The History of Jesus Community Church
Jesus’ Community Church was born shortly after a pastor named Rex Applebury resigned from his position at a local church in Stevensville, Montana in the fall of 1982. After his resignation from the church he was pastoring, Rex spent several months prayerfully considering what he should do with his gifts and calling. All the while he was being encouraged by many of the former members of his previous church to start a new church. In the spring of 1983 with the help of Ted Nelson, Orvil (Butch) Smith, and others, the Stevensville Grange was contacted and arrangements were made to hold church services in the building. This property was originally owned by the Stevensville Methodist Church where they held church services until they built a larger church. In June of 1964 they sold the property to the Stevensville Grange #117.
Much to Rex and his wife Janice’s surprise, over 50 people showed up for that first service, and Jesus’ Community Church was born. After several months of church services and organizational meetings, Jesus’ Community Church was officially recognized by the Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation in September of 1983. The original leadership of the church was Rex Applebury, the teaching elder, and Cyrus (Sandy) Ingersoll was a ruling elder. The original deacons were Ken Billing, Michael Brown, Ted Nelson, Orvil (Butch) Smith, and Donald Thomas.
In the fall of 1983 the church leaders felt that Jesus’ Community Church would be a long term body of believers; therefore, in February of 1984, they entered into an agreement to purchase the property from the Stevensville Grange. After months of working with the State Grange, the purchase of the property was completed in September of 1985. In February of 1987 elder Sandy Ingersoll announced that he was going to donate his house on Pine Street to the church to be used as a parsonage. Sandy remained in the house until he had a stroke in June of 1988, at which time Rex and his family moved into the house. In July of 1990 the church purchased three lots that adjoined the church property to the east. These lots fronted on Pine Street and had a small mobile home and a two-car garage with a dirt floor. The church converted the mobile home into a class room and a nursery. When the mobile home was outgrown, the congregation went to work remodeling the garage. A concrete floor was added, as well as a bath room. The room was then divided with movable dividers to provide for several classrooms.
In May of 1991 Rex Applebury had a massive heart attack and went home to be with the Lord. The leadership spent several weeks in prayer and decided to contact Northwest Independent Church Extension (NICE) to seek a replacement pastor. God provided a recently graduated student from a reputable seminary school. Kelley McCormick, his wife Michelle and family came to Stevensville and visited for several weeks, after which the leadership decided to hire Kelley as the pastor. Kelley and family moved into the parsonage and started their ministry at Jesus’ Community Church in July of 1991.
As time went on, the church continued to grow, and as people came and went, the church leadership changed over the years. In addition to the original elders and deacons, the leadership members later included Phil Richards, Fred Pullium, Don Hunter, Dave Silvieus, Denis Applebury, Don Vick, Matthew Oliver, Steve Munnell and Glenn Van Note.
In February of 1993 the church purchased a parcel of land on north Pine Street close to the Eastside Highway. The property was an open field with no improvements on it. The property was purchased in hopes of building a new church building with classrooms, in addition to having enough space to host community activities. In April of 1997 Kelley and Michelle built their own home and moved out of the parsonage. The leadership chose to liquidate the parsonage and soon found a buyer.
In March of 2001 the church had outgrown their classroom space and church activity area. The decision was made to add onto the classroom building on Pine Street. Plans were drawn up and construction began. A general contractor was hired with many of the church members volunteering their time and talents. The addition consisted of a large kitchen area, another rest room and three classrooms. The old garage area was converted into a large open space for church activities, pot luck meals, or large meetings.
In May of 2010, after much discussion and prayer, the leadership hired Trevor Eshuis, the existing youth group leader, as a full time youth pastor, and he served in that position until his move to Washington in October of 2012. In February of 2012 Pastor Kelley McCormick announced to the congregation that he was resigning as pastor of the church and moving to southern California to plant a new church. Kelley and his family served at Jesus’ Community Church through June of 2012. In July of 2012 the leadership installed Glenn Van Note as the teaching elder, pastor of the church, where he is currently still serving.