This article originally appeared on The Philadelphia Tribune.
It is a young church and has crazy energy. At Truth Church, now approaching its first year in ministry, people are free to worship God as they will.
It didn’t take long for word of this freedom of religious expression to seep out, and the church, which began with a few faithful, is growing rapidly with people who want to experience that freedom and energy for themselves.
“We actually started having a worship day which we called Worship Live on Tuesday nights, which I believe was in July 2018, and where we came together to just worship,” said Chico Robinson, a gospel artist.
“That actually changed after I received word from God that He actually wanted us to start a ministry,” he said.
Worship was originally held at the Circle of Hope building on South Broad Street, but once the group became a full-fledged ministry, a friend stepped up to permit use of the building at the current location at 7571 Haverford Ave. in West Philadelphia.
Worship Live then transformed into Sunday services until March. Things were growing and the theme of worshiping the Living God continued. “The church officially began March 10, 2019,” said Robinson.
When you think of going live, in today’s age of social media, you think of Facebook Live. That’s how Worship Live began, Robinson said.
His band, Chico Robinson and God’s Chosen, began worshiping God during rehearsals, Robinson said.
“We were in rehearsal one day, we were in prayer, and the Lord instructed me to go to Facebook Live to do a worship encounter because our rehearsals are so impactful, they turn into worship services,” he said.
“I told the group, ‘We’re going to do this worship live thing,’ and I wanted 1,000 people to view it. That night we had over 8,000 viewers.”
Since then, the numbers have grown, Robinson said. He kept the name Worship Live until it evolved into Truth Church.
“I was always told as a child that I was supposed to pastor,” said Robinson, but he needed confirmation from on high.
“I wanted God to tell me directly that He wanted me to pastor because pastoring isn’t a job that you do because you want to preach or because you want to be in charge of everything,” he said.
Robinson said the Lord spoke to him when he was on his way to the Stellar Gospel Music Awards in Las Vegas in March 2018.
“He told me that the time is now, and He told me to start the ministry and He gave me instructions on what to do,” Robinson said.
“Basically, it came down to him saying, ‘I want you to bring the people back to me, and those who already know me, show them a deeper level of love for me. Bring them back to me. Whatever name you had, change it to Truth Church. Tell them the truth.”
Robinson said all of his plans went out the window and he set about following the instructions.
“Truth Church is exactly what its name says,” said Brandon Mincey-Abel. “It’s someplace where I can go and release the stress from the week. We all go through things in our daily lives where we are bombarded with so much work, family and other issues. But at Truth I’ll leave all of that at the door. I’m able to have a good time in the Lord, worship and pray.”
“On top of that it’s the most exciting place in Philly, so it’s definitely the place to be on a Sunday morning and a busy night.”
The church is like family, said Mincey-Abel, and members can call one another at any time and for any reason.
“I can always call one of my brothers or my sisters and say, ‘Hey, I need to talk about something,’ Mincey-Abel said. “The people are loving. They are really genuine people that have a heart for God and a heart for ministry. They know how to love. It’s not fake, either. It’s really genuine love.”
Nikki Robinson, first lady of Truth Church, said her husband has been in gospel music for some 15 years and had always had the call but “ran” from preaching.
“He always knew that that’s what God had planned for his life and eventually he surrendered all to the will of God,” she said.
Robinson said her husband kept running into walls in his efforts to avoid the call until he finally submitted, and doors began to open.
“You will only go so far in what you want until you surrender to God’s will. Once you surrender to God’s will, doors start opening and things start happening all of a sudden,” she said.
Nikki Robinson described Truth Church as “friendly.”
“When people come in, they are greeted with a warm welcome and a hug and the worship here is like no other. You’re free to worship, there’s no one to stop you. If anything, we’ll help you get to where you need to be in God.”
And the Word?
“The Word is great. You’ll learn from it. It’s not just someone dictating to you, so even if you don’t understand you’re able to ask someone,” she said.
This attention to the needs and concerns of the people seems to be resonating in the community.
“We’re growing weekly,” she said. “People are coming, people are joining the family and its consistently growing.”