HISTORY OF CIFC
CIFC has been created with the sole purpose to minister to a lost world and the body of Christ in a multi-faceted setting. We are a bilingual congregation ministering in both English and Creole. The following is our history and story of the ministry.
On August 18, 2002, after receiving instructions from the Lord, Joseph Vanès Youance led a group of dedicated Christians, having the heart to serve God and people, into starting a new Ministry known this day as CIFC, “Centre International de Foi en Christ:” This organic group was composed of: Antony DesRavines as treasurer and Ritha Bissainthe-Ciceron, Monique DesRavines as public relations leader, Suzette Youance as secretary, and Eddy Léger as counselor. From the beginning, the Lord had provided for everything. We officially opened the church doors for worship service and bible study in a prayer room that Faith Bible Church of South Carolina allowed CIFC to use for free for a period of six months. During that time of occupation at Faith Bible Church, the board of CIFC elected to give to the host church 10% of CIFC’s collections for World Mission. However, four months after the start, Faith Bible Church grew so fast that the pastor reclaimed the space; so we had to vacate the sanctuary by December 31, 2002. It was a harsh moment for CIFC; we thought of having more time to plan and wait on the Lord for directions while the news was sudden.
In search for a new place of Worship, God sent us to Rhema Covenant Fellowship Center, where Rev. John Brown II housed CIFC’s operation for the next three months. We were permitted to use their facilities in exchange of a $500 monthly contribution until CIFC moved to its old own location, 4469 Hobbs Hill Dr. Charlotte, NC 28215.
From the time CIFC left the prayer room used as worship sanctuary at Faith Bible Church in Fort Mill, SC, the board, with the agreement of the membership, went into the real property market in search of a small house with lots of land to purchase with the intention to build later. Divine intervention, God led us to the property on Hobbs Hill Dr. Although given by God, it was still a challenge for CIFC to purchase since we have not been in operation for long or having a large membership to secure a loan from a financial institution, but faith was victorious. A contract was set at $279,000.00 and CIFC contacted Pastor David Allen, a former pastor and mentor of Joseph Youance to help the ministry in the purchase of the property. Pastor Allen graciously agreed to that and signed the contract on CIFC’s behalf. The deal was approved under his name and he recommended that we searched for alternate financing as soon as we become qualified for credit. With no money down from the ministry, CIFC closed the deal with a substantial donation from the Children of the property’s owner in the amount of $33,000.00
Once CIFC moved in the property, we remodeled the interior of the house into a sanctuary tightly fitting 100 chairs.
Soon after the purchase of the property, we experienced a quick growth that the current building could not hold causing the membership to plateau. In addition, the ministry encountered many difficulties while planning to develop the land. Still, we could not secure any loan after 12 years of existence because the banks kept on raising the gauge to lend. However, led by the Spirit of God, CIFC chose to make these obstacles into opportunities. Once more at the beginning of year 2014, CIFC kicked a fund raising activity toward purchasing a corner lot adjacent to its location to satisfy City of Charlotte’s requirements for church. While searching, CIFC was introduced to Converge MidAdlantic, an organization that commits to ignite, connect, and strengthen the Church of Jesus-Christ. This affiliation opened new horizons, spiritually and materially. Right after joining Converge MidAtlantic, CIFC learned that we were qualified for half a million dollars loan toward building or purchasing a new sanctuary.
A week later, CIFC visited the facilities located at 2019 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, a 19,382 sq. ft complex of three connected building: sanctuary and fellowship, an education building, and a full basketball gymnasium. We exchanged offers with St-Luke Methodist Church, the previous owner of the Church and settled with the offer of $700,000.00. Through Converge, Cornerstone Funds granted CIFC a loan of $600,000, the Membership of CIFC supported by friends in the community here and at large raised some $80,000 within a year and the ministry through its funds contributed by taking the remaining balance for closing. Within six weeks, God had done what we fought to achieve for the last eleven years. Our new sanctuary is valued for over 1.7 million dollars. This truly is a gift from GOD. Therefore with this new sanctuary, we are committed more than ever to our community and we plan to impact it one person at a time. The entire membership of CIFC has contributed beyond their means toward the acquisition of this property that belongs to them and for future generations.
In parallel to the material growth of the ministry, a more important growth was taking place within the ministry because the Lord continually added those He chose to be in the ministry in whatever capacity He so desired.
In January 2004, God established contact between Pastor Marc-Arthur Pierre-Louis and CIFC while he was a student at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, NC while he was still a resident of Austin, Texas. He came and helped as if CIFC was his home church. Aware of his contributions to the growth of the ministry and the support his family provided, the congregation of CIFC together with the leadership, after prayers and consultations, proposed that Pastor Pierre-Louis joined CIFC. After prayers and deliberation with his family, he responded in July 2004 that he would relocate to Charlotte, NC to join the church. CIFC received him in August as co-pastor of the church sharing the responsibility of caring for the church with the founder. This relationship both agreed for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ.
The initial board of CIFC was composed of: Joseph V. Youance as Pastor and president of the board, Antony Desravines as treasurer, Ritha Cicéron as financial secretary, Suzette Youance as Church secretary, Eddy Leger as at large counselor, Monique Desravines as counselor. Later, this group has grown and changed in composition. To the initial group Pastor Marc-Arthur Pierre-Louis is added as Trust Board vice-president, Novita Pierre-Louis as counselor, Edwidgh Léger as counselor, Ernes Janvier as Counselor and Clerk of the Church, Néhémie Janvier as Finance Secretary in replacement of Ritha Cicéron who moved to Praise and Worship Team, Edeline Leger had directed the Youth Ministry for years, now married, she is joined by her husband Corey Larkins and both serve as youth leaders and counselors, Gabriel and Margareth Jeannite, Jean Rénald and Mireille Bélizaire as counselors, and Jovan Mikhail Youance as Praise Team Leader and fund raising Manager to the Trustee Board.
To respond to the growth of the membership, CIFC had ordained some God-fearing members to leadership positions to serve the ministry in different capacities. Eddy Léger ordained as pastor is now an associate Pastor of the Church; Ernes Janvier and Antony DesRavines were ordained and served as Evangelists, and Jean-Rénald Bélizaire and Gabrielle Jeannite were ordained Elders to serve the membership. These ordained Ministers were accompanied each by his spouse who received the laying of hands to impart on each the responsibilities to support her husband in his ministerial tasks.
Until the next move of God, CIFC adopted this new location: 2019 Shamrock Dr, Charlotte, NC 28205 as its permanent and official operation center.
The ministry operates with a non-profit status under the IRS 501 C (3) classification.