Mont Carmel Church had humble beginnings in 1993 when Brother Freddy Shembo arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, to pursue his studies in international law at Duke University. Being a French speaker, Brother Freddy found no French-speaking church in Charlotte, and thus, he started individual bible studies that eventually met as a prayer group on Christmas Day 1993 in an apartment. Initially, there was no intention of starting a church, but as the prayer group grew, Brother Freddy was confronted with many prophetic messages from various prayer partners that directed him to form a church and become its pastor, even though he had no pastoral training or theological education.
For weeks, Brother Freddy rejected these prophetic messages. However, after much prayer and conviction, he accepted the call and was ordained as a pastor in 1994 in a ceremony where the newly formed church joined the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) denomination, and Mont Carmel International Christian Center was born.
With an unshakable faith in God, Pastor Freddy led the church through seasons of significant spiritual and numerical growth. However, the early years were not without challenges. The church had no permanent home and had to rent various locations for its services. The search for a permanent location was a constant struggle, but the church never lost faith. In 1996, with only $150 in its bank account, they managed to purchase a property located at 3901 The Plaza Rd, in Charlotte, NC. It was an old house that needed significant renovation, but it was a start.
The church rallied together, and everyone pitched in to help with the renovations. The members worked tirelessly, putting in countless hours to transform the old house into a beautiful sanctuary. In 1997, Mont Carmel Church moved into its permanent location.
Despite limited resources, the MCICC continued to thrive, and in 2000, the church leadership initiated the construction of a new, 400-seat worship building on the property. The new sanctuary was completed in the fall of 2001, providing a larger space for the growing congregation to worship together.
Throughout its existence, MCICC has maintained its purpose of proclaiming the full and clear gospel to the lost, making and equipping disciples for victorious Christian living, and extending the love of God to those in need, both locally and internationally. The church has sought to be an international Christian center that serves as a bridge between the French-speaking community in the Charlotte Metro Area and the community within which it exists.
Reliance on faith in God, prayer, and a drive for raising the standard of excellence in ministry have been the hallmarks of Pastor Freddy’s leadership. He has emphasized the importance of prayer, and the church has consistently maintained regular prayer meetings as a key part of its ministry.
In 2018, MCICC launched an English-speaking ministry to complement its existing French-speaking identity. This move was an effort to reach out to the broader community and make the church more accessible to non-French speakers. Despite the challenges of running two language ministries, the MCICC has maintained its commitment to serving its community. The church continues to attract people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities who all share a passion for God and a desire to grow in their faith. The church’s unique blend of diverse cultures and worship styles has been its hallmark and draws people from all over Charlotte, North Carolina, and beyond.
The story of Mont Carmel International Christian Center is a testament to the power of prayer and faith in God. What began as a small prayer group meeting has grown into a vibrant, multicultural church community with a mission to reach people from all walks of life.