By Chris Moon
Kentucky Church Hosts “Drug House Odyssey”
Nicholson Christian Church in Independence, Ky., bypassed the typical church “fall festival” and “trunk-or-treat” event this past Halloween to focus on something scarier.
The Northern Kentucky church spent three days in late October hosting what it called “Drug House Odyssey,” an interactive walk through the horrors of drug addiction.
According to WLWT Channel 5, the church produced a handful of live-action scenes that played out stories of drug addiction—from a childcare worker suffering an overdose to a teenager finding his mother had overdosed.
Kentucky has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic.
“We want to show them where that path leads. That . . . path leads to some pretty dark places,” the church’s student minister, Dustin Dalton, told WLWT. “We are actually basing all of the scenes on real-life events that have happened here in Northern Kentucky over the past 7 to 10 years.”
Drug counselors were available to provide assistance as people walked through the church to view each exhibition. The entire program took about 30 minutes to view.
“We have men, women, and children who have a passion for this issue,” Dalton told WLWT. “We want to see it out of our community. We want to see this thing fixed.”
Larry Travis serves as senior minister at Nicholson Christian Church.
Former Porn Distributor Finds, Gives Hope
Keith Repult is trying to give hope where there seldom seems to be any.
The recovery pastor at Mission Church in Ventura, Calif., once owned the second-largest pornography distribution company in the country. He found Jesus when a pastor came into the yogurt shop Repult and his wife owned and shared the good news with him.
From there, Repult left drugs and pornography behind and gave himself fully to the gospel. He wrote a book last year, Just Breathe: All Stories Are Redeemable, All Brokenness Repairable, All Addictions Breakable.
Repult was featured in a story in The Gospel Herald.
“I didn’t even realize the hold pornography and drugs had on me. I didn’t even realize it was wrong because it’s so normalized today,” Repult told The Gospel Herald. “But when I became a born-again Christian, my eyes were opened. If there’s one thing I want people to take away from my life, it’s that there’s always hope, and that hope is only found in Jesus.”
Repult wrote the book with Mike Breaux, a former pastor of Southland Christian Church, Nicholasville, Ky., and Jen Oakes, of Mission Church in Ventura. It was released by BroadStreet Publishers.
Building Friendships to Make a Difference
Outlook Christian Church in McCordsville, Ind., recently launched a new ministry aimed at helping adults with intellectual disabilities.
The church has begun offering a Friendship Life Group that provides a Bible study and fellowship for people who may not feel at home in a church.
“I think our friends with disabilities have those same desires we do,” group organizer and Outlook member Nicole Crosby told the Greenfield Daily Reporter. “It’s going to not only help our friends with disabilities, it’s (also) going to help the community at large. We’re going to have more people who want to work together to make a difference.”
Outlook Christian Church has partnered in the effort with central Indiana’s Connection Ministries, which helps churches to minister better to people with intellectual disabilities. The idea behind the Friendship Life Group is to embrace people with intellectual disabilities as brothers and sisters in Christ and to form friendships that extend beyond the confines of the group meetings.
Rob McCord serves as senior minister of Outlook Christian Church in suburban Indianapolis.
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Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo., is hosting a preaching-teaching convention, “Be Strong: A Series in Joshua,” Feb. 19–21. The convention will feature speakers Rick Atchley, Jon Kehrer, Drew Moore, Mark Moore, David Rutherford, Drew Sherman, and Sean Palmer.
Trace Church in Colorado Springs, a 2016 Orchard Group church plant, recently hosted a food packaging “party” where members packaged 23,000 meals to send to people in Puerto Rico. Lead planter Aaron Pennington said, “One of the things we like to do is throw incredible parties. . . . So we decided to throw a party to pack food for people in Puerto Rico.”
Tom and Debbie Jones were given Milligan College’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. The Joneses have been active church planters. Tom has served as Stadia’s executive director. Debbie has directed Stadia’s Bloom program.
Johnson University, Knoxville, Tenn., last fall hosted the “Just Lead” church leadership conference. The conference was presented by E2: Effective Elders and featured speakers James Estep, Gary Johnson, and David Roadcup.
Boise (Idaho) Bible College’s spring conference is titled “Relational Proximity: Influencing and Investing in Others” and will feature keynote speaker Matt Proctor, president of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo. The conference is scheduled for May 8-10.
Greencastle (Ind.) Christian Church reached out to its community with a communitywide outreach dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Dinners were served for anyone who showed up to eat, according to the Banner Graphic news site.
Grandview Christian Church in Johnson City, Tenn., in October chipped in to help with “Love JC United,” an effort by local churches to serve their local community. According to News Channel 11, churches came together to serve at 20 sites across the county, including the Salvation Army and a local elementary school.
The annual East Tennessee Christian Convention was held in November at Boones Creek Christian Church. The convention was first held in 1829 and is considered to be the oldest continuously held convention for Restoration Movement churches. Ethan Magness, senior minister of First Christian Church in Johnson City, was the speaker.
Wes McElravy, pastor of Millersburg (Ohio) Christian Church, officiated an unusual and heartfelt “wedding” in October. He served as the pastor at a father-daughter ceremony for the seven daughters of Army veteran Willie Shelton, who was fighting terminal cancer but whose deepest desire was to walk his daughters down the aisle. The story was reported by Fox 8 of Cleveland. Shelton passed away less than two weeks after the ceremony.
Pastor Jim Book, of Kissimmee (Fla.) Christian Church, was quoted in a news story about how to address a local homelessness problem. WFTV Channel 9 reported on a local government proposal to partner with area churches as shelters. “There are a lot of churches that sit empty five to six days a week. This could be a golden opportunity for some churches to rediscover their purpose,” Book said.
Milligan College in Tennessee recently wrapped up the largest fund-raising initiative in its 150-year history. It raised nearly $42 million during the second phase of its “Forward Ever” campaign.
Windsor Road Christian Church in Champaign, Ill., put its own twist on the typical fall “corn maze.” The church used hundreds of refrigerator-sized boxes to keep kids guessing as they worked their way through the church’s cardboard “maze,” according to IllinoisHomepage.com.
Derek Voorhees has been inaugurated as the 10th president of Boise (Idaho) Bible College. Voorhees is a graduate of Ozark Christian College, Lincoln Christian University, and Dallas Theological Seminary.
Calvary Christian Church in Winchester, Ky., is helping its community following the closure of a local YMCA. CCC is partnering with other churches to launch an Upward basketball league, according to the Winchester Sun.
Stadia is turning 15 this year. The church-planting organization has launched nearly 300 churches in the United States since its founding in 2003. Stadia is hosting a “family reunion” with its planters, partners, staff, and board members during the Exponential East conference in Orlando, which will be held Feb. 26 to March 1.