The pastor, a former DuPont senior financial analyst, believes wise stewardship leads to achieving goals

On Saturday, Aug. 3, Love of Christ Church held a groundbreaking celebration to build the permanent home for its second campus at 316 Warwick Road in Middletown.

Love of Christ Church has two campuses, a permanent facility in Bear and a temporary Middletown location, meeting at Middletown High School Sundays at 11 a.m.

The Middletown Campus launched in February 2015, with a vision to expand the love of Christ into lower Delaware.

“This brought us into a new era of becoming one church in two locations,” said Senior Pastor Stephen Harvell, who founded Love of Christ Church in 1991 with his wife, Pastor Barbara Harvell.

The Middletown Campus is being led by Pastor Curtis Harper, a local resident, who has been serving on staff since 2008.

In March 2015, Love of Christ Church celebrated the burning of their mortgage note for the Bear Campus, built in 2006.

“God had supernaturally allowed our congregation of about 300 people [at that time] to borrow $3.5 million, and in nine short years we were debt-free,” Stephen Harvell continued.

This enabled the church to accelerate saving for the building of their second permanent location, which will be paid in full when the Middletown campus facility opens in late 2019 or early 2020. All the funds for this endeavor have come through people’s regular tithes and offerings, and not building campaigns or fundraisers.

Stephen Harvell, a former DuPont senior financial analyst, has always had a passion for wise financial stewardship and debt-free living, be it a church, a family or an individual.

“Debt is ingrained in our culture, but it can hinder us from accomplishing our goals,” he said.

A debt-free strategy has enabled Love of Christ Church to be more effective in carrying out their vision: “To love our communities until they experience the life-changing power of Christ.”

Last year alone they gave nearly $200,000 to help people in the community experiencing financial hardship and to support other local ministries on the front lines of meeting practical needs. In addition, they give monthly offerings to national and international missions, including Love of Christ Church India, which they founded 20 years ago and now has over 400 churches and a combined weekly attendance of more than 11,000.

But it’s more than just wise financial stewardship that is helping Love of Christ Church accomplish their goals.

“It’s because of God’s power and grace, and the faithfulness of the people who love, serve and give together as the family of God,” said Stephen Harvell.

He thinks having a permanent physical address in Middletown will have a big influence on their ability to share God’s love with the community. Situated on 10 acres, the new 16,500 square-foot facility includes a sanctuary that seats 475.

Love of Christ Church launched its first service with 17 people 28 years ago. Today more than 2,500 people regularly attend one of the campuses or watch their services livestreamed over the internet.