Dr. Wesley Pinnock founded the True Light Fellowship Church when he heard the call of God to leave Deliverance Evangelistic Church in 1995 with the objective in mind to do God's will. He followed God's call, not knowing what to expect and not expecting approximately 300 people from the Deliverance congregation to follow and ask him to be their pastor! True Light was founded April 16, 1995 as a result, and met for the first year and 11 months in a rented church facility at 11th and Grange Avenue in the Olney section of the city.
The church had already drawn over 530 members from the surrounding community. Of that number, many were new Christians, born again since the church's inception. Two early morning services were conducted: the 7:00AM worship service was quickly joined by an additional 9:30AM service as the church quickly grew. It is estimated that the total attendance for these two services was about six hundred people. Weekly services included Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study. All night prayer sessions were held on a monthly basis.
From the beginning, the church looked all over most sections of the city for a building of its own. The process was made difficult by the fact that banks would not lend money to any ministry that had not been in existence for more than three years. In the providence of God, however, Dr. Pinnock received an offer from The New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, which had purchased a larger facility, to acquire their former building at Ardleigh and Johnson Streets in the East Mt. Airy section of the city. True Light moved into the new building in March 1997, signing the settlement papers on a Wednesday morning and holding service at the church that same evening! The congregation was blessed beyond measure to come into a building that was fully equipped and ready for use.
Additionally, once the church was started, ministry was limited by the fact that True Light had neither facility nor funds to acquire a facility in which activities could be conducted. There was also no money to hire staff persons who could give leadership to the various facets of ministry. Throughout these struggles, Dr. Pinnock emphasized the Lord's leading to leave Deliverance. He was in the will of God and doing what God had called him to do. With regard to resources, True Light has relied upon the fact that if God has called them to do ministry, then He will provide the necessary means - a belief that was amply demonstrated in the provision of a facility!
Having to share space with another ministry through renting, True Light learned much about humility and patience. The first year and 11 months taught the core group important lessons about working together, getting to know and trust each other, and being "about Jesus, not 'my' space." Bonding through adversity became a blessing in disguise as it helped to make the church much stronger. The church was also afforded the opportunity to prove itself faithful with a temporary facility and then to experience the blessing of being entrusted with even more. Additionally, True Light learned what it means to depend on God. After coming from a church with over 8,000 members and starting from scratch with no money, staff, or programs, True Light had little of what it was familiar with, save a tremendous faith in God. In addition to lessons learned from experience, Dr. Pinnock also stresses the importance of freedom in worship, expressing love for God in relationship with Him. The hearts of people, walking in love, are what really count. Church attendance is not a duty, nor is it based on judgmental attitudes, but flows from personal contact with a loving God. This love for God subsequently overflows in concern and love for others, as it seeks to love in word and deed with the ultimate goal being conformity to the image of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Pinnock believes in the concept of holistic ministry; that is to say, he believes that discipleship is an important outgrowth of salvation in the development of maturity in Christ. True Light aims to minister to the family, especially nurturing its young people to develop spiritually. Followers practice their discipleship by rehabbing homes for the needy, participating in the feeding program for the homeless ministry, and by providing tutoring programs, employment and various other types of counseling to the community-at-large.
Dr. Pinnock is not afraid to acknowledge that a church can easily become a closed society. His primary objective for his church is that it reaches out to the alienated. He believes that Christ can make the difference, and maintains that the main purpose of the church is to impact the community positively. His belief is in line with Christ's words in Luke:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty all them that are bruised. . . ."
Luke 4:18 (KJV)
Thus, according to the Lord's teaching, the church needs to make a difference in the community especially among the disenfranchised. Dr. Pinnock's vision is that True Light's mission be to win the lost to Christ; to nurture newfound believers and to help them develop into productive children of God; to help believers grow and walk closer to Christ, and to multiply themselves.
The church's ecclesiastical structure is seen as an extension of Christ, with some 45 ministries of the church functioning to meet the spiritual and other needs of all people. Teaching and making disciples are the key components: and church members' gifts are identified and put to use in carrying out the various ministries. The church is governed by a board of teaching and ruling elders and laity under the direction of the pastor. Dr. Pinnock's vision also includes following the New Testament model of church planting through multiplication. The goal is to reproduce congregations in order to impact other neighborhoods in the city and to conduct missions around the world. To that end, church planting is one of the goals of this ministry.
True Light is an international congregation comprised of members originally from Africa, the West Indies, India, Indonesia, and England. Dr. Pinnock has a vision to plant churches via multiplication as the church grows and matures.
TLFC's FUTURE VISION AND GOAL
The congregation has quickly grown and continues to grow at a tremendous rate as a result of the powerful teaching of the Word of God, which affects members in such a positive way that they invite others to come. The church does not actively recruit, nor has Dr. Pinnock ever recruited, anyone to join the church.
To this end, True Light's mission is: to continue in winning the lost to Christ; continue in nurturing new converts and helping them develop into productive children of God; and helping believers grow, and multiply themselves. We accomplish this ultimate goal by equipping the saints for ministry, and seeking to transform our society for the kingdom of God. Finally, worship is our key to ministry; it is the center of our focus and everything else revolves around it. There are four (4) phases to the ministry: 1) membership 2) maturity 3) ministry and 4) missions. As we worship God with our hearts, He will heal the sick and change lives.
The goal of True Light Fellowship Church is to carry out the Great Commission as instructed to us in Matthew 28:19-20.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."