Growing Restoration Praise Center Worships in New Home
Restoration Praise Center Worships in New Home
Story by Alexis A. Goring / Feature photo by James Partlow IV
Potomac Conference’s Restoration Praise Center (RPC) recently celebrated the first Sabbath in its new building on Old Stage Road in Bowie, Md. With humble beginnings as a Bible study group, no one thought the Lanham-Bowie Project would turn into one of Potomac’s fastest growing and largest congregations.
“Being part of the Lanham-Bowie Project is one of the greatest things I’ve ever been a part of,” says Naeem Newman, an RPC elder. “It’s something that will last until God comes. Each week, lives are changed, people are being baptized and turning their lives over to Christ.”
Newman and his wife, Mytonia, were the first to host the Bible study in 2005 that led to the formation of RPC. “We had an interest in studying the Bible, just to learn more for ourselves. We decided we wanted a pastor to help lead us,” says Newman. “A couple of other families from surrounding churches were interested, and Melvin Hayden, then youth pastor of the Community Praise Center in Alexandria, Va., was happy to lead out.”
As the group continued to grow, they approached Hayden with the idea of starting a church in Bowie. Tears came to the pastor’s eyes, and he explained that God had given him a vision, at the age of 12, to start a church in his hometown.
Pastor Paul Graham was hired to oversee the project, and in 2008, the congregation rented space from Capital Christian Fellowship on Greenbelt Road. More than 700 people attended the first official church service that November. Since then as many as 600 worship there every Sabbath.
Construction for the RPC building began in 2013, and in late May, RPC opened the doors to its new location. More than 1,100 people attended the service, leaving standing room only before the worship service began.
Today, RPC is under the leadership of three pastors: Graham, senior pastor; Kelvin Mitchell, pastor of administration; and CJ Cousins, discipleship and media pastor.
The pastors are already making plans for RPC’s future. “We realize that, at some point, we’re going to pack this facility out,” says Cousins. With this in mind, RPC members host grow groups in Upper Marlboro, Laurel, Silver Spring and other nearby areas to provide a base for a next possible church plant. RPC’s goal is to eventually become a multisite church. Graham adds, “The light of where the Holy Spirit moves cannot be contained to one place.”