Congregation finds home at The Multitude of Christ Church
[subtitle]CHURCH OF THE YEAR[/subtitle]
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
The first sign to a recent visitor that The Multitude of Christ Church (MOC) doesn’t have a traditional ambience was obvious right after stepping through the door.
The entry way resembles an office reception area. A door nearby a desk and chair leads to a sanctuary that belies the outward appearance of the converted old warehouse building that sits off Orange Avenue near the Springhill Road intersection.
Inside framed pictures are mounted on the light green walls, most depicting nature scenes. The exception is a picture of a lion hung on the wall behind the pulpit. The pews resemble long-time movie theater seats, with a long carpet in the aisle.
Founder Pastor Kevin Hawkins preaches from a floor-level area with two huge chairs that are painted gold with red seats as part of the backdrop.
“This is vision given to me from the Lord,” Hawkins said. “This is what God has instructed me to do and how to lay this sanctuary out.”
The handful of members who attended a recent Wednesday night service seemed close-knit. Their interaction with Hawkins during his sermon was constant with shouts of praise at his beckoning
“A church like this, especially this ministry and the way that pastor Hawkins preaches reminds me a lot of my upbringing and it reminds me of the sense of family,” said Timothy Oswald, a member of the church for seven months. “Everybody gets to know everybody instead like big churches where you become a face in the crowd. You don’t get a lot of that one-on-one time with the minister.”
Hawkins founded MOC in Tampa in 1994. He relocated to Tallahassee in 2010 and was previously located on Apalachee Parkway before moving to its current location. The non-denominational church, which Hawkins started in his home, recently received the distinction of being named the Church of the Year by the Capital Outlook.
Membership has been slowly growing, but Hawkins said his mission is bigger than increasing the number of people who attend his church.
“My goal, period, is to see souls saved,” Hawkins said. “Souls in the truth of God’s word, living the way the Bible says live as believers of Christ. My goal is to see them be children of God.”
In part, membership might be slow because the church sits behind a chain-linked fence with a gate that’s seldom opened when services aren’t taking place. With the exception of Hawkins’ weekly radio ministry on WTAL (1450 AM), word-of-mouth is the church’s advertisement.
People who go do so because they are driven by a higher power, Hawkins said. Emma Harris, who said she and her family found the church during their search for a place to worship, agreed.
“You’ve got to hear that voice telling you, ‘hey turn in; hey, come in,’ ” Harris said. “You’ve got to have that spirit. Not everybody has that spirit to know this is where God is at.”
“I feel God here,” she said. “We got baptized, we got saved. Our whole family has been living for the Lord now and it’s just better.”