Church Arise is a very different kind of Church. It was founded by people who were disillusioned by the modern Church. We envision a Church that draws its blueprint from the book of Acts. We are more closely a mission church or a House Church than a traditional denominational church. Our focus of ministry is to the unchurched. We believe that it is our mission to reach those that have been rejected or are dejected by traditional church. There is a huge population of people who don’t want to go to church because of bad experiences, or because they don’t feel they have anything to wear, or they feel they won’t fit in, or they feel they will be judged if they go. These are the people we want to feel comfortable at Church Arise. We don’t turn away people because they are different. We embrace different. We are different. We call ourselves the “island of misfit toys”. We have a strong ministry in the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Our church is approximately 70% Native American.
Our outreach includes a shoebox ministry at Christmas. Teachers from Conehatta Elementary School identify children with needs in the community. These children will not be receiving Christmas presents from their family. They normally have only one outfit which they wear to school every day. These are our target children. We assemble shoeboxes with clothes, hygiene items and a toy. These shoeboxes are handed out by a few discrete members of our church, to the children, at their homes on Christmas Eve. For many of these children, the only Christmas presents they have ever gotten in their entire lives have come from Church Arise. The most popular item is often the toothpaste.
The families that we deal with have an average annual income of approximately 12,000 dollars a year. This is for a household that normally consists of 3-7 adults and 8-15 children. Families in our community find that they can save money by living with other family members. There are normally at least 3 generations living in one home. Many have 4 generations. We have a large number of children in our Church. We feel that God is trying to make an impact by changing the culture one child at a time.
Many of the families we deal with have little or no concept of who Jesus is. Alcoholism, incest, child abuse, wife abuse, drugs, gangs, poverty, and spiritualism are just a few of the obstacles we face on a day to day basis. Most of our members can barely afford to drive to Decatur for our services. In the past we could provide gas vouchers for 2 gallons worth of gas to those in the most dire need, but this became too much of a financial burden. In the past we also provided meals every Sunday. This also became a financial burden, and we have had to drop back to 1 meal a month. We have done back yard bible studies, basketball bible studies, and singings as part of our ministry. During the summer, we baptize in Turkey Creek. During the winter, we use a horse trough which we have converted into a baptismal. We also do an annual Bible Games that consists of “Paul’s Finish the Race Race”, Washers or Tali pilah (Choctaw version) , “Partners in the Lord, Three Legged Race”, “Sin Toss for Distance”, and the wildly popular “Manna Eating Contest”.
We have a strong core group in our church. We don’t do a membership role, but these people are faithful to come every Sunday and participate. We have one service on Sunday morning that runs from 1100 or so until 1200 or so. We don’t really watch the clock during our services. We also do Wednesday night study and prayer requests. We have many needs, but we have many blessings. God is good.
1. One of our biggest needs is encouragement and prayer. We often feel like we have PTSD from being in the trenches. Most of our core members have been spiritually assaulted. But, God is good, and we will hold.
2. Because of the nature of our ministry, we do not attract many mature Christians to our church. This is how we prefer it, but that means that certain ministries are lacking. We have no bus driver and no Youth Minister. Youth Ministry is a desperate need at our church. We have the younger kids covered well, but the youth and young adults need attention desperately.
3. We could use some sort of flooring in the “fellowship area”. The flooring would need to be spill and water resistant. At this time, we have bare concrete.
4. Our bus isn’t currently working. There seems to be a short in the electrical system. It won’t crank. If it did work, we would have to find someone to drive it, so we haven’t pushed the issue much.
5. There is no sound divide between the worship area and the classrooms. Since Children’s Church takes place during the worship service, this is an issue.
Click on image below to see a gallery of photos from Church Arise...