Why the name “Jesus People”?
We were inspired more than eight years ago when we first started the ministry to call it “Jesus People Church of Asheville” for two reasons.
The first reason is that we wanted to be a ministry for all people and specifically people who had been hurt by the mainstream church. For many people the word “Christian” is a trigger word that is equated with hate and discrimination. But most individuals love Jesus and his ministry. Generally people are not afraid of Jesus, they are afraid of organized Christianity. We wanted to create a safe place for people to experience the love of Jesus!
The second reason was the historical significance of the “Jesus People Movement”. The movement began on the West Coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s and spreading primarily throughout North America, Europe, and Central America. Members of the movement were called Jesus people. The movement, which was really a major move of the Holy Spirit, was ushered in by those that were typically not welcome in the traditional church such as Hippies and Surfers, not your typical prim and proper church folks.
We believe both these reasons fit us well. We are Jesus focused not religion focused. We welcome people from all backgrounds just asJesus did! We are fully affirming and inclusive of all people but most of all we are determined to become, as Jesus would say: “ the love that does not fail!”
Jesus People Church of Asheville was birthed more than eight years ago in 2011. It started as a monthly meet up group. Tom Cash and his husband Mike Zukoski had just relocated from California and felt a call to reach out to those wounded and disenfranchised from the church. The first meet up had zero people attend, leaving Tom with no people and four pizzas – the second meet-up however was much more successful with over seventeen in attendance.
After two years of monthly meet-ups they felt it was time to become official and Jesus People Church of Asheville was formed. The church has met in various locations including the gay nightclub called Scandals. They currently meet at a local venue called “East-West.” The church also holds an annual International conference called “Out to the Nations”.
Pastor Tom Cash is the Lead Pastor whose main background is in the Charismatic Movement. He is a survivor of Reparative Therapy and is passionate that no other LGBTQ person has to suffer that process. Before moving to Asheville North Carolina he attended Glory Tabernacle Christian Center under the leadership of Sandra Turnbull. Upon arrival in Asheville he attended Abundant Grace Church in Granite Falls, North Carolina and was later ordained by Pastor David Thomas.
”Our mission is clear- Spread the message that LGBTQ people are completely accepted and loved by God”