Our mission is simple;
That all of Alliance would know Jesus
To be saved, healed, delivered, and made whole
Our heart is to see people come to know Jesus and find a SOZO Life. A life that is healed, made whole, and delivered. We started as a group of people who have experienced this kind of life and want others to experience it too. We want to be a church that is a safe place where people can bring both their questions and their doubt. A place where people can belong before they believe. A place where people can come to know who Jesus is and experience a SOZO life, and then share that life with others as they see how God can move through them.
SEE HOW GOD CAN MOVE THROUGH YOU
There is something refreshing about encountering the real and authentic. The Social Media era has each of us doubting the authenticity in everything. One of the places most needing this revival is within the walls of the church.
People that know Josh and Morgan will tell you that's who they are. They are imperfect people committed to living an authentic life. Collectively, they have spent 15 years working in and partnering with different ministries both locally and globally. During this time, they’ve witnessed thousands come to life in Jesus from across the world. From Asia to the Caribbean. From California to Ohio, they have been able to witness the life transforming power of the good news of Jesus. In this journey, the Ross' have been in awe of God's promises and love for all people. It is this same love for people that has led them to where they are today.
If you have known Josh and Morgan very long, you know that starting a church is anything but an unusual idea; it is the natural progression of nearly two decades of following Jesus. In 2017, God planted a dream in their hearts. That dream, stewarded and prayed over for for years, has finally come to fruition. This seed is SOZO Church. They see a church that is for people of all races, backgrounds, and ages. A picture of Heaven, here in Alliance.
Now, four years later, Josh, Morgan, and their daughter, Estelle, are stepping out with excitement and great anticipation to follow the purpose God has put in their hearts so many years ago.
Alliance, Ohio is our home. Morgan and I both have spent our entire lives in this area. We grew up going to movies at the Carnation Mall, eating far too many fries at Days In the Park, and spending every summer weekend playing Hot Stove at Butler Rodman Park. We spent countless hours attending Mount Union Football games where my Grandfather coached and my dad is now a professor. This city has shaped us in so many different ways, and our love for this area runs deep. However, when people ask me why we chose to start a church in our home town, the response has nothing to do with the geographical location, but rather the deep spiritual need.
Growing up in North East Ohio, I know firsthand that, if asked, many people would say that they have some faith or belief in God. It just many not always impact the way they live their everyday lives. I became a Christian when I was 10 years old, but my understanding of Jesus was based upon rules and tradition. I simply thought Jesus was my "get out of Hell free card" if I followed all the rules and behaved a certain way. My understanding of Jesus was only skin deep. It wasn't until later in life that I experienced the real Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible, not the one of man-made religion and tradition. I came to know that Jesus did not simply come to provide us a way to Heaven, but to put Heaven into each of us. Through a local church, I discovered that God not only wanted a relationship with me, but that He wanted to move through me as well. It was this understanding and experience that radically changed my life. Now I want as many people as possible to see HOW GOD CAN MOVE THROUGH THEM.
Since 2017, Morgan and I knew that we would one day start a life-giving church. We didn't know exactly where, but we knew that this dream was something we would give our lives to. For the past four years, we have received countess confirmations of this calling. Many different people and pastors have spoken over and into our lives, affirming the call of God to plant a church. Surrounded by dozens of people, we've prayed intensely over cities all around the United States. We traveled to different cities, different states, and with each trip we envisioned what it would look like to plant a church there. No matter where we traveled to, God continued to pull us back to Alliance.
Even though we have a long and difficult road ahead of us, we have never been more convinced that this is what God is calling us towards. We know that through the faithfulness, sacrifice, and obedience of a collective community, He is going to do something special here. More than 360,000 people live in Stark County, and only 3/20 people belong to an Evangelical church. The teen suicide rate for Stark County is 6x's higher than the national average. Drug use and overdoses have increased more than 200% since 2016! These statistics are pre-COVID, and have certainly only grown even more troubling since the pandemic began. The need for Jesus is overwhelming, but we know the Light shines brightest when it is darkest.
We have been blessed to live a comfortable life. But Jesus doesn't call us to comfort. He calls us to action. We are committed to our calling today, along with many others, because of a couple from Meadville, Pennsylvania. They were living a ‘comfortable life’, but made the decision to risk everything to obey God's call. To teach others about the real Jesus and show them that God wants to MOVE THROUGH THEM. 13 years after first meeting them, Morgan, Estelle, and myself are stepping out to do the same. I often wonder where I would be, along with countless others, if Tom and Jackie Palmer opted for a comfortable and convenient life. We believe there are a multitude of people and destinies connected to our willingness to take that same risk.
This is our story, and I'm thankful that you took the time to learn more about our hearts and our dream for this city. We are beyond humbled, and count it a privilege to serve God along side each of you. As God does what only He can do through Sozo Church, it will be our greatest joy to experience how God can move through each of us as we pursue His presence together.
The future is bright for Alliance, and the best is yet to come.
Joshua Ross - SOZO Church
What we believe
The BibleThe Bible is God’s Word to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it was inspired by God, the Bible is truth without any mixture of error and is completely relevant to our daily lives. II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21; Proverbs 30:5; Romans 16:25-26.
The TrinityThere is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although each member serves different functions, these three possess equal power and authority. I John 5:7; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 3:7-11.
The FatherGod is great: He is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and above all, Holy. It is in Him that we live, move and exist. God is good. He is our Father. He is loving, compassionate, and faithful to His people and His promises. Exodus 3:14; Numbers 23:19; Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; Psalm 11:4-6; Malachi 3:6; John 3:16; 4:24; 5:26; 14:1; Acts 17:28; Romans 3:3-4
The SonJesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. On earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. He is the only man ever to have lived a sinless life. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, died on the cross for mankind and thus, atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood. He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will return in power and glory. John 1:1,14, 20:28; I Timothy 3:16; Isaiah 9:6; Philippians 2:5-6; I Timothy 2:5.
The Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit’s presence assures us of our relationship with Christ. He guides believers into all truth and exalts Christ. He convicts people of their sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment. He comforts us, and makes us more like Christ. The Holy Spirit gives each believer a variety of spiritual gifts to build and sanctify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, and confirm the power of the Gospel. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures and should never be used in violation of biblical parameters. Hebrews 2:4; Romans 1:11,12 :4-8; Ephesians 4:16; II Timothy 1:5-16, 4:14; I Corinthians 12:1-31, 14:1-40; I Peter 4:10.
RedemptionMan was created good and upright, but by voluntary disobedience of God’s law he fell; his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Gen. 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21
SalvationThe blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the only way of salvation through the forgiveness of sin. Salvation occurs the moment someone receives Jesus Christ into their life by confession of faith in His life, death, and resurrection. Salvation is a gift from God to man. Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16, 3:8; Titus 3:5; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 16:31; Hebrews 9:22.
The ChurchThe church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of Jesus' great commission. Every person who is born of the Spirit is an integral part of the church as a member of the body of believers. There is a spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:22, 2:19-22; Hebrews 12:23; John 17:11, 20-23.
SacramentsWater Baptism: Following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new believer is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48. The Lord's Supper: A unique time of communion in the presence of God when the elements of bread and grape juice (symbolic of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) are taken in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross. Matthew 26:26-29; I Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-25.
Second ComingJesus Christ will physically and visibly return to earth for the second time to establish His Kingdom. This will occur at a date undisclosed by the Scriptures. Matthew 24:30, 26:63-64; Acts 1:9-11; I Thessalonians 4:15-17; II Thessalonians 1:7-8; Revelation 1:7