Iowa church incorporates everyone because ‘God is a God of everybody’

Ben Greene

Pastor & writer

  • Church planting & multiplication


Zoe Waynawhere didn’t know much about Life Chapel International in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when she moved to the state in 2016.  

She’d left Phoenix to be closer to family in Cedar Rapids, including her brother-in-law, who worshiped at the year-old church. The young congregation included people from several African nations who spoke different languages. Some previously worshiped in Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran traditions. 


“God is not a god of nationality,” Waynawhere said. “He’s a God of everybody, so we are trying to incorporate everyone.” 


Eight years later, pastor Bill Saye said the church is succeeding at that and making a real difference in the 175-year-old city. More than 100 people gather for worship each Sunday. They’ve also organized retreats for singles, married people, men and women. 


Life Chapel International also ministers to children and youth on Sundays and during the week. God has also raised up a media group that makes videos and creates social media content to help more people hear about Christ and the church’s power. 


Cedar Rapids has always been a diverse city


One hundred thirty-six thousand people call the city in eastern Iowa home. Its history was built on the tribes who first lived there, followed by Czech, Slovak and other people groups that settled there. Today, there’s an arts and culture district, a minor league baseball team and a United States Hockey League team.   


Many work in factory jobs, including Saye, who has a second-shift job in addition to being a pastor. He said the city is full of friendly, hardworking people. 


“It’s a wonderful place,” he said. 


Since he started the church, more and more people have responded to the gospel. He said his missionary calling since accepting Christ was difficult at first. 


“It’s not easy to win a soul for Christ,” Saye noted. 


But he stays focused and motivated because he knows what God values. 


“The Bible says he who wins a soul is wise,” Saye said. 


He has seen God prove faithful and powerful for several years, growing the church affiliated with Converge since 2020. 


“God was able to touch the heart of people when I preach the gospel,” he said. “We succeeded through the power of the gospel.” 


Related: Converge churches prioritize gospel proclamation and making disciples. 



Soul winning inspires a move and a mission


The church’s name comes from John 10:10, where Christ says he came that people might have life and life in abundance, Saye explained. 


“God wanted me to come and win souls here,” he said. 


Life Chapel International in Cedar Rapids is closely related to the Des Moines congregation of the same name. The Des Moines church planted the Cedar Rapids congregation so more people in Iowa could follow Jesus. 


But that isn’t the churches’ final goal: they seek to shine the light of Christ throughout the world. So, a mission trip to Liberia in April is planned. They have also done ministry in other parts of the world. 


“We are a mission church,” Saye said.  


Advancing in that mission has required a lot of time teaching believers and those who don’t know Christ yet. Some in Cedar Rapids have no religious background, while others are influenced by Islam. 


Related: A Converge initiative resources American believers to reach the nations right here. 


Cedar Rapids needs the ministry of this church


Zoe Waynawhere, the church’s administrator, might not have known much about the church eight years ago. But today, she sees its success continuing because it is a community — and family-based church.  


She’s quite aware of the church’s value to the community. Life Chapel disciples are helping people out with needs and supplying leadership and ministry to diverse needs. 


“The church is reaching out to people,” she said. “The church is giving a lot to the community.” 


Converge's 10 districts have committed to deploying 312 church planters before 2026. Read more inspiring church planting stories and learn about the goal to send out 312 church planters in five years.

Ben Greene, Pastor & writer

Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.

Additional articles by Ben Greene