Our Historical Foundations
The roots of Church of the Good Shepherd date to the early 1980’s, as a few local families began prayerfully seeking discernment. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), in response to those prayers, asked David Bowen to plant a PCA church between Durham and Chapel Hill. In August of 1985 a local Bible study began in the Bowens’ living room.
Within 5 months (January of 1986), our infant church held its first public worship service at Ephesus Elementary School in Chapel Hill, with 57 people attending. Roughly one year thereafter, we were formally welcomed into the PCA, and by 1989 we had “graduated” to Githens Middle School in Durham, with an average weekly attendance of around 220.
From our earliest years, the leadership of CGS aspired to gradually establish a campus whose facility resources could be shared with our surrounding community. God — in His grace — honored this aspiration: He added steadily to CGS’s membership over the years following our founding, and He simultaneously provided an opportunity for us to acquire (1990) the property on which our current facility resides. Acting with gratitude towards God for this provision, CGS undertook a graduated construction strategy in three phases (beginning in 1994) that spanned approximately 13 years, culminating with completion of our current sanctuary and office spaces in 2007. Yet even as we were enlarging our campus footprint on Garrett Road, we were also actively engaging opportunities to plant new daughter churches in our region.
Summarizing, Church of the Good Shepherd began as a handful of dedicated people attending a Bible study in a private Durham home in 1985. Over the ensuing years we have become a devoted, vibrant, multi-generational body of Believers, numbering over 600 members. Moreover, during this journey we have directly participated in “birthing and supporting” a number of other daughter churches, including three here locally in the greater Research Triangle: Christ Central in downtown Durham, Christ Community in Chapel Hill, and Grace Hill in Hillsborough.
Our Aspirations for the Future
In 2014 — after almost 30 years of dedicated service — David and Lee Bowen retired from their work here at CGS, carrying with them the deep and abiding affection of a grateful congregation. In reliance upon God for His continued guidance, in 2015 we called Chuck Jacob to become our senior pastor.
Our leadership’s heart for Gospel transformation is mirrored by CGS’ longstanding commitments to global evangelism: our outreach begins locally in Durham-Chapel Hill neighborhoods but also extends widely into international communities worldwide. We are continually exploring means by which to enlarge our compassion footprint – both at home and abroad – and we seek to do so in a way that exalts Christ. (Ephesians 6:7; Matthew 5:16)
CGS has a faithful history of intimate involvement with many local ministries: prominent among these are Durham Cares, Samaritan Health Center, Justice Matters, Durham Rescue Mission, English as a Second Language, and Pregnancy Support Services.
Additionally, a large number of our members have widespread personal experience participating in global mission efforts. Collectively as a church community we provide direct support to 24 individual missionaries and their families, deployed beyond our national borders.
As a community of believers, our ardent desire is to know and make known the Real Jesus, for Real People, in and for the Real World. This phrase is Pastor Jacob’s way of articulating the mission and vision of CGS, and it is a rich and deep and challenging invitation. We encourage all of you to come join us in the joy of that effort!