An Alumni Story - Alex Rahill
2009 MTS Alumni - Alex Rahill, M.T.S.
By: Bethany Reedy
Submitted: August 5, 2009
As you walk into Life Church of Canton, Michigan, you can smell the coffee brewing, and the warm and welcoming colors of the décor draw you in. If you did not know you had entered a church, you might think that you were in a trendy coffee shop, complete with exposed ductwork and chic artwork and brochures. A short walk down the hall does lead to the coffee shop, a room obviously designed with conversation and connection in mind. And while the building, which the church purchased in summer 2008, is completely brand new and beautiful, it is truly the people and warm relationships among them that make this location a welcoming place.
Alex Rahill, the lead pastor of Life Church, began planting the church in July 2002 with 25 other people in his backyard. The church met in elementary and middle schools in the Plymouth/Canton area, and even in a movie theater, and was looking at the next place to rent when “a building came out of nowhere – a God thing,” Alex says. The church has grown by leaps and bounds in the past seven years under Alex’s entrepreneurial leadership, but Alex’s story, and all of the details that make him an excellent church planter, did not begin there.
Alex grew up in a home where he had a knowledge of God. He believes that he made a basic commitment to Christ as a teenager, although he continued to live a worldly life because it seemed like “no one else around me was thinking about Jesus” as he says in his own words. He was a popular jock that felt empty. But it was in college that he came to a crossroads and fully committed his life to Christ.
After he earned a BSW in social work and psychology from Michigan State University, Alex went to work for Boysville as a treatment specialist and then director for delinquent teens. It was at Boysville that he first developed significant relationships with other believers, including his future wife, Marcie. Alex and Marcie married in July 1987. Alex then began working for Adolescent Day Treatment, and earned a Master of Education from Eastern Michigan University.
Alex and Marcie began attending Messiah Church of Detroit, where Alex was both discipled by a community of people following Jesus, as well as heavily involved in lay youth ministry. It was this lay ministry that connected him to Bair Lake Bible Camp, where he was eventually hired as the Program Director and tripled the amount of ministry that the camp was doing in the time that he was there. He also developed a program called “Purity and Holiness,” which teaches biblical principles about sexuality to middle school through college-aged students.
It was while he was serving at Bair Lake that Alex first was encouraged to become a church planter. His former pastor and mentor suggested that he attend a conference for the leaders of his denomination, and from there, he was launched into church planting.
Because he was a church planter, he was given a full-ride scholarship to a seminary in the Chicago area. He commuted there once a week to take classes for a year, but he soon realized that he would not be able to keep up the commute and effectively plant a church at the same time. It was then that he discovered Michigan Theological Seminary in his own community.
He was drawn to the seminary by the reputation of Dr. Fong as an excellent communicator, and when he met the rest of the faculty and staff, he was impressed by their godliness, humility, and warm relational skills and loved their commitment and accessibility to the students. The strong scholarship of Michigan Theological Seminary prepared Alex for church planting ministry through courses in theology, language, and preaching.
Alex actually based his vision for the church (Know Jesus – Grow Together – Go Serve) on research from the biblical Greek done while a student at MTS. He wants every member of Life Church to “spiritually breathe,” meaning that they take in the life of God through the Word and being ministered to, and then give out in service.
The name of Life Church also has a biblical basis, coming from John 10:10 where Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Now that Life Church is established and in a permanent location, Alex’s entrepreneurial spirit has not diminished. He still has many goals and dreams for the church including adding a third service in the fall, putting an addition on the current building in a year or two, and eventually planting new churches or campuses with Life Church as the home base. He also hopes to start an internship program, where interns would work for Life Church, and attend school at Michigan Theological Seminary at the same time.
Alex and Marcie have 4 children, and live in Canton, Michigan.
Read about LifeChurch in the October 22, 2009 Plymouth Observer