Disciple-making starts at home: “I watch their faith and their dedication to trust and follow me because I follow Jesus”

By Izah Broadus

When people think about the ministry of a church, they probably think of the pastors and ministers and what they do. What people might take for granted? The ministers’ families!  

Our family talks about the ministry at New Faith. I mean, it’s a big part of our lives. I make sure my family is involved—that they are not just members but they are also growing in the Lord and growing with the church.

But something I always want to make sure of is that I’m not pressuring them into something. My hope is that they will seek the Lord because they want to. Like Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) At the same time, I watch their faith and their dedication to trust and follow me because I follow Jesus.

Right now our family lives in Little Rock, and we have two daughters in Pine Bluff. Because of the distance, my girls are not able to be a part of everything that happens at the church. Even so, God is using our family to make an impact.

My wife isn’t in West Helena all the time, but when she is in town the young ladies come to her for advice and look up to her. And our children! They have a funny, on-going argument about who is going to open the service or read Scripture for our Youth Sunday every month. It’s amazing how God is using them to bring others to the church and bringing them into a relationship with Jesus.

In the last few weeks, my wife has been talking about how it’s time for us to move to West Helena. It brought joy to my heart to know that she sees what God is doing in West Helena through New Faith! I think I almost cried because it has been on my heart and I didn’t want to pressure her into moving.

After a lot of prayer, we both feel that’s what God is leading our family to do. Please be in prayer for us as we are looking at some houses and plan to make that transition at the end of the year.

Seeing God’s hand

Because we see how God has blessed what we are doing, we have dreams. With the after-school program and our six-week summer program (starting June 12) bringing new kids to New Faith, we want to continue creating more events that focus on children and youth. We want the church to be open every day of the week!

And we have lots of helpers. My kids and other youth in the church are eager to be there and eager to serve. I’ve also seen God’s anointing on a young man named Stanley.

Stanley—who is now 17 years old—came to New Faith with his father about a year ago. Even though his dad left, Stanley stayed. I’m amazed when I hear him talk, and all the kids in the church look up to him.

I thought that Stanley would want to find himself a job after just graduating from high school, but he wants to be involved in what the church is doing. He plays the drums for New Faith, and he volunteers with our after-school program. I’ve noticed how he mentors the kids, and I think about how he could have easily found a job instead. But God has used him here!  

Actually, Stanley recently said he feels God is leading him into ministry. He wants to stick around at the church and go to a local community college to continue his education.

God is truly at work in New Faith Baptist Church and West Helena!


A community of strangers

By Andrew Munneke

I have two young boys: Asher who is 3 and August who is 15 months old. It’s needless to say, but our house is a symphony of rambunctious screams, discordant torment, and the occasional plea for a parental figure to come and fix everything. Anyone with young children knows that your house can turn from tranquility to calamity in an instant.

This happened to me one Friday morning. Known affectionately around our house as “Dude Day,” most Friday’s I take the boys to a local bakery for donuts. (Because every “Dude Day” needs an enormous amount of sugar. It’s part of the man code.)

Now I usually have a “no cell phone” rule when it’s just me and the boys, but this particular day my phone kept buzzing with situations I needed to address. So I would glance at my boys, then look down at my phone and type. Glance up—Ok, still eating donuts—glance back down at the glowing screen and keep typing. Glance up, and just like that my 3-year-old had unscrewed the pepper shaker on the table and was pouring pepper all over my donuts. Solid prank, but a terrible seasoning for donuts.

I think for many Christians right now it seems like almost overnight, or a quick glimpse down at our phones, that suddenly everything has changed and we have been pushed into the margins of our culture. Especially here in the South, the church has had a position of privilege within our society, but we are finally realizing an environmental shift has taken place.

But living on the margins of society is nothing new for the church. In fact, the early church boomed within the Roman context in which it lived as a compelling, contrastive community that didn’t seek relevance and conformity as its goal within the culture but sought to challenge and contradict that cultural good. In other words, the church was salt and light living in a decaying and darkening world. 

The Western church has lost that, and we need to get it back.

Moving “beyond” Christianity

It is almost universally acknowledged that we live in a Post-Christian culture. This does not mean that our culture has shifted back to a Pre-Christian worldview but that it has “progressed” beyond Christianity, all while “feasting upon its fruits.” The creed of modern-day progressive elites proclaims the dignity of all human beings, the eradication of poverty, tolerance of all beliefs and worldviews, and the supremacy of science as the sole arbiter of truth.

In this creed it’s clear that there is still a yearning for the Kingdom of God and for shalom to be restored, but there is no mention of Holy God. The foundation of these philosophies is birthed out of the Christian mission and reconciliation, yet there is one major difference: the elevation and reign of the individual will.

{ The creed of modern-day progressive elites proclaims the dignity of all human beings, the eradication of poverty, tolerance of all beliefs and worldviews, and the supremacy of science as the sole arbiter of truth. }

The seeds of the exaltation-of-self began with Descartes, who famously proclaimed that all things must first be assumed as false until they can be proven true with his conclusion of, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes has been called the father of the Age of Reason (the Enlightenment). He sparked the flames of the autonomous self and the idea that the individual, not a deity or even a collective community, determined right and wrong, true and false.

We see how the fruits of this idea really took-off in the 1950s with the rise of consumerism and materialism. Happiness, identity, and prosperity no longer were the reward for hard work and diligence—they could be bought. This rise of the consumerist individual paved the way for the sexual revolution in the 1960s and ‘70s with their sacred cows of abortion and divorce. The goal of life became the pursuit of happiness and pleasure, and because “I determine my own truth through reasoning” was the mantra, no system, government, or religious institution was able to convert them.

The church’s response to this new “culture war” seemed to be running to the courts and aligning themselves with a political party that would seek to enforce a biblical worldview upon those who opposed it. While Christians sought to capture the law of the land, the progressives pursued our imaginations through creative arts and cultural engagement. Entertainment highlighted this new individualized theology with themes of self-discovery through experiment, following passions in the face of opposition, and embracing individuals’ uniqueness. 

{ The goal of life became the pursuit of happiness and pleasure…no system, government, or religious institution was able to convert them. }

These combined ideologies of consumerism and a yearning for self-discovery began to influence how the church “reached lost people.” The goal of churches changed to becoming relevant to the culture. Sermons drifted towards self-help lessons. Churches started marketing themselves using “sales techniques” to differentiate themselves from other churches in town. Even worship songs drifted away lyrically from corporate declaration of praise and morphed into a more personal experience.

Simply put, the culture turned the church into another marketplace, one that sold religious goods and services to the masses, and the result was parishioners who now seek churches to fit their own needs instead of seeking to meet others’ needs (in contrast with the early church in Acts 2:44-45).

But recently the church moved back to the margins of society. How? For the past 40 years, the dominate message the culture has received from the church is “come to Jesus and it will improve the quality of your life.” Yet because the church has certain beliefs that do not hold up to modern sensibilities, casual churchgoers are discovering that identifying themselves with Jesus actually interferes with their quality of their life. 

Now I know I need to clarify what I am saying so that I am not misunderstood. The Gospel most definitely brings joy and an overwhelming affection for Christ. However, to declare “Jesus is Lord” and not “The culture is Lord” costs you something. Only those whose hearts have been captured by the Gospel can truly say, “You can take the world because I have Jesus.” But for those in our churches who have bought into a “prosperity gospel” that says “Jesus will make you happy,” they will leave our churches in droves when a life with Jesus leaves them persecuted instead of happy.

More than a compelling community?

I know for some of you, the current trajectory of the church’s relationship with our culture is a scary reality. However, am I more optimistic than ever for the future of the church if we embrace our role as a compelling minority within our culture! Here are just two reasons why:

1. The church was born and exploded on the margins of society, and it will not die at the margins of society.

In a pre-Christian context, everybody knew that their testimony could end with them losing their life, and in that context the church boomed! This is our heritage. In a Post-Christian context, we have to know that declaring “Jesus is Lord” probably won’t lead to us being killed, but it does mean that we might lose friends, our jobs, and a certain level of approval.

Do you really believe Jesus’s words: “the gates of hell will not prevail against the church”? (Matthew 16:18) If Christ is the one who builds, sustains, and grows the body, then nothing will hold us back!

2. Because of hyper-individualism, the world needs the church.

There has been a saying that “people love Jesus but not the church,” but in a Post-Christian context what we are beginning to see is people love the church but not Jesus. Let me give you an example of this.

A couple of years ago, a movement began in London called The Sunday Assembly. If you walked into one of their services on a Sunday morning, you would see a gathering of hip millennials from all different walks and stages of life gathering for reflection, community, and renewal. The thing is…they are all atheist and agnostic.

{ The Sunday Assembly started from a group of people who wanted the good things about church…this movement has planted 480 churches. }

The Sunday Assembly started from a group of people who wanted the good things about church—community, charitable deeds, being part of something bigger than yourself—but without all of the belief. This movement has exploded to over 480 congregations. You catch that?! This movement has planted 480 CHURCHES because hyper-individualism has left people lonely, lost, and with a yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves. 

One of the reasons why millennials are flocking to church plants and smaller churches right now is because they are yearning to be known and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In other words, they don’t want to be the point of church.

What an opportunity for the church!

Welcoming & transforming

We knew when we planted The Hill Church that there were unbelievers who would not know Jesus until they knew His people first. That means we were to invite them into our community to live life with us, break bread with us, and cry and laugh with us. That’s what discipleship is! We understood that it’s a process and that different people are in different places in their spiritual spectrum.

Have you thought about how Jesus called 12 unbelievers to be His disciples? Then for the next three years of Jesus’ ministry, those disciples came to call Him Lord at different moments in time. Peter was the first of the disciples to rightly see Jesus for who He was. Thomas didn’t fully become a believer until he stuck his fingers through Jesus’ pierced hands. And Judas never confessed Jesus as Lord, but he wanted more of what Jesus could give him rather than Jesus himself. 

{ Jesus called his 12 unbelievers to be His disciples. Then for the next three years of Jesus’ ministry, those disciples came to call Him Lord at different moments in time. }

We have embraced the form of discipleship that we call, “Welcoming and Mutually Transforming.” What we mean by this is that we have a posture of humility, confessing that we ourselves are not perfect, fall short, and that we still need the cross and Christ’s righteousness. We welcome people into our community regardless of if they look like us, talk like us, or even behave like us because some people won’t accept Gods love and grace until they have experienced it through His people first!

All the while, we do not fit-in to our host culture because we are exiles. We live in this “socially awkward” tension because this is not our home. The Apostle Peter described the church as “aliens and strangers in this world.” (1 Peter 2:11)

Therefore, as a compelling community that is different than that of the culture, we must embrace our alien ethic. We must embrace that our church culture lives radically different than the world in how we handle money, sex, and power. And this distinctiveness is a good thing. I like how Stanley Hauerwas puts it:

The church must show the world something it is not—and cannot be—apart from Jesus.

You might be reading this and feel like I did at the donut shop with my boys. A moment ago the world seemed fine, but then you looked up and everything has changed. My hope for this blog is to encourage you! Don’t fall into despair but actually be excited for the potential work that God can do through the church when it is on the margins.

When Israel went into exile in Babylon, God did not tell His people to escape the city and run away from the culture. He told them to seek the welfare and the prosperity of the city. (Jeremiah 29:7)

The church needs to be ambassadors of beauty, stewards of generosity, and cultivators of renewal in the cities and the places they belong. And if we embrace the calling to live in the world for the world, then certainly nothing will overcome the people of God!  

Stepping out

By Izah Broadus 

At New Faith we teach “come to Jesus right where you are, and let Jesus change your life around.” People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door.  

We do outreach events like community dinners, block parties, medical and dental clinics, and other things to have a chance to talk to people. After some events, people want to know when we’re going to do something else. I tell them that if it weren’t for Jesus Christ, we wouldn’t be able to do it. We don’t get caught up in the stuff. We do this for free to reach lost souls.

Actually, for a lot of people the first thing they say is, “How much does this cost?” and they’re surprised when we tell them, “It’s free, just come.” We see a lot of people at outreach events and then invite them to New Faith. And they come.

Regardless of where they’re at—spiritually or financially—we don’t treat them no different. We treat everybody the same if they drop a quarter or $50 in the offering plate. They fall in love and keep coming back and end up joining.

{ People who were alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless—we have loved them and introduced them to Jesus. But most of them didn’t just walk in the front door. } 

When I preach, I just compare the Bible and real-life issues that the congregation might be dealing with, and they understand what the problem is about. Like the three Hebrew boys the king put in the fire, I tell them that the fire didn’t destroy the Hebrews. The heat might be turned up in their life, but things that have us bound won’t bind us forever.

West Helena is one of the highest poverty level areas in Arkansas. Within a 20-block radius of the church, there is no gymnasium, no park, no public library. There is nothing for the teenagers. There are no jobs.

Our focus at New Faith right now is to provide things for the community. We live in a community where you can throw a basketball out in the parking lot and kids come out of nowhere because they don’t have anything to do. We want to provide a gymnasium, and we are praying about a park.

There isn’t a local shelter, either. Someone is always at the door of the church when I get out of the car. They want to talk, or they are hungry.

There was a guy eating out of the dumpster over the last few months, and I wanted to share Jesus with him. His name is Arthur, and I just wanted him to know that God still loves him. We invited him into the church a lot because it was cold. This fall, he joined New Faith, and he wants to be baptized!

We’ve made a room upstairs for a library. We are working on opening the room on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays so people in the community can look for jobs.

We are also looking into starting an after-school program, and it will start on February 21, 2017. We are praying for God to provide because we have needs—for more computers, for space, for materials to do things outside with the kids. But what we do have right now are people who love the vision for this. 

The new church van!

We had a need for transportation, and God answered prayer! We were picking up 20-30 people for our church services on Sundays and Wednesdays but didn’t have a church van. We were picking them up in cars and trucks. Me and two more who would pick them up and take them home after service.

By the grace of God, Brother Dave McClung text me one morning and told me he found us a van! He connected me with Pastor Wyman Richardson of Central Baptist Church in North Little Rock, Ark. It was a blessing that we had been praying for, and I cried tears of joy.

God is showing us that He is with us at New Faith if we stay obedient to Him. The name New Faith speak for itself—a new group of people in positions that we’ve never been in before. People stepping out on faith and trusting that God will provide.



The prodigal son who found new faith

By Izah Broadus

I grew up in a little town called Lakeview, Ark. with about 1,000 people. Town was like a family. Everybody looked out for each other. Growing up in that environment made me a caring person. I always wanted to help others.

My mother and father raised me in church. They kept my brothers and sisters and me away from drugs and gangs. We didn’t experience those things and weren’t allowed to do anything like that.

As I got older, I thought there was a better life. I spent some time in the streets when I was about 18 years old. Even in my time in the streets I was a caring person because it was what I learned growing up. I was always trying to help everybody else, but I never took the time to help myself. I was a lot like the prodigal son.

What really did it was 2006. I was a diabetic and didn’t even know it. They couldn’t get my sugar down. I went into a coma, and the doctor said I wouldn’t live. I was fighting for my life, and I did live. When I got out of the hospital I said, “God, why did you save me?”

I went back to running the streets. In September 2008, I was shot five times—twice in the chest, once in the face, once in the hand, and once in the leg. It was a life change. I woke up, and I was still alive. While I was recovering from all of this, I was praying, reading the Bible, and talking to God.

Then in January, the mother of my kids walked out on me and took the kids with her. It was one of the hardest things I went through. I wasn’t ready for it. I wanted to be a better man for my kids and show them this was not who I was raised to be. I needed to change my life.  

A New Faith

I didn’t have to go to rehab or a program to get my life back together, I just got on my knees and started praying. One day my prayers brought me to Jesus Christ. I had experienced the pain and suffering that people going through in the world, and I knew I wanted to help them.

From that point on I struggled because I knew that God was calling me. I wrestled with Him for three years, but I knew what He was doing. That’s when I got back in the church. I decided I would go back home to the church I grew up in.

One Sunday as I listened to the preacher, I thought about ministry and how I had been running this whole time. I stood up in the middle of the message. The pastor came out of the pulpit and walked down to me. I knew he was preaching and talking directly to me. I told him, “I can’t run no more. God is calling me.”

The pastor looked at me and said that my father, on his death bed, told him that he wasn’t going to hear his son preach his first sermon. That broke me. I cried right there in church.

Even with my past, the church accepted me. But the longer I stayed there the more I felt that we weren’t reaching the lost people in the streets. The lost people hadn’t heard the story of Jesus. Or if they had heard about Him, they didn’t know what He really means. These people needed to be reached, and I wanted to meet people and make a difference on the area.

{ The lost people hadn’t heard the story of Jesus. Or if they had heard about Him, they didn’t know what He really means. These people needed to be reached. }

That’s what I want to teach people: there is a Savior for all people! It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, but I left my home church. I felt that was what God wanted me to do.

At about the time I left, I joined an organization in West Helena, Ark., that was supposed to be helping youth who were living on the streets. The organization owned a building in West Helena that was connected to a church, and they asked if I wanted the church to start a ministry.

I prayed about it and said yes. The church started on March 15, 2015, and they installed me as the pastor of the church. We had our first service on Easter Sunday that April, which gave me time to talk to people and make flyers. My family knew about it and people in the community found out. Sixty people came that morning, and eight people joined. We named the church New Faith.izah-preaching

At first I just focused on preaching but then I started doing more. Now I talk, go into praise and worship, talk, turn it over to the musicians, then preach the Word. I’m up and doing something the whole service. I get up in the choir sometimes, too.

The Lord Provides

When the church was about two months old, I found out the organization that owned our building was not who they were telling people they were. I thought, I didn’t come to this to do wrong in the church. When I reported them, they told me we had to move out of the church. By that time, we had about 30 members at New Faith. 

I said to God, “There’s no way you brought me back to West Helena to start a church for this to happen.” I started looking for a place to worship and found a church in the same neighborhood—St. Mary’s Church. They were only worshiping on the second and fourth Sundays, so they approached me and offered that we could start meeting there on the first and third Sundays. At the same time, I felt that we needed to be in our own facility.

So I’m walking through the sanctuary with a member of Harmony Baptist, who was selling St. Mary’s Church, and talking about what was going on with New Faith. Then he tells me they wanted to sell their building. Their asking price was $125,000, but I made them an offer for $20,000.

I was surprised when he said, “I’ll take it.” I asked, “What makes you want to sell it to me for $20,000?” He said, “We’ve had people approach us and make offers, but they wanted to turn it into a game room or a studio. This church has history, and we wanted to keep it as a church.”

So after hearing our story, they simply said they wanted to help us out and sold it to us for $20,000!

{ God is showing us, “Don’t worry about this. I got y’all,” just like Jeremiah 29:11. }

As it turns out, this building needed so much work—new copper wire, an air conditioning unit, a new gas pipe. I realized we couldn’t hold a service there until we got some things fixed, so I made a smaller offer.

New Faith met in this “new” building the first Sunday of July 2015. We didn’t have anything but lights, air conditioning, the sanctuary, and a restroom, but we got in there and started service. Some windows were broken, and we still have broken windows.

Then I started hearing things about Arkansas Baptists. I went to Anthony Banks, and he sat down and explained to me how things worked with Dixie Jackson missions. And I’m thinking, “I need to talk to them. That’s something I’d love to be a part of.”

I was able to meet with ABSC church planting strategist Bro. Willie Jacobs (and when I met him it was like God poured out the blessings of heaven!) to talk about Dixie Jackson funds. He also introduced me to the Church Planting Team and the pastor of First Baptist Hot Springs, John McCallum.

First Baptist Hot Springs volunteering at a block party hosted by New Faith.

First Baptist Hot Springs became our partnering church. They came down to West Helena and did some work on the church. We probably wouldn’t be in our church building if it wasn’t for them, but we don’t dwell on that. We don’t have big funds coming in, and sometimes they step in and pay the utilities for the month. God is showing us, “Don’t worry about this. I got y’all,” just like Jeremiah 29:11. I made this our church’s Scripture!block-party-3

One hundred and forty-seven people are on the church roster right now with at least 50 to 80 people in service on Sundays.

At New Faith we teach come to Jesus right where you are in life and let Jesus change your life around. I know my God brought me out of my situation, and I started serving God right there and my life changed. I have truly watched people come in our doors that were homeless, drug addicts, or alcoholics, and we loved them and introduced them to Jesus right there.


Why church planting?

By Lee Kemp

When I’m talking to people and sharing Forefront Church’s story, I have often been asked “Why did you go into church planting after being involved in an established church ministry for more than a decade?” I think it’s a great question.

Back in the day, Sarah and I made this little magazine when Forefront was becoming a reality. There was a “Why Church Planting?” page, and it had a few simple points. I’ll use them as a starting point to answering this question.  

1. God has called me to do it.

That’s reason enough to be involved in church planting, but it is a hard answer to give sometimes. I’ve always tried to be careful saying, “God called me to do this.”  Maybe it was my creative brain and not God?

Even though I know God called me—to church planting and to do other things—the one thing that would limit me is feeling ill-equipped. Well, if God is sending people to do it, he must be equipping people to do it! I know whenever God calls us he equips us.

I feel he equipped me by giving me an entrepreneurial spirit for Kingdom advancement. He also gave me a pioneering spirit, and by that I mean a willingness to cut a trail, to settle a vision into a reality. The grass was bent in Fort Smith and there was a trail, and I felt like God was leading me to take a road over there. 

2. Church plants are fulfilling the great commission, sometimes faster than established churches.

Church plants are effective, and they reach new people. There is plenty of research on this. Church plants, also known as church starts, in many cases have been observed to grow from 0 to 200 people quicker than established churches.

Church plants also have a passion for evangelism, and they have a tendency for a disciple-centered culture. It’s a part of the demand that they make disciples because there is nothing else for them to hang their hat on.

A lot of church plants have evangelism so ingrained in their ministry DNA that they “plant pregnant.” In other words, they are starting new churches as they are becoming a new church. There is a lot of statistical data to back up that church planting is one way of fulfilling the Great Commission at a faster pace.

3. There is a need for church planting.

When you listen to someone talk about a business, people often ask, “Is there a viable reason for this?” I’ve talked a lot in previous blogs about being a missional church, but there really was a need for a missional church plant in Fort Smith. (If you haven’t already, be sure to read “We Are Forefront” and “My Apartment Is My Mission Field.”)

We have seen God fulfill his vision through us. Sometimes it was in “small” ways, and sometimes it was in big ways. (Check out “Sowing Seeds with People of Peace,” “From Homeless to Homemaker,” and “God is Still on the Move.”)  

Continuing to grow

I have done a lot of growing over the years in both the ministries of established churches and church planting. The first sermon I ever preached  was awful and doctrinally wrong. In a church plant, if someone preaches like that, visitors might go to a completely different church! If someone had never given me that opportunity, I wouldn’t be where I am today. 

One thing I really don’t dispute is God calling me to church planting, but what I struggle with is if I am doing it in the way he would have me do it. Sometimes I think I’m doing ok, and other days I feel like I should be blocking off my whole day for prayer.

I have learned that even though I am a pastor, I am still obligated to lead with the fruit of the Spirit. In church planting, the success of the church plant can hinge on whether this new thing rolls or doesn’t roll. If something’s not working, then why? How will I know if it is worth continuing?  When I shepherd, I have to lead with the fruit of the Spirit.

Signing off

This is my last official blog post for “A Day in the Life of a Church Planter.” I am passing the baton to several great guys who will share their lives, tell their stories, and give you a glimpse into what God is doing through their church plants. Continue following Forefront Church’s journey at http://www.forefront.church/, or add me on Facebook.

I would ask that you continue to pray for Forefront Church and for our family. Here are a few specific ways you can pray:

  • That Sarah and I will continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and that we would seek to minister being filled with the Spirit.
  • We ask for wisdom and discernment about how to position our people where they can fulfill their calling in ministry and ultimately advance the Gospel.
  • That we would continually walk in faith. We want to see God provide for us in a way where only he is seen as our source of provision. We don’t ever want to be in a spot where we “finally make budget.” If we make budget, it’s our desire to constantly have a posture of faith as a church. We don’t want to ever be in a spot where we financially settle. Pray that we don’t become complacent.
  • Please pray for my children. I don’t want to reach the whole world and lose my own kids. I don’t want to minister in such a way that my kids hate the ministry. I pray that they would continue in—and maybe even be called to—ministry, and that they would continue the race that Sarah and I have started.

From homeless to homemaker

By Lee Kemp 

A few years ago, the manager of a Motel 6 in Fort Smith called me to refer a lady who could use some help.  We had developed a friendship with Motel 6 through ministering to so many folks, and we had even been able to develop a corporate discount rate to help people.  

I met DeLayne at McDonald’s right next to the hotel. She sat there with me and another elder of Forefront. We filled out this sheet to assess what she needed and figure out if we could meet that need. I could tell she was nervous and had been through a lot. I stopped her and reassured her that she could relax and didn’t have to sell us on helping her. 

DeLayne had fibromyalgia and had been living with her mom for a season to take care of her. After her mom needed to change living conditions, DeLayne moved with her daughter Sarah to Fort Smith. It wasn’t long in their new beginning that Sarah lost her job. Because DeLayne had been completely dependent on Sarah, she became homeless. She had no place to go.

Forefront was pretty limited in what we could do for her right away, but we assured DeLayne that we wanted to be her faith family, and as her faith family we also wanted to do all we could do to help her get back to where she desired to be.     

{ As DeLayne’s faith family we wanted to do all we could do to help her get back to where she desired to be.}

DeLayne went to the Rescue Mission and was able to get a job, but Forefront could do things for her the Rescue Mission couldn’t do. As time went on we would help financially with small needs, and we loaned her a car that we used for local missions. She connected with our church and started coming to worship with us. 

And DeLayne got back up on her feet! She secured a good job, a home, and eventually met a really good guy, Will, who she recently married. Now she is a homemaker, and Will takes good care of her. DeLayne says she is a “kept woman.” 


She is now considering how she can serve others with her free time. One of the things she wants to do is help Forefront Church by volunteering in our office as my assistant. It’s amazing how she was ministered to by our church and is now giving back by serving the church.   

DeLayne is such a huge encouragement to anyone who knows her! She uses these three verses when encouraging folks about what God has done in her life: Jeremiah 33:3, Romans 8:28 & Philippians 4:19.

Forefront wants to be a church the community sees as an organization that meets needs. I have witnessed that we can never go wrong just getting out into the community and developing friendships that the Lord brings our way. It is through friendships with organizations and local businesses like Motel 6 that Forefront has had the opportunity to meet someone like DeLayne.

 {Forefront’s desire is to be at the forefront of what God is doing in changing the lives of those who feel far from God.  Our vision is to Reach the Lost, Equip the saved to reach others, and Serve God by using our gifts to show Jesus to the local community.  Our heart is to maintain an external focus as a church.}