DCF began in 1995 as a new church with the mission of connecting with university students. Many individuals in their late teens and early twenties step away from their faith as they enter adulthood; our hope was to offer the message of Jesus in the university context, living out the gospel story in practical ways and creating a safe place where those distant from God could connect with Him and His people. Eventually, the Sunday ‘Night Church’ became a large event with well over 700 in attendance.
Founded to be an expression of the Church, the Bride of Christ, people were not attending as a church home, but as a place of upbeat and entertaining worship, speakers and events. God’s love was being demonstrated, but God was calling the leaders to something more than entertainment. After prayerful consideration, the night service was cancelled to intentionally step into intimate house church communities. Numbers fell, but the depth began to grow.
The house churches came together for a Sunday morning Gathering to celebrate God in corporate worship in a space in downtown Clemson, still maintaining the intimacy, integrity and autonomy of the individual house church communities. The Sunday morning congregation has since grown and expanded to include families and individuals beyond those in the house churches. Currently about 40% of those who attend on Sunday are involved in house churches related to DCF, which also include individuals who do not attend the Gathering. In January 2015, the DCF Gathering space relocated across the lake between Clemson and Seneca. Here our diversity has continued to grow, with a greater number of families and older individuals balancing the college population. This multi-generational trend has added richness to our body and the need for a kids and youth ministry.