Word of Joy Community Church (Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA)

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The core group of the Word of Joy Community Church in 1991.
Pastor Jim Maust and wife Mille are seated on the right;
Overseer Clayton Swartzentruber and wife Margaret are seated in the center)

Word of Joy Community Church grew out of the concern of missions-minded persons in the Franconia Mennonite Conference (FMC) during the mid-1980s. US Route 422, a major four-lane artery, was being considered between King of Prussia and Reading in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. It later became known as the "422 Corridor." The "422 Corridor" would not only facilitate transportation between Reading and Philadelphia but also have a growth impact in the intermediate communities such as Royersford, Collegeville and Limerick. A feasibility study was conducted to determine potential sites for a new church plant in the area, a church that would be contemporary in worship style and outreach. FMC made the decision to proceed with a church plant in the area.

Under Overseer Clayton Swartzentruber, members from FMC and local Mennonite churches formed an advisory council in 1990 consisting of Luke Beidler, Kirk Hanger, John Holloway, Barbara Mansfield and Clayton Swartzentruber to initiate the ministry and to give oversight to James L. "Jim" Maust as pastor pro-tem. Jim’s effective leadership in initiating and serving as pastor of the Branch Fellowship (now Branch Creek Community Church) had been observed by FMC leaders. Word of Joy would be by definition contemporary and pro-charismatic. Jim, who was at the time pastor at Harrisonville Mennonite Church, Harrisonville, Missouri, was invited to give leadership to this new church plant. 

Worship in the firehouse in the early 1990s.

In March 1991 Jim Maust began meeting with a core group of persons interested in assisting with the new work. An average of 28 persons attended meetings in the fellowship hall of Methacton Mennonite Church that first month. By May 1991, 100 persons had committed themselves to prayer for Word of Joy Community Church (WJCC). In March 1991 the first public meeting in Royersford, Pennsylvania at the Friendship Fire Company second floor meeting room saw an attendance of 46. Children’s classes were conducted in the space between fire trucks on the first floor.

In August 1994, Word Of Joy moved to the more spacious 4-H Center in Creamery, Pennsylvania for Sunday services. Mike (and Kelly) Klassen joined the congregation as associate pastor in September. In June 1995, Word Of Joy attendance peaked at an average of 124 for the month. Until the mid-1990s there was consistent growth in attendance and giving. Missions giving frequently exceeded 30 percent of offerings.

Despite these positive experiences, intense opposition from a particular neighbor put strain on the congregation's leadership and sapped energy from the church planting effort. Membership and attendance gradually declined through the late 1990s, and ten years after initiating the work, Word of Joy closed its doors in the year 2000. For a short time before closure, the congregation moved its affiliation from Franconia Mennonite Conference to DOVE Christian Fellowship International.

Additional Information

Denominational Affiliations: Franconia Mennonite Conference

Word of Joy Community Church Pastors

Name Years
of Service
James L. Maust  1991-2000 
Michael Klassen  1994-1996 

Word of Joy Community Church Membership

Year Membership
1995  72 

Author(s) James L Maust
Date Published July 2012

Cite This Article

MLA style

Maust, James L. "Word of Joy Community Church (Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. July 2012. Web. 11 May 2021. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Word_of_Joy_Community_Church_(Collegeville,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=141751.

APA style

Maust, James L. (July 2012). Word of Joy Community Church (Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 11 May 2021, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Word_of_Joy_Community_Church_(Collegeville,_Pennsylvania,_USA)&oldid=141751.

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