Calvary Chapel Des Moines
Began as: Heartland Christian Fellowship
A Little History...Who we are; How we began; Where we see God moving us. Heartland Christian Fellowship (HCF) was birthed in
1995 by a former Iowan and prodigal son by the name of Wayne Goranson. Wayne felt a tugging on his heart as early as 1992 to
return to Iowa to plant a Calvary Chapel style fellowship
In July of 1976, at a small Four Square church, the Highway Chapel, in Forest City , IA , Wayne had made a profession of faith at the age of 18. This was the summer before his freshman year in college. Wayne experienced a release of guilt and a peace he had never felt before, but he was neither discipled nor encouraged to be in the Word, fellowship and prayer. Growing up in the 70s in a small town, sex, drugs and rock & roll were very much a part of his life. Living for himself and the experience of the thrill personified his life. Ten days passed and with the persistence of his friends, Wayne dove head first back into his lifestyle with more zeal than before. The door was opened wide for 13 more years of decadence.
In God’s sovereignty, Wayne ’s bride of five years, Brooke, left him. Life had taken him from Iowa, to Arizona, to Texas and finally California. The Lord brought four significant men into his life, over the course of 4 months, who all boldly proclaimed his need to submit his life to Jesus; Chuck Fraser (fellow Project Manager), Carl Porter (Painter), Louis Brennes (Drywaller) and a plumber from San Diego. Wayne began to read a Bible given to him by his brother (Good News for Modern Man – Can you believe that God was able to speak to him through a paraphrased Bible? Just something to ponder for you “King James only” people.), listen to Christian radio and go to Malibu Presbyterian Church. In God’s grace, He began to impress upon Wayne that he was a fool because he had no fear of the Lord.
In June 1989 Wayne totally submitted his life to the Lord Jesus. Brooke moved back into the house, saw that her husband had been transformed and committed her life to the service of the Lord two months later at Calvary Chapel Seal Beach. The rest is
history. They dove head first into their new passion of getting to know their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They served at CCSB in various ministries and unknown to them at the time, the Lord was preparing them for church planting.
So in July 1995 Wayne, his family (Brooke, Marillyn, Eric), D.A. and Debbie Haworth, Maria Romero (later to become Mrs. Weeks), Eric Weeks and Nanda began to meet in their home on Lincoln Way in Des Moines. Some people thought they must be a cult because they all came from California . Others, such as the Caraza family, thought they were a God-send because they too had come from a Calvary Chapel earlier in the year but were dying for lack of fellowship and the teaching of God’s Word.
In the fall of 1995 we started renting the Camp Fire headquarters on Hickman Road for $25 per week. Within the year, we out grew the facility and started to meet at Hillis Elementary School just down the street. For almost 4 years we were a church on wheels; setting up and tearing down every Sunday and Wednesday, longing for a facility to call our own. So we prayed and looked and prayed some more.
After a while Wayne and D.A. gave up and just believed the Lord would provide in His time. Wayne ’s barber told him about a little white church on the northeast side of town in the Saylor Township so they contacted the owner, David Goodwin, the pastor of Christian Life Church . They struck up a deal and Easter 2000 was the first service.
Two years later, 2002, Wayne’s family moved into the parsonage on the property. One year later, Jon and Marillyn Beard (Wayne and Brooke’s daughter) moved into the “cottage” on the property.
In 2000 four families approached Wayne about starting a verse by verse Bible study in Panora , IA located about 40 miles west of Des Moines . So for about 6 months Wayne and D.A. traveled to Panora every Wednesday to teach through the book of Acts. At this time the study was growing and many were coming into Des Moines on Sunday mornings. The people were in need of a pastor that could give them more personal attention.
Wayne and D.A. prayed and D.A. took over the study, moved his family to Panora and continues even today ministering to the needs of this and surrounding communities.
In 2005 the Lord basically gave the building to HCF. The owners desired to sell the property because they had a new facility on the west side of town. At this time HCF was renting the church and two homes for $2100 per month. Christian Life wanted to sell the property for $250,000. HCF has never been a rich church, they have always been more concerned with growing the kingdom than a bank account so they did not have anything for a down payment. Pastor Goodwin knew that this property was to belong to HCF, so he and Wayne prayed for wisdom. The property appraised for $330,000 so Christian Life applied $80,000 of rent paid as the down payment. HCF took out a loan through a local bank and began paying $1735 per month with no money down and no closing costs.
More important than a building are the people. Many people have come through the doors of HCF from the beginnings on Lincoln Way in 1995. It was prophesied on three occasions that HCF would never be a church of 1,000s but that the people from HCF would impact 1,000s.
Some of the fondest memories are with the group of Drake students attending while HCF met at Hillis Elementary School. Many of them graduated and moved on to ministries around the country and the world. One of those young men is now serving with Wayne in Costa Rica, Central America , his son-in-law Jon Beard.
One of the most compelling and even amusing stories is about a man who was so fed up with religion that he was having an argument with God. The one-way conversation went something like this, “God I am so tired of religion. They are too concerned about money and how good their church building looks. So I am going to give you one more chance.” He opened up the Yellow Pages to the church section, randomly dropped his finger on to HCF and said, “This is where I am going this Sunday and I better see You there.” That Sunday the Holy Spirit directed Wayne to this man and led him in a prayer to fully dedicate his life to Him. A year or so went by until his wife submitted her will over to the Lord and today they are serving their Lord and Master together in ministry inside out outside of HCF.
HCF has never been a perfect church. Wayne has been known to be firm and even admittedly too firm at times. None the less, when both sides have humbled themselves, God has always restored fellowship and strengthened the relationships.
In 2006 the Lord began to stir in Wayne ’s heart a desire to move on from the pastorate of HCF. His desire has always been to plant a work in Des Moines and turn it over to a native Des Moinian. Wayne and Brooke’s desire was to come along side Jon and Marillyn in ministry. They were talking about starting a horse rescue and using the rehabilitated horses to minister to at-risk kids. So as they prayed Albuquerque, NM seemed to be the place to go start this ministry. They prayed and visited NM several times but God had other plans. More on that later.
Brent Fees had been attending HCF and for a few years and been involved with Youth Ministry and helping out as God led him and his wife Tracey. They began a Bible study in their home on the South side of Des Moines thinking the Lord would want them to start a work on that side of town. Wayne shared his vision with Brent in 2007 and asked him to pray about moving on to the church property to see if the Lord would grant him favor to take over the fellowship. They moved and soon won the hearts of the people they would soon be ministering to.
Proverbs says that man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps.
In the meantime, Wayne had been working part-time and full-time for a local home builder since 1998. They approached Wayne in December 2007 about possibly entertaining the idea of starting a division in Costa Rica, Central America . There were a group of investors that wanted to finance a construction company to build retirement and vacation rental properties. Wayne visited that month and fell in love with the country. In January Brooke, Jon and Marillyn all joined Wayne for a visit to see if this might be the place to start Rancho Oasis for Youth. Every one gave the thumbs up and started to make plans for the move.
La Familia Costa Rica – October 2008
Brent Fees and several others continue to hold down the fort at HCF, which is now Calvary Chapel Des Moines, as they seek the Lord and His will for the people in their charge.
The story of this little church and this group of people is about God’s faithfulness to those that diligently seek Him. The race does not go to the swift nor the fight to the strong, but to those who wait on the Lord, trust in His faithfulness, and obediently venture out on this adventure we call life. The leadership at HCF has always desired to be used by God to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Thank you for taking the time to read this digest version of our history. We have just begun and have only this one regret….that we only have one life to live for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Update 2018 - Wayne Goranson
Since the first publication of this history many things have changed in the lives of the Goransons, Beards & Fees.
Over the course of 10 years, Wayne & Brooke have lived and ministered in Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, & the US. Their primary calling was to the pastors and church leaders in third world cultures. Their travels also took them to Uganda, Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Belize, & Cuba. They currently reside in Colorado Springs where Wayne answered the call to shepherd the flock at Calvary Chapel True North. You can read about their ministry @ WaterWorshipWord.org and CCTrueNorth.com.
Jon & Marillyn moved to Honduras in 2010 to start a work, Rancho Oasis 4 Youth. After 8 years they have returned to the States and are now ministering alongside the Goransons in Colorado Springs. You can read their story @ ro4y.org.
Through it all our Father has proven Himself faithful!
“God is not looking for men of great faith. He is looking for those who trust in His faithfulness!” Hudson Taylor, Inland China Missions