“One of my favorite parts of the community here is that it’s multi-generational,” said Jeff Durow, the discipleship pastor, who joined the NAC a year ago.
The non-denominational church, which celebrated its 90th church anniversary last fall, has school programs for children up to sixth-grade, its own preschool. It also has a food pantry, basketball ministry and international mission programs.
“I’ve known churches where basically the parking lot is empty most of the time, but that’s not the case here,” Durow said.
Despite having 11 years of pastoral experience — most recently coming from the Westgate Chapel in Toledo — the married father of two said he appreciates continued opportunities to grow.
For example, just three weeks prior, the church’s safety was increased by running fire-drills.
“No one had ever done a fire drill in church before. In schools we do fire drills of course, but never in church,” Durow said.
“Since the 1950s when they made those changes, there have been zero fires,” he said with a laugh.
In addition, the Norwalk Alliance Church has upgraded its security in various ways, including having safety teams comprised of former military and active-duty police officers nearby as first responders.
“They’ve done a great job,” Durow said.
A unique aspect of NAC is its membership in the Christian & Missionary Alliance — an international network of churches with a mission to spread their faith throughout the globe.
“There are parts of the world that are totally clueless about the word of Christ … that have no access to Christian churches or translated Bibles,” Durow said. “That’s why we go.”
What brought the Durows — consisting of wife Diane, eight-year-old Jack and Betsy, 5 — to the NAC was an interesting journey.
Durow attended Michigan State University where he majored in psychology, until he visited the Springhill Christian Camp, Camp Beulah Beach and more Christian-based programs.
After that, the would-be pastor changed his course of study and earned his master’s in divinity at a seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich. Afterward he continued to develop the desire to reach those who live and think differently than those around him.
“People who maybe live in our neighborhoods … or in our city but are from a different place in the world, have a different religious background, or ethnicity or sexual orientation, or whatever, … we’re reaching more people and giving just giving them the opportunity to hear us and respond, to the ends of the earth,” Durow said.
“We love watching sunsets in our back yard and just the open spaces and the different pace of life,” he said of moving to rural Norwalk from larger cities such as Toledo, Lansing or Grand Rapids. The family also takes in foster children.
The Norwalk Alliance Church is located at 2755 U.S. 250.