Hi, welcome to the Great Commission Protestant Church of Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey. We exist to glorify God and enjoy His eternal presence.
Üsküdar Great Commission Protestant Church’s vision:
- To increase spiritually mature members by education.
- To raise up evangelists, sending them into Üsküdar and other cities to minister and start new churches
- We must give tithes and offerings regularly
- We must consistently pray
- We must work as one body
- We must have meetings in homes
- We must provide job opportunities to our jobless brothers and sisters
- We must not shy from telling others what God has done in our lives
- We must attend church gatherings in a consistent manner
- Everyone must use their spiritual gifting for the good of the church
- We must give seminars
- We must raise up educators and leaders
- We must prepare training programs
The goal of our education is to mature, and as we mature to minister according to our spiritual gifting.
A bit of our history…
Üsküdar Great Commission Church is situated on the Asian side of Istanbul in the city’s sixth most populated district of Üsküdar. Üsküdar’s history goes back to 1,000 B.C., being one of the oldest of the 39 districts.
In the 1980’s a group of foreign believers met as a house church on Istanbul’s European side. They eventually moved into a building in Bakırköy, at which point they decided to start a house group in Üsküdar.
I (Metin Mintaz) became acquainted with a man from this house group in 1990 and started attending, which was about the same time the group started renting and renovating the building we would call ‘church home’ for the next 24 years. The building had looked like a junkyard, but yet after a bit of fixing up we had our first worship service there on 18 February 1990. The church was holding two services every Sunday, a morning service in Bakırköy and an afternoon service in Üsküdar. This continued for two years until the brothers and sisters on the European side decided to serve the Bakırköy church exclusively while the ones on the Asian side served at Üsküdar, so that they became two separate churches.
Ichthus Christian Fellowship from the UK led the church from its beginning until 1997, and supervised the church leadership during that time. I was appointed associate pastor in September 1998 and became pastor in 2000 when pastor Andy Pyke returned to his home country. In 2001 Dan and Cathy Cupery became an elder and deaconess, in which roles they continue to this day.
During Andy’s pastorship Üsküdar Church began a relationship with Manna, his home church in the UK, who kindly supported us spiritually and financially. Even after Andy returned to his home country Manna Church continued helping us. Manna Church was actually a union of five churches working together, which are now independent of each other. One of those church’s elders (Jonathan Jankowski from Grace Church) served in Üsküdar for five years, starting in 1994, and then became pastor of Grace Church after leaving Turkey. He visits our church every year, and facilitates our relationship with Grace Church and Life Church.
Between the time of its founding and 2011 Üsküdar Church’s central vision was to have Turkish leadership and a predominately Turkish congregation. My becoming associate pastor, and then pastor, helped us with that vision, along with the appointment of Ali and Ahmet as elders in 2001. Along the way we’ve had to combat against a tendency of Turkish believers to change churches in the same city. We’ve prayed through this issue and God has blessed us as we’ve seen new Turkish believers stay faithful to Üsküdar Church.
Our second vision, planting churches, came to fruition in 2002 when Ali and Ahmet started serving in Ümraniye, a neighborhood 10 kilometers away. After working closely together for two years the Ümraniye Church became independent and is currently active. Ahmet continued serving in Ümraniye and Ali went on to a different group in Ankara.
After 2011 we again opened up to foreigner’s membership, and have had a steady flux of Americans, Romanians, and Koreans through our church. The count of Turkish brothers and sisters also fluctuates, but overall neither a big increase or decrease in membership has happened.
In the winter of 2014 the owner of the building passed away, and the surviving children increased our rent. So in late spring of 2014, 24 years after our initial use, we stopped using that building. It was a faith-building time as we didn’t have any cheap plus good options. After some searching and being in temporary spaces for a while we finally landed at an office on the edge of Üsküdar.
2015 was a good year of sowing seeds in a small city out east. We praise God for a few believers out there who are struggling to survive in a tough place. Here in Istanbul we started meeting in someone else’s ministry’s meeting salon for worship times and started renting a small office in downtown Kadiköy.
2016 – We had a church camp up in the Black Sea coastal town of Şile one weekend in June. We from Istanbul plus guests from the out east city joined together for a weekend of looking deeper into John 13-15.