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Praying for unity in a politically divided community: The Excellence Church hosts fun, community-building “Midway Weekend”

Midway, prepare to have your world rocked!

There is a new church in town with the mission “to heal the divisive reputation of the city and to bring  a community spirit of unity, love, welcoming, togetherness and mutual support to Midway like the city has never seen,” church leaders say.

The name of the church is “The Excellence Church” and its motto is “Building Lives According to God’s Excellence.”

Senior Pastor Greg Taylor said he has a vision that his church will be the center of building excellent community life in Midway “according to God’s excellence.” The church’s 65 or so members attest there is nothing else quite like it in the city.

“They are so welcoming at this church, no matter who you are,” lifelong Midway resident Quintealia Caro said. “Everyone who comes here is treated like family. They welcome you with open arms from the moment you walk inside.”

Pastor Taylor concurred, saying, “We tell everyone to ‘come to us as you are, but you won’t leave us as you came. Welcoming new people is central to our church’s mission. We are going to greet you, we are going to hug you (if you’ll let us), and we definitely are going to welcome you.”

This past weekend, The Excellence Church – just up the road from Midway City Hall at 6 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. – organized a “Midway Weekend.” Saturday was “Midway Fun Day,” with children’s rides and activities, free food and drinks, and free donated clothes for those in need.

“We want to meet the needs of this community and its residents,” explained Michelle Taylor, the church’s co-pastor along with her husband, Greg Taylor. “Last year, for example, during the big storm, we used our church as a refuge.”

Then, on Sunday morning, The Excellence Church had its usual weekly worship service, with a special emphasis on welcoming new guests from the Midway community.

“Our worship service is made up of the five W’s,” Pastor Greg Taylor said. “We have welcoming, worship, the word, the walk and works. Works is very important, as I want people to see my sermons – as opposed to merely listening – and to take my message into the community when they leave.”

Taylor went on to add that every Thursday night, the church has its “Hour of Power” gathering, which is part service, part Bible study, and part testimony of how church members took the previous Sunday’s word out into the community.

“If people share testimonials, it blesses them and also blesses all those who listen to them,” said Ron Vickers, the church’s overseer, or “spiritual father figure.” “We are building a mighty great spiritual community right here in Midway.”

The Excellence Church, which has been at its current location off of U.S. 90 for a little more than a year, is preparing to grow in size and influence, Pastor Greg Taylor said. Taylor recently quit his job with the Quincy Recreation Department to devote his full attention to the church.

“We were inspired to start our church on July (seventh month) 7, 2007, which is why three sevens are sacred symbols in our logo,” Pastor Greg Taylor said. “Originally, we started in Quincy and rented space, but God gave me a vision to come to Midway to build something special to serve this community.”

“We had no money, no line of credit and no collateral, so people said we were crazy to pursue this dream,” Greg Taylor said. “But if God gives you a vision, he also will help you find a way. You need to always keep believing that. And now we are here.”

Following up on the Midway Weekend, The Excellence Church will have a Family Movie Night Friday, July 27 (like it does the Fourth Friday of every month); a Family and Friends Day Sunday morning, July 29; and a back-to-school free supplies giveaway Saturday, August 11. For more information, visit or call (850) 765-7377.

By Randall Lieberman

Midway residents play games, ride rides and worship together at The Excellence Church’s Midway Weekend. Photos courtesy The Excellence Church