|Bishop Keith A. Butler, Founder WOFICC|
In May 1978 Bishop Keith and Mrs. Deborah Butler graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a mandate from God and a burning desire to obey that mandate - to fight the good fight of faith. Bishop Butler founded Word of Faith Christian Center (WOFCC) in a teaching center located on West McNichols in Detroit, Michigan. Sixty people attended the first Sunday service on January 14, 1979. The very next day, WMUZ, a local Christian radio station, broadcast Bishop’s first daily radio program, The Word of Faith.
Very shortly thereafter, the vision of Word of faith began to unfold as God made it plain what He desired, revealing Word of Faith’s 13-point Master Plan. Habakkuk 2:2-3 lays out the vision process: “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon the tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Before moving into its first official church building in 1979, WOFCC services were also held at the temporary locations of Marygrove College, and the Northwest Activity Center, both located in Detroit. WOFCC’s first church building was located at 15121 W. Eight Mile Rd., a small storefront in Detroit that comfortably held 150 folding chairs. The air condition rarely worked, but people continued to hear this young minister preach the Word of God with boldness, courage, and conviction.
By 1980, Bishop Butler was teaching two services with Sunday School classes sandwiched in between. Lines to two very small restrooms formed to the right of the hallway book table where “Faith Food” books and tapes were sold. There were just enough space for a nursery, ministry room, and a match-box size office for Bishop, which, at many times, doubled for whatever space was needed to meet congregational needs.
Hundreds began to come to hear the Word of God at WOFCC. This tremendous growth, in such a short period of time, forced WOFCC to hold its Sunday morning services at McCauley Auditorium on the campus of Mercy College in Detroit. But soon, McCauley Auditorium was not large enough to see the growing numbers of people who came to hear God’s Word - to learn how to walk in divine health and prosperity; and to learn of the other manifold blessings of God. Bishop Butler knew it was time to move again. He persisted in his efforts to buy a closed Southfield school to house worship services and the soon-to-be education complex, Faith Christian Academy (FCA). But God had other plans for Word of Faith.
WOFICC Marches On
Bishop Butler found another building that would become the next home of WOFCC. Members marched around the property on 928 E. Ten Mile Rd., in Ferndale, MI, singing We’ve Come This Far by Faith. And indeed we had. On July 5, 1981, a victorious church marched into their newly purchased building where the sanctuary seated 500 people. The Faith Food Store bookstore, Laymen’s Bible School, Faith Christian Academy, and WOFCC’s elementary and middle school opened at this location. In the same year, Word of Faith’s TV broadcast was taped on location and shown weekly on WGPR, a local TV station in Detroit.
During its first year at 928 E. Ten Mile, a prophecy, given by Charles Capps, based upon Isaiah 54:2-3 says, “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen they stakes; For thou shall break forth on the right hand and on the left, and thy seek shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” It wasn’t long before Word of Faith was holding two Sunday services in its new church home. By 1983, two Sunday morning services with video-tape viewing to those seated in the Fellowship Hall could not adequately serve all the Lord had sent.
As Bishop Butler revealed the vision to reach out and win the city of Detroit for Jesus, a spirit of anticipation, prayer, and preparation moved throughout WOFCC’s church family. By October 1983 WOFCC purchased the former Temple Israel church building located at 17000 Manderson in Detroit.
The 1200 seat sanctuary was totally renovated in time for the first Sunday service. As Word of Faith grew in size and scope, the Manderson building served us well with numerous rooms and offices, two fellowship halls, a commercial kitchen, a stage with dressing rooms, and audio-visual rooms. Needless to say, three Sunday morning services were necessary by November, 1986. In 1987, offices for church staff had to move to a professional office building located in Southfield, MI, due to WOFCC’s phenomenal growth.
After only five years at the E. Nevada location, WOFCC “burned the note” - the mortgage on the property had been paid in full. It became apparent that WOFCC needed more parking spaces for those coming in droves to hear the Word. So, additional property in the surrounding neighborhood was purchased. While at the E. Nevada location, 1994 would usher in a new phase of Bishop Butler’s outreach ministry - The Living Word TV and radio broadcast. Through these media, Bishop Butler was able to touch the cities with the Word of God, reaching out to various cities around the country such as Philadelphia, PA, Atlanta, GA, Jackson, MS, Jacksonville, FL, St. Thomas, USVI, and Detroit, MI.