Powerhouse Church has come a long way in a decade.
Out Pastor Keith McQueen recently told Windy City Times about the church's history. "We actually started in Indianapolis in 2012, and after a series of supernatural events…"
At this point, McQueen smiled and decided to go back even further. "In 2010, I met a bishop who was with the Church of God in Christ. He prophesied and said to me that I would go to the Midwest and start a church that would shift the face of Christianity; I was in Atlanta at the time. And being a member of the LGBTQ community in Atlanta, I felt I was already in a good place; it felt like LGBTQ heaven.
"I thought this man was crazy. I don't know anyone in the Midwest, and it's cold there and it snows. Then, I got an invitation to preach in Indianapolis. When I landed, I heard a voice tell me, 'You're going to start a ministry here.' I thought I was losing my mind. However, after I got back, I felt more out of alignment internally; I would wake up in the middle of the night and have visions of Indianapolis and Chicago.
"In February 2012, I decided to move to Indianapolis, and I started a church in Maywith six people. One couple was from Milwaukee; another was from Gary, Indiana; one person was from St. Louis; and one came from Atlantaand she said she kept having dreams telling her to relocate."
Word of mouth started to spread about McQueen and his church but, as previously indicated, things started out small. "We met in my living room," he said. "I pulled out this paperwork God had given me that read, 'Powerhouse Church.' This would be a place to power our own people and for people to walk with purpose."
"We then grew to 50 people, to 200, to 400. Now, they're having to have two or three services a day."
Powerhouse was then launched in Chicago in 2017. In July of that year, McQueen preached his first sermon at the Powerhouse Church of Chicago, 6836 S. Halsted St.the first LGTBQ-affirming Pentecostal church in the city. "That became our second campus," he said.
After moving to Rogers Park, at 6525 N. Clark St., Powerhouse Church of Chicago now has a permanent home, at 740 W. 59th St. The Chicago membership is about 130 people, McQueen said, and it's steadily increasing.
McQueen stated he chose the location, after looking at a few properties, because "there's a large number of Black and LatinX LGBTQ+ people on the South Side, and there's no outreach and there are no programsespecially compared to what's on the North Side. I feel I was called to the South Side to push and contend for those in areas such as Hyde Park and Bronzeville because the LGBTQ+ community is there. There are so many disenfranchised people, and what many in Chicago have said is 'I can't deal with this.'" (McQueen added that he will still host Bible study meetings on the North Side, stating that some people "stick to their sides [of the city].")
Something McQueen wanted to point out is that Powerhouse is an affirming church. "Powerhouse is affirmingeven more so than welcoming," he said. "A lot of [so-called] welcoming churches are basically saying, 'You're welcome to change. A lot of our members are opposite-gender-loving, and we try to create a safe space for them. If it's going to be a church for all people, then it has to be just thata church for all people. We want to be a model of inclusionand our congregation includes believers of all types, and even agnostics and atheists."
By the way, Powerhouse has expanded even more, with connections in such locations as Greensboro, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Boston; Los Angeles; and even Brazil. "We have campuses and we have met with churches that are part of our fellowship," McQueen clarified. "We recently [connected] with a ministry in Norway and one in Singapore."
However, this expansion doesn't mean that everything has progressed smoothly. In 2019, Christian Post noted that conservative Chicago-based megachurch pastor Bishop Larry Trotter withdrew from a speaking engagement set for the Powerhouse Church in Indiana after learning that McQueen is in a same-sex marriage, to Derrick Howell.
But McQueen told Windy City Times that things were not what they seemed. "My husband and I had a relationship with Bishop Larry Trotter," he said. "We have pictures with him prior to that service. He escorted us down to the front of his church every time we came. He was prepared to comeuntil there was some public speculation. His ministry has been filled with LGBTQ+ people for years." (Windy City Times has reached out to McQueen for comment.)
Moreover, the reactions of some members of the Pentecostal community "have been what you'd expect them to be," McQueen stated. "I have some relationships with pastors in megachurches, and some of them have been pretty open about their relationships with me. They [acknowledge] the help we providesuch as delivering people from drugscomes from God."
And as for McQueen's personal life, it's thriving as well. He met Howell through the ministry in 2013 and have been married since 2015, and they are in sync in many waysdown to the fact that they're both vegans. However, they do have their contrasting moments. "When I first moved here, I said, 'Oh, my Godit's so cold,'" McQueen said. "My husband's from Indianapolis. He basically said to stop being so dramatic and drink some cocoa."
For more information on Powerhouse Church of Chicago, visit www.powerhousechurchchi.org/. Also, the church is hosting The Exousia Prophetic Conference: The Latter Rain on Sept. 23-26; see phglobalnetwork.ticketspice.com/exousia-prophetic-conference-2021.