House of Praise in Lorain, Ohio

joelPeter Wagner used to say that longevity in the pastorate is one of the most important characteristics of healthy, growing churches. I certainly saw this truth house of praiseplayed out in Lorain, Ohio this weekend, where I conducted a cell seminar at House of Praise. This church was born out of the charismatic renewal movement in 1976. Spanish speaking Catholics (mainly from Puerto Rico) were born again and began meeting together. As they read the Bible, they became uncomfortable with Catholic doctrine and eventually started a church under the leadership of Iluminado and Luisa Marrero. Gilbert Silva, a second generation hispanic, was born again in the church in 1979, married Eileen, the pastor’s daughter, and in 1991, Gilbert became the lead pastor of the church. The church is now 80% English speaking–a great example of the second generation gracefully taking over the church. There is still a Spanish service, but the majority now are more comfortable in the English language. In 1999, the church began their cell transition (highly influenced from Bethany), and they now have 60+ cells.

I love this church! You can feel the health. The cell church vision has made a solid church even better. Even though Lorain county is depressed economically, the church is growing rapidly (1000 people in three services) and recently planted a daughter church in Cleveland. The new growth has mainly come from whites, blacks, and other ethnic groups. The church asked me to do this cell seminar because they need to add 50+ cells to keep up with the celebration growth.

The state of the church in North America is not good, and thus, it’s so exciting to witness such a great example of health and church growth. Thank you, Jesus!




5 thoughts on “House of Praise in Lorain, Ohio

  • Fantastic! I wonder how the Hispanic cultural background has influenced how everyone relates to each other in this church. Does it make it easier for the church to adopt cell principles? I am struggling at the moment with how Aussies get so task oriented in church life…

  • Thank Joel:

    I was there & was trying to talk to you. Just sent you e-mail.

    What I am about to say is not a compliment but the statement of reality.

    After working with 5 different coaches before I became Pentacostal through the power of the Holly Spirit (never knowing anything about Christ or Pentacostals at the time in 2005) I must say that your compassionate nonidolized approach to coching should be duplicated into the main-stream America.

  • Hey, Vladmir, thanks so much for your compliment. I’ll respond to your email in a few moments. blessings on you!

    Iain, great question! This church had A LOT OF great things going for it:

    I think long term ministry and stability. Although Latinos are certainly very friendly and relational, yet, it’s also true that NOT ALL HISPANIC churches grow in North America. Many are as dead as a doornail, including hispanic cell churches! The rapid growth in this church has come more recently. Why? A few reasons are:

    1. Solid, long-term church leadership
    2. Cell Vision that’s adaptable
    3. Emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit

    I don’t deny that Latinos are friendly and relational. Yet, this church is now very blended. I’m not even if the majority are Latin descent, although the core leadership is.

    I hear you about a spirit of independence among Auzzies, Americans, and Europeans.

    Keep up the great work, brother!

  • hi Joel this last weekend was awesome so many people told we that they are ready for more prayer and want the groups to grow .

    God used you and i hope we can talk much more .

    i did run sunday and My race is in May 17

    keep Going with your running and kept letting God Use You Bless you ..Mark from the House of Praise

  • bless you brother, Mark. I also ran last night. I hit 10 miles. Just 3 more to go. But I was sooo tired. Hey, Mark, what a joy to meet you and get to know you. God is using you mightily. I talked to various people who noted your influence in their lives. Keep up the great work there and I can’t wait for future contact!

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