Starting in 1870, a bunch of dedicated, Christ-focused people began building the Apex UMC Family of Faith Communities through a legacy of transforming the world for Christ. Even back then we were a church, really a movement of God’s people, dedicated to missions and ministries with a vision to share the gospel with our community. The people of that early church started this Southwest Wake County Methodist movement to share God’s holy grace with community – and it continues with all of us still today.
In fact, God’s calling for our current faith communities was seeded in those early years. Back then, we were part of a four-point charge – Apex was partnered with three other congregations located in Holly Springs, Macedonia, and Cary. Four churches with one pastor, a circuit rider, who traveled on horseback to preach the gospel on Sundays — alternating between congregations. Some might say, this was the beginning of the multi-site concept for Apex UMC – multiple congregations connected together in mission for the sake of the community.
Since then we’ve grown, faced challenges, rebuilt. The denomination has changed and merged. Our culture has changed, evolved. But, the needs of the people we serve remain — they are all seeking God’s love and grace. They search for a place to find comfort and peace among everyday trials. They look for the light in the darkness. God is using our church to share Christ as the only hope when all is lost. Because of the faithfulness of many disciples – clergy, lay leaders, and devout congregations alike – we are living the circuit rider legacy still today.
Our predecessors first started just around the corner at Elm St. and East Moore St. in a sanctuary built in 1872. It burned to the ground just seven years later. The Apex campus location we know today – the third church – was constructed in 1917.
As the community around us grew – so did Apex UMC. By 1952 we served 143 members – strong numbers for such a small community on the outskirts of Raleigh. The congregation recognized God’s calling to transform lives for Christ. So, they built the education building and fellowship hall to support growth and create opportunities to realize this vision.
Now, let’s skip to the 1990’s and early 2000’s. God’s blessings continued and we followed His calling. Apex and our neighboring towns expanded rapidly. So did our opportunities for outreach to Southwest Wake County and beyond. From kids and youth to adults and seniors – God opened doors for discipleship. He sent us to help those who need it most in places like Appalachia. He gave us resources to build, expand and plant churches.
Then, we planted seeds. Acts UMC launched in 2004 – beginning the journey of what we know today as The Peak.
He blessed us – and we continued to transform our community for Him.
As we grew, God called us to reclaim and name what mattered most to our church family. (The Methodists call this the cornerstone process.) Basically, we proclaimed our beliefs, values, vision, and mission that articulated the specific call God had for us.
The result of this 2006 exercise? (Trust us, it was a big one.)
It’s the vision statement we use still today: Inviting and equipping all to follow Jesus in transforming the world.
This renewed mission of creating disciples sparked discussion about how to fulfill God’s calling in the future. We had to plan for growth. We had to address both the spiritual and financial needs that would accompany expansion on the Apex campus and throughout our community.
So, we talked for two years. In 2008 it was time to begin planning for an Apex campus expansion and potential multi-site opportunities down the road.
But, when God closes a door, we know to listen. While verging on implementation, the economy crashed. And, we knew it would not be fiscally responsible to continue as originally projected. So, we hit the pause button.
However, even though our original plans paused, God’s transformations continued. (Cause God’s cool that way.)
In June 2008, Acts moved its worship to Apex UMC campus, and we began to serve together as two independent churches in one physical location. A new Hispanic outreach ministry was birthed to serve the growing population of our Hispanic/Latino neighbors.
It was 2009, and all three of our faith communities were thriving. Combined we shared God’s incredible love and grace with 1,000 people combined.
Therefore, in 2010 we unpaused. The expansion plan was reinstated. God opened expanded doors to share Jesus through the preschool, small groups, and community needs. He never stopped working in and through our community. (Cause that’s just how God roles.) We believed the time was right to create a space that would serve our expanding congregations and our neighbors. He brought us back to the original plans and congregational vote to expand the Apex campus while exploring further reach into the region.
Through the Imagine the Possibilities Campaign – phase 1 of a planned 2 phase capital campaign — our congregation stood behind God’s calling by pledging support for the construction of a new discipleship center, crossroads building, worship arts building and sanctuary expansion.
And, when God opens doors, his disciples follow.
Economic conditions drove an aggressive timeline that moved a five-year build plan to 18 months – saving us an estimated 10% to 20% in construction costs by taking advantage of low labor and materials costs in a depressed building climate.
And, when God works – he really works.
Expansion wasn’t just happening at the Apex campus. It was happening throughout our community. Peak UMC was rocking. Fiesta Cristiana was worshiping at the Halle Cultural Center and 519 launched in West Cary. We were one church comprised of four faith communities – all working together to transform a community. It’s only through God’s vision that we could accomplish this.
Now here we are. It’s 2017. And, we’re still focused on the original plan God seeded 144 years ago. Our primary focus is to invite the towns surrounding Apex to God’s glory. We’ve built an inviting worship space where all of our faith community can gather. Where we equip each other and our community in spaces designed for building connections with each other in the light of the Holy Spirit.
We’ve planted disciples who worship at multiple locations throughout the region. Disciples who are transforming the world. Today, we are one church with four distinct faith communities at three sites. We’re a modern-day version of the circuit riders who planted God’s vision so long ago. We are still connected for the sake of sharing God with our community – a community we have helped build for nearly a century and a half. Just like in 1890, we are a church claiming God’s future for the gospel.