The history of Prairie Heights Community Church is interesting and rare for our area of the United States. It is a story to love God by loving and serving others. We started with a handful of people with a dream. Prairie Heights refuses to slow down or give up.
Founding Pastor Jon Hauser and his wife, Teri, knew God had given them a vision to start a different kind of church for Fargo-Moorhead” A church that was guest-friendly and that would invite, welcome, and engage all people regardless of their spiritual, economic, educational or life background. A relevant church that would speak the language of our community, a church willing to try new things to fulfill the mission Christ gave His church “to go and make disciples”.
- “Prairie” comes from our beautiful Midwestern landscape. “Heights” comes from Habakkuk 3:19 “The Lord is my strength…He enables me to go on the heights.”
- On March 24, 2000, the Hausers moved to Fargo! Jon resigned from his career as an electrical engineer to start Prairie Heights. Nine other adults helped launch this new church.
- The 12 months prior to the grand opening were filled with prayer, preparation and excitement to see what God was going to do in our midst.
- The service was held at the Doublewood Inn in Fargo with 207 in attendance. During this first year 120 people attended on Sunday. Many people prayed every week for 5 first-time guests to attend that Sunday and God answered that prayer!
- One of the many highlights from 2001 was our first annual worship service at the Red River Zoo. Some interesting critters came to service, our worship band played some great music, and there were carousel rides for all!
- We focused on SERVING and meeting others in our community. We held free car washes, offered free gift-wrapping at a local store, had brat/hot dog stands, and vacuumed out people’s cars to name a few.
- In November 2002 we participated in the Merry Prairie Lights Parade in downtown Fargo. The Prairie Heights kids, decorated as reindeer, rode on the float playing Christmas songs with their bells. The kids won the award for “Best Use of Music”.
- In February 2003, Prairie Heights held its first Baptismal service. 7 people were baptized that day.
- Higher Hoops basketball camp was born. Kids loved participating, parents loved coaching the kids and Prairie Heighters enjoyed meeting all the new families that came! Over 1,000 children have participated over the past 10 years.
- PHCC put serving in action in a big way. We decided to build a church building for someone else before we considered building something for ourselves so we went to Guatemala. In July 2004, Prairie Heighters traveled to Guatemala to help construct two churches, paint a grade school, and hand out clothes and school supplies. Over $30,000 was invested to serve people in Guatemala.
- Prairie Heights has held Sunday services in 14 locations: Fargodome, Doublewood Inn, Holiday Inn, Courtyard by Marriot, Avalon Events Center, FM Community Theatre, Sports Bubble, Red River Zoo, Hjemkomst Center, Air Museum, Extreme Screen at Century 10, Lindenwood Park, Rheault Farm, and Bluestem Center for the Arts. Because a church is not a building but people.
- At Trunk-n-Treat, 1,200 children came “thru the line” of cars in the Kohl’s parking lot. Parents came with their children and enjoyed 100’s of different candies, mugs, hot apple cider, popcorn and donuts. Mascots from NDSU, Chuck E. Cheese, MSUM, and the Redhawks came and had fun with the kids of all ages.
- We ran out of space at the Doublewood Inn with children’s classes spread out throughout the hotel. God invited us to take a giant leap of faith. We did and the Fargodome has been an incredible blessing and partnership.
- In October we had our first annual “Don’t Go To Church…Be The Church”. The purpose of (DGTC…BTC) is for us to come together and serve our community. For our first DGTC…BTC we partnered with River Keepers of Fargo-Moorhead and helped clear out a section of park along the Red River.
- In 2007 we averaged 300 people in Sunday morning worship for the first time in our history!
- In April Pastor Jon challenged us to Crank It Up! Together with God…Everyone involved…the Miracle will happen!
- In May, we hired a full time Children’s Pastor. Pastor Dustin Anderson and his wife, Amy move to Fargo from the Minneapolis area. Dustin is coordinating children’s ministry birth through 5th grade.
- Our weekly average for worship service attendance for 2009 was 379.
- In January, Prairie Heights added a second Sunday morning service. 500 additional seats have been opened up for everyone to invite their friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or fellow students.
- On April 1, 2011, we celebrated 10 years of Prairie Heights. 1,147 people came to one service that day and then shared lunch together on the FargoDome field.
- In June, we opened the new Ministry Center and Steve Smith joined the staff overseeing operational support. (Steve and his wife, Kathie, moved to Fargo from Kansas.)
- In July, Beth Nelson was hired to help adults get connected through serving and Grow Groups.
- In September, the Middle and High school students began meeting together at the Ministry Center.
- In January, we opened the wall in the auditorium at the Fargodome so there was more space for everyone to invite others! 500 seats were added for Sunday services!
- In September, attendance again surges at the Fargodome with 1,100 people attending Sunday services, 230 of those being kids 5th grade and younger.
- In November, We.Will.Build was initiated! (Check out the Prairie Heights progress at www.phccwewillbuild.com)
- The Fargodome continues to be an amazing place to get together every weekend and worship. More and more new families are checking out Prairie Heights. We are rearranging chairs, adding new spaces for kids classes, and more so that there is ALWAYS an open seat for those who have yet to come!
- In November, Chad Yoder was hired to lead middle and high school students as they journey through life together!
- In June, Mark Proulx was hired as our first full time Worship Leader. He leads the band as we celebrate and worship God together during our weekend services.
- In August 2015, Prairie Heights began building a 41,000 square foot facility that will have amazing Kids Classes, a fabulous Lobby so you can get some coffee and get to know others, a Loft for Middle and High School students to hang out and get to know eahc other, and a wonderful Auditorium for all weekend services.
What changes will God have for us next?
God has challenged us to dream big and trust Him beyond our resources!