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Everything starts somewhere.

And City Church OTR is no different.

Our church has an exciting story. It's a story of unlikely beginnings and unexpected friendships.

But mostly, it's the story of an undying dream. Of a vision for a new kind of church that God planted in a dorm room, grew over a decade, and is now cultivating in the heart of Over the Rhine.



Lots of bad ideas are born in college dorm rooms. But every now and then, a good one comes along.


We’d like to think this church is one of them.


You could say that City Church OTR began more than decade ago, when a group of good friends got together to dream about a new church.


Of course, we didn’t call it City Church OTR at the time. In fact, we didn’t call it anything. It was simply a fun idea that a few of us liked to talk about at regularly scheduled strategy meetings.

(That's a totally normal college pastime, right?)


Looking back, it's still not entirely clear why any of us were interested in starting a church. None of us were pastors' kids. And we weren't majoring in ministry. We had other hopes, other dreams.


But we'd all recently experienced the love and presence of God. And we wondered if there was any way we could keep the excitement, community, and growth going, even when meal plans and final exams were behind us. 


Chris and Tyler were part of that group. And it's a good thing they were. Otherwise, their paths might not have crossed.


You see, Tyler was an English and History major, enrolled in every Honors course available. Tyler's smart. Very smart. He wrote for the school newspaper, and enjoyed seeing on-campus musicals and art installations.


Chris was studying business, with majors in Finance and Operations. He wanted to make money. Lots of money. He played too many intramural sports, and loved attending college basketball games. 


Somehow, they became the best of friends.


College came to an end. Degrees were earned. Jobs accepted. Cross-country moves made. Yet conversation about a church plant continued.


Tyler moved to Chicago to earn his M.Div, and then landed at a small campus of a large church in Kansas City. Chris snagged a job in corporate finance. Then, he felt led to quit that job and move to Las Vegas to work at a brand new church in Sin City. 


Tyler excelled as a pastor. He loved his job. But he also loved the idea of starting something new. Something for the young and the young at heart. For artists and business leaders. For the advantaged and disadvantaged. Something for singles and couples. This vision kept him praying, dreaming, and calling Chris.


Chris saw God do incredible things in Las Vegas. His church was pursuing revival, and he loved loved serving there. After two years on staff, he become the Lead Pastor.



This prompted some real questions.


They started to wonder: What if we are supposed to lead a new church? And what if this church in Las Vegas is that church?


So Chris, Tyler, and a few others who had been dreaming together gathered in Las Vegas to pray.  


They sought God earnestly. In some ways, it was just like college, except the dorm room had been replaced by a Vegas apartment and the teenagers were now in their twenties.


But the dream was just the same.


They wanted to be the kind of family that Jesus introduced to the world. A family that was centered around Him. A family on mission.




Then, God spoke.


It was both mysterious and unambiguous.


They were supposed to start a new church. But not in Las Vegas. Instead, God was calling them to the Midwest.


They ultimately discovered the place God had in mind was Cincinnati. A city they'd fallen in love with. A city they felt called to serve for the rest of their lives.


The dream had found its place. And soon it found its team.


Dreamers from Vegas, Detroit, Tennessee, and Kansas City picked up their lives to move to Cincinnati.


And the crazy thing is, now people in Cincinnati are catching the vision too.


They're excited about a family on mission. And they want to be part of it. To help create a community for downtown workers and local artists. For Millennials and empty nesters. For people with too much and people who don't have enough.


There’s a family forming in Cincinnati. God's growing a group of dreamers who can't wait to see Jesus glorified in their city.


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