Driven Life, we were being healed (and still are) of our Hurts, Habits and Hang-Ups and we at that point now understood the purpose behind our mission and set out to become a Purpose Driven Church; not a situational or emotional or traditional or anything else, but a “Purpose” Driven Church. We now understood God’s purpose for His Church which was and is to Worship – get to know and love Him, Fellowship – get to know and love one another, Discipleship – learn to mature, grow and live by faith, Ministry – offer our gifts to serve the body of Christ through a local assembly and Mission – tell everyone everywhere; this is how my life was before I came into Fellowship with God by faith in Jesus Christ through His Church. This is how God got my attention. This is what I had to do to grow and this is how my life has been since I made that decision.
We started from scratch, “forgetting the past and pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus” and in January of 2013 God would grace our founder and pastor to dream again according to his faith. We had been Restored, experience a Revolution of change and was able to Reset his life to live the rest of his life better than he did the first half of his life and show others how to do the same. Resovling to never again try to give what he didn’t have and to lead by example, he would then lead us into a 3 year transitional campaign entitled, “Building a House Fit to Live In”. We would distinguish the Church that was in us, “New Joshua” from the building that we worshipped in and change the name to “Joshua’s Temple” home of The New Joshua Church Family where we learn how to Conquer Life.
He knew if this strategy could repair and turn his life around which had been dismantled by sin (falling short) and scandal, it could turn anyone’s life around. He committed to personal development and taught us the habits of personal development: Corporate Participation, Personal time with God, Accountability, Ministry and Being Open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Everyone had to go through 16 hours of Conquering Life 101-401 or you weren’t considered a member. He taught us that every authentic believer in Jesus Christ’s DNA mirrors 5 distinctions: 1.) They’ll find a local church family to belong 2.) They’ll submit to leadership 3.) They’ll offer their gifts and talents to minister to the body 4.) They’ll give their tithes and offerings to support the vision and 5.) They’ll tell everybody they can about how their church has changed their lives. Now, not only “he” but “We” had a mission and our target; anybody who doesn’t know and have a relationship with God through Jesus Chris. Any Christian whose made bad life decisions and are wondering if they can start all over again and find success in life with God and 3rdly, people who have fallen out of Church because of church hurt or misunderstanding but needs a church family to call home. Having completed PHASE I The Year of Recovery, (recovering those things lost in life’s battles) PHASE II The Year of Revolution (learning to properly utilize those things recovered) and now the third and final preparation period of the campaign; learning how to Reset – Putting God Back Where He Belongs; First Place. (Psa 37:3-5 KJV) 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Finally, after a visit from our Mayor one Sunday in 2013 and being deeply disturbed by his comments about the residents in Southeast Fort Wayne and our not taking responsibility for our own destiny, the Prophet responded and sought God for answers and God responded. He resolved to get involved and no longer would JT or our community be on the begging end of Community Development waiting for someone to do for us what we aught to be doing for ourselves. Hearing the call of Isaiah 61:4: They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. God gave him a vision to begin a renaissance movement in Southeast Fort Wayne for Spiritual and Social Economic Development that would take the next three years just to lay the foundation through discipleship and community service orientation. He boldly came before a fledgling congregation and said, “God said that we are to plant a CORE of 1500 people in this community that will be agents of change by helping them to manage their: Trouble, Time, Talent, Treasure, Temple and Team. He then Founded Joshua’s Hand Inc., A 501c3 Community Development organization that would transition Joshua’s Temple to be a witness to the Kingdom of God, a Beacon to the Residents, an Entryway to a revitalized Southeast Quadrant/Hessen Cassel Throughway, and a catalyst to begin a McMillen Renaissance.
It’s mission; “To assist the community in helping impoverished person replace the destructive effects of poverty and homelessness with positive supportive and transformative services designed to promote self-‐leadership, hope and well-‐being while transitioning into safe, decent and affordable permanent housing.”
It’s Purpose; To assist the revitalization of communities located within the 46806, 16, 07 and 15 ZIP Codes by working with the City of Fort Wayne to encourage, Community Development, and Economic Stabilization using Creative Housing Strategies that include Rentals, Lease to Purchase, Restoration and Homeowner Rehabilitation, New Constructs and Mortgage products.
Prophet Walker has been establishing himself in the community as a relationship builder and Community Developer. He now sits on boards in the community; appointed by the Mayor to (HANDS) Housing And Neighborhood Development, Thurgood Marshall Academy and Indiana Commission on Black Men. Joshua’s Hand has partnered with Belay Corp and performed complete renovation of new homes for mid to low-income residents and currently building 2 new homes across the street from our Church campus. Joshua’s Hand has taken the lead and partnering with The Model Group Development Firm and has been afforded the opportunity to renovate the 23 acres where stood the former McMillen apartments replacing them with 50 Townhouses for the Scholar House Project. Joshua’s Hand’s partnerships with CANI, The Fort Wayne Housing Authority, The Lutheran Health Network area colleges and others will provide housing and childcare for parents trying to further their education. That development will also includes 50 homes for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren called The Grand Families Community. It will purchase the Anthony Wayne shops, the old bank building on Mckinny and gas station for redevelopment and new businesses totaling a $45 million development.
Joshua’s Temple is a church that was raised up in this community for this community in the providence of God for His good pleasure and the prosperity and success of it’s people. In spite of our ups and downs, trials and tribulations our church family is growing again with the renovation of our church campus in view, we are in the vanguard of transforming Southeast Fort Wayne for social economic development and showing all of the signs of a people who indeed have learned to Conquer Life and Defeat every Enemy that threatens our Purpose. We are now in 2017 looking forward to God doing ExtraOrdinary things with the goal of becoming one of the most mature churches in the area by 2020.