Praise Chapel began with one church in Maywood, California in 1976, when Pastors Mike and Donna Neville moved to the Los Angeles area from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The area of the church was very strongly gang and drug infested. Within a few years God began to move in a very special way as gang members and their families began to be saved. Soon the church was filled with people on fire for God who went out side the church into the streets and neighborhoods of the Los Angeles are preaching the gospel and seeing souls saved.
Following what God was doing, Mike and Donna began to train pastors and send them out into the various areas of Los Angeles to start new churches. God blessed these new pastors and churches as they reached the unsaved and unchurched people.
Today Praise Chapel Family of Fellowships has multiplied into many areas of the United States and the world. With over 200 churches in the United States and hundreds more in over 13 nations. Praise Chapel has become a “Family of Fellowships.”
Praise Chapel is a ray of hope for those aching to see more out of their spiritual life. These churches are growing when much of Christianity is stalled or loosing ground In conferences, hundreds of young men and women respond to the call to preach. All of this is happening among people from the streets and churches.
Today, there have been over 200 churches birthed in the United States and hundreds more established in other countries. On any given Sunday, tens of thousands of people are lifting their hearts and hands in worship through the outreach of Praise Chapel.
The most exciting part of the story is that it’s the story of regular people and even some that most churches would reject being used greatly. Mike Neville never saw himself as some super star, just someone that God used. Mike did not stand out for either beauty or defects. His greatest assets were his optimism, his love for people, and his love of preaching. He could light up a stage with his smile, but he could also fill the altars with the challenge to repent and change. Linked to Mike are a host of others that represent every race and personality imaginable.
Three Simple Keys
First he created a local forum for these men to preach and witness in. They were not always traditional in their approach, but they got the word out. Many churches are afraid of offending someone and so reach no one. The New Testament church put it’s priority on evangelism even if it meant a few beatings and jail sentences. In doing this they caused many waves but they reached a lot of people. Praise Chapel set its goal to get the message out. Mike told them, “Go find a street corner to preach on,” and they did. Soon groups of men and women headed out to the streets, anywhere sinners gathered was a target. One group decided to put gospel tracks in the local porno store. The Bible study leader told the guys, “Now while I distract the owner, you guys go put tracts in all the magazines, but do not look at the pictures.” Using hundreds of creative ideas from plays to concerts, the result would be many people getting saved.
Second they began to develop these men. Monday nights became a time for training. The training was rooted in practical education. Evolving as it has gone along it still exists today.
The third force in the church would be the establishing of home groups. This would give men a chance to develop practical experience. This growing leadership base would also allow the church to absorb all those new people about to come in through revival. (From the book: REVIVAl by Ron Simpkins)