Prior to January 4, 2004, FTOPP existed in the heart of our senior pastor as a prayer and a dream. Her prayer was, “Lord, help me to do your will and fulfill my calling.” Her dream was to be an honest leader of God’s people, teaching His principles and demonstrating His love. Additionally, Pastor Williams has always desired, like King David, the opportunity to build a place of worship from the ground up. Serving as an Associate Pastor in various churches, she was allowed the opportunity to teach and build up God’s people on many levels. But now, like King Solomon, Pastor Williams is enjoying this time to build a new place of worship unto the Lord.
In November of 2003, God gave Pastor Williams a push. After praying and fasting, God revealed and confirmed that it was necessary to build a place where people can experience God’s love and learn to love each other. It was necessary that this church would be formed as a tool for learning and spiritual growth. In December 2003, Pastor Williams met with Elder Andre Williams, and a few close friends for a moment to reflect on how God was laying the ground work for this branch of Zion. Pastor Williams shared the things that God had laid on her heart and together with Elder Williams, committed herself to walk down the pathway that God was clearing.
Elder Williams secured a temporary place of worship; the Hampton Inn in College Park, MD. On December 31, 2003 Elder and Pastor Williams along with the McClees and Rogers’ all observed a night of prayer, planning and communion in anticipation of the first day of service. On this night FTOPP opened the doors of the church for covenant fellowship partnership (membership) for the first time receiving 2 partners, Sister Paulette McClees and Sheila Rogers. On Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 11:00 am, FTOPP opened its doors for Worship at the Hampton Inn. FTOPP received 5 more partners, Sister S. Diann Armstrong, Sister Tiena Edwards, Sister Martina Head, Sister Cheska Armstrong and Brother Cristopher Brown. Since the first day of worship, FTOPP has received a total of 67 partners, 9 covenant partners and many devoted friends and supporters of this ministry.
Since January 4, 2004, we have celebrated many firsts, our first wedding was held on February 15, 2004, but our most historic first was in the summer of 2004. On Saturday, July 31, 2004, we held our First Ordination Council for Elder Andre L. Williams. This service was moderated by Rev. William E. Simmons, Senior Pastor of Trinity Faith Full Gospel Church of Wendell, N.C. On Sunday, August 1, 2004, during our morning worship service, we held the formal ordination services for Elder Williams as our first Associate Pastor and Deacon Otis R. McClees, Sr. as our first Deacon; which included special prayers, an anointing ceremony and foot washing. To God be the glory for the things He has done.
Our next celebration was held the third weekend of January 2005, when we celebrated our “Inaugural Anniversary”. We began with a Prayer Breakfast and Concert on January 15th and concluded our celebration during Sunday worship on January 16, 2005. Rev. William E. Simmons recognized FTOPP as a church and Rev. Kimberly D.Y. Williams as the Senior Pastor. All partners that joined during 2004 received the official right hand of fellowship. We celebrated our First Baptism in July 2005 baptizing 2 candidates, Nikki Jackson and Kelli Cause.
As a result of much prayer and fasting, exactly eight weeks after our “Inaugural Anniversary Celebration”, on Sunday, February 27, 2005, we held worship service in OUR FIRST permanent location: 8863 Walker Mill Road, Capitol Heights, MD 20743, with the seating capacity for seventy-five worshippers. In the year 2006, FTOPP recognized God’s blessing in the area of Praise & Worship with two choirs; the Youth Choir and Fresh Anointing.
In 2006 we held our first Women’s Conference as we hosted the anointed Hanging With Sister Willis Ministries Worldwide; founded and facilitated by Evangelist Judith W. Willis of Good News Family Worship Center in Norfolk, Virginia, where the Senior Pastor is Administrative Assistant Elder Levi E. Willis, II. What an amazingly successful time in ministry we had where everyone learned how to be “On Fire and Explosive” for the Lord.
In the beginning of 2007 Pastor Williams began the selection and training process for the ordination of three more of God’s willing vessels. After finalizing and recognizing their efforts to answer the call and to fulfill the purpose in their lives we celebrated: Evangelist Sheila M. Rogers as a preacher of God’s Word and Elder to Women, Elder S. Diann Armstrong as Elder of Teaching Ministries and Elder Tiena N. Edwards as Elder of Praise & Worship.
If that’s not enough to prove how FTOPP walks in God’s divine favor you should also know that in June 2007 we were amazingly blessed to expand our worship space as we moved around the corner to 8815 and 8817 Walker Mill Road, Capitol Heights, MD 20743, with the seating capacity for over one hundred worshippers. Look what the Lord has done! This expansion afforded us the space to have two offices, a workspace for our little Mighty Disciples, two comfortably efficient rest rooms, a full kitchen, a sound/tech booth, a multi-functional sanctuary, a versatile pulpit for ministry and performing arts and a new air conditioning and heating unit.
With the addition of more committed partners, our worship experience was enhanced with a team of praise dancers who are on fire for the Lord. Furthermore, these same committed women of God—Rev. Yvette Y. Carter, Rev. Sherita “Nikki” Holt, Rev. Teddi D. Sturgis and Rev. Francine V. Walker-Selby were enrolled in the 2008 ordination class to become Associate Pastors of FTOPP.
Currently we host: Wednesday Bible Institute Teachings focusing on the books of the Bible; Saturday Bible Institute Teachings which equip students with the necessary tools for everyday Christian living; a teaching survey of the Old and New Testaments; two Fifth Sunday Outside Worship experiences which always include worship on the grounds of the Washington Monument, A Back to School Awareness seminar for our Mighty Disciples and many more spirit led events and programs.
The year 2007 was a true test of our faith as we learned how to Pray Problems into Possibilities. Moreover, we closed the year even more convinced that the Most High God is forever faithful and forever victorious.
As we pressed to Get Into His Reach, the year 2008 was truly a test of not only getting but staying in the reach of God. At the onset, Pastor Williams created the FTOPP Council of Ministers and Elders (CME’s). The Council is comprised of Senior Pastor Williams, Executive Pastor Sheila Rogers, Deacon Otis McClees, Sr., Elder S. Diann Armstrong, Rev. Sherita “Nikki” Holt, Rev. Teddi D. Sturgis, Rev. Yvette Y. Carter and Rev. Francine V. Walker-Selby. The Council, which meets monthly, was developed to fortify the spiritual teaching and leadership foundation of all Elders and Associate Pastors as a means to help encourage self-study, journaling and healthy camaraderie among the group.
As the global vision of the ministry continues to unfold so does the amount of work required to bring the vision to pass. With that in mind, and with the expansion of the ministerial staff and the addition of new partners, Pastor Williams created several new positions appointing Rev. Sturgis as Director of the Intercessory Prayer/Healing and Deliverance Ministry; Rev. Carter as Women’s Ministry Director; Rev. Holt as Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor; and Rev. Selby as Youth Pastor. Additionally, Pastor Williams began the selection and training process for one new trustee—Sister Diana Royster and two new deacons—Brother Guy Cause and Brother Andre Gomes both of whom were recently ordained in the class of 2008.
In addition to serving the FTOPP body as Senior Pastor, Rev. Williams is equally driven to provide ministerial leadership and spiritual development for other ministries. Rev. Williams is the spiritual covering for Triple Threat Ministries, Virtuous Sisters for Christ and the music ministry of Christopher Randolph & Gifted.
With an overflow of blessings, the year 2008 ushered in another first as FTOPP held its first Good Friday Service on March 21. The “Seven Last Words” were delivered by FTOPP’s very own ministerial staff as Pastor Williams lead the way, setting the tone for one of the church’s most memorable moments. The program also included Deacon McClees who served as Worship Leader and Elder Armstrong who gave an introduction as to why it is important for Christians to know and hear the seven last words of Jesus Christ.
In November of 2008, FTOPP celebrated another milestone with the ordination of Rev. Carter, Rev. Holt, Rev. Sturgis and Rev. Selby as Associate Pastors and Deacons Guy Cause and Andre Gomes. In addition there were many more organizational shifts and elevations in 2008, including: Evangelist Sheila M. Rogers (Executive Pastor) Elder S. Dianne Armstrong (Elder of Teaching), Sister Pennie Summers (Financial Secretary), Deacon Otis McClees, Sr. (Elder to Men), Rev. Yvette Y. Carter (Elder to Women), Sister Wanda Brinkley (Treasurer), Trustee Phyllis Williams-Hampton (Trustee Board Chair), Sister Kelli Brown-Cause (Director of Women’s Ministry), Sister Phyllis Mohammed (Trustee) and Sister Sagaal Gomes (Budget Liaison).
With more the 50 guests in attendance, we closed out the year with our First Watch Night Service which featured the debut of FTOPPs liturgical dance ministry. The dance ministry is comprised of 8 anointed ministers of the dance, including our very own senior pastor. The Watch Night Service ushered us into a new year of possibilities in God as we strive to carry out our 2009 church theme—Praise Your Praise.