I am loving how our church is stepping up and becoming a church without walls – real salt and light. Matthew 5:14-16 in The Message Bible says, ““Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Here’s a rundown of how we are serving in various ways outside the walls of the church:
1. Tucker prison ministry – every two weeks our men minister and fellowship with men at Tucker Prison. We encourage those getting out before we come back in the next two weeks to come to church. We consider it Family Church North with over 100 guys in worship and small groups.
2. Foster and adoptive care – more of our people are serving as foster parents and considering adoption. Some are becoming Court Appointed Special Advocates (C.A.S.A.’s) through Voices for Children who partner with DHS and are extra eyes, hands, and feet (and hearts) for the foster kids as they go into homes, schools, etc. and love on families. We are training over 20 new C.A.S.A’s in the next two weeks for Jefferson County. We are also donating to them financially.
3. The unborn and expectant moms – lots of our people signed up to serve in various ways with the Hope Women’s Resource Center this past weekend. From counseling, to praying, to changing light bulbs and oil, we are hoping to make abortion non-existent and help women choose life in this county. We hope to train 25+ at our two Saturday trainings May 24 and June 7 from 9-3 at Family Church. We took up a great love offering for them as well.
4. We are partnering with two startup churches – a new Hispanic church plant in Pine Bluff and a new church plant in Dumas. I’m taking bibles and a donation to the Hispanic church today and several of our people have asked how they can help serve them. We just gave a love offering to the church plant in Dumas and will continue to support them financially and other tangible ways. Some of their men went with us to a men’s retreat this past weekend. What a great time!
5. We are supporting a church plant in Apaycanchilla, Peru. It’s actually called Iglesia Familiar De Apaycanchilla (Family Church of Apaycancilla. We hope to gather a team in the future to go there and serve.
6. I just met with a couple yesterday about starting a Veteran’s ministry at the church to help those currently and previously in the military. Through fellowship, prayer, and special events we plan to reach out to veterans and let them know we care and appreciate how they have served our country. We also want to help them through various issues through support groups to discuss military experiences, veterans issues, and Biblical topics. We also want to help them in applying for and receiving VA benefits and privileges they have earned and deserve.
7. I loved how we took 5 huge trailer loads of supplies to tornado victims in Vilonia Tuesday. Our plans are to continue to help through clean-up, specific supplies, and monetary support. We are organizing an effort to go next week to help in clean up and deliver more supplies. They need things like trash bags, Rubbermaid totes, work gloves, non-perishables, can openers, batteries of any kind, tools, etc. They are good on water at this poin
Just a note on the church: we’ve baptized 74 people this year so far, seen over 300 visitors (who filled out cards) enter our buildings, and had almost 60 join our church through our membership classes. In the last three weeks 61 people have been saved. Our giving is up 23% in the first quarter compared to last year’s first quarter. That means more and more people are tithing and becoming givers to the Kingdom. We’ve seen ton’s more people start serving through our various outreach ministries. I can hardly wait to see how many people are baptized this weekend! God is up to something great – I just don’t want to mess it up and am thankful to be along for the ride! sign up for baptism at www.familychurch.ws
I just want to say it’s an honor to pastor Family Church and see our people serve and be the Church outside the four walls of the church building! Keep being the Church – generous in good deeds and rich in love!
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.