We are Pastors Tom & Diane Feola of Christian Faith Fellowship Church in Hardyston, New Jersey. Hardyston is located in northwest New Jersey in beautiful Sussex County. This year we celebrated our 20th year as a church and our 30th year of marriage. Diane and I have 3 children and 3 grandchildren with another one the way. God is truly good.
We attended Faith Fellowship when it was still in Islin, New Jersey and helped with the move to Oak Tree Road. Those were exciting times as we helped put in drop ceiling and lay tile on the floor. We were involved in the Wednesday healing school, altar workers and taught the ACTS Bible School as we went to different churches in the area to teach the
Word of God. We also went to Jamaica to help start a Bible school there. We put our hand to the plow and thank God for all the fruit we have seen.
We have been a member of CMI from the very beginning and thank God for a Spirit-filled
fellowship of believers. Through all the years of attending IPMC and the CMI Pastor Summits,we have been built up in the Word of God and the moving of God’s Spirit and we rejoice in all that God has done in us through these great meetings. Pastor Dave Demola has truly blessed us over the years with words from the Lord during these meetings that have kept us going strong as Pastors.
We started Christian Faith Fellowship Church of Hardyston in 1997 after meeting with our
pastor, Pastor Joseph McKelvey. We had moved from the Plainfield area to the Sussex area
after receiving the blessing of Pastor Dave and then settled in at Pastor Joe’s church, which is Christian Faith Fellowship Family Church. We served there for a few years on a volunteer basis and then were asked to come on staff as the children, youth, and facility person. After serving there for about 4 years I met with Pastor Joe and expressed my heart of feeling the Lord’s leading to start a church in my home area, and after praying and receiving his blessings we started the church on July 4th. 17 were in attendance at that first service.
We met in our home for about a month and used our family room for our Sunday and Wednesday services and Tuesday night prayer meeting and our children’s bedrooms for our children’s ministry. We knew that we would never have children and teens in our church if we did not provide a place for them, so we started right from the beginning with a full children’s program and then we added a teen group.
After about a month the Lord opened up a facility that was just built in the Sparta area and we met there for about 1 year and started to grow. We were renting the basement at that point so we asked if we could rent the upstairs for the adults and the downstairs for our children and the owners agreed. During this time The Lord was blessing us and gave us the vision of our church which was to be a:
- Praying Church,
- A Going Church, and
- A Life Changing Church.
After a couple of years we were able to rent a former church building right on route 94. This was exciting and we got right to work fixing it up and using it for the glory of God. We preached the Word and saw many come to Christ, get baptized in water and the Holy
Spirit and we continued to praise the Lord for all His goodness.
After a year the owner of the building who was a Christian, saw the hand of God upon us and asked if we would like to purchase the building. We said yes but that we didn’t have the funds to buy it and being so new we didn’t believe that a bank would give us the loan. He said that he would hold the note and we thanked God and were able to pay it off in a couple of years. God is good!
After a few years we made a decision to expand our building. The building we were in could seat about 120 and we wanted to expand to seat around 450. So we met with the bank and they gave us a loan for the expansion. The new facility would hold the 450 but also give us classrooms for the children and teens plus a fellowship hall for the adults. Again, we praised the Lord and gave Him all the glory. We watched many people get saved and discipled in the things of God and we saw our children’s ministry explode to the point where the fellowship hall was given to the children and youth. God made it pretty clear to us that as we used up all the space He had given us, He would continue to give us more. We had Bible School and Bible studies just about everyday of the week, special speakers, conferences, and most importantly prayer meetings. God continued to bless us.
We were basically locked in where we were and then we found out that a neighbor owned some land next to us. We checked to see if it was workable land and were first told by an engineer that it was not. As time went on we felt impressed to pursue this land again and then found out that it could be built on but not on all of it. So we approached the owner of the land and he agreed to sell it to us and after some hard work and lots of meetings with the town and the state got the approvals to start building. We built a new church building that can hold approximately 800 people and a full-blown area for our children’s ministry. We took the old building and made a big teen room, a chapel and offices for our staff. Again God is good!
We have been in our new facility and are now in the process of building a gym, multi/facet building that will attach the 2 buildings together. We had to knock down the original building that we started with as it was getting really old and didn’t fit into the new
plans but we’re excited about this new addition to reach our young people and also have a place for adult meetings.
We believe that one of the reasons that God has blessed us over the years is because we have stayed true to the heavenly vision that He has given us. We have stayed faithful to our pastor and we have stayed with good associations. CMI has always blessed us with the quality of meetings and ministers that it has brought in. I thank God for Pastor Dave’s vision and heart to help feed us here in New Jersey, even when New Jersey was such a dry place. Faith Fellowship Ministries has been a blessing to us and to the whole New Jersey area and really to the whole world and I thank God that we at Christian Faith Fellowship Church have hooked in with this winning team.
It has been an honor to teach a workshop at the IPMC and to teach at FIT’s. It has been a
blessing to support Pastor Dave’s vision to sponsor students over the years and to help
bring the internationals in for the IPMC. I believe it’s because of this connection that we
have been blessed.