Something I get to do in my job that I always enjoy is hearing about churches’ discipleship endeavors. I’m inspired to hear how God is using our people to reach others with the gospel.
Recently I read a report from the pastor of a small church in the small town of Glen, Mississippi. The church has a quaint and distinctive personality – rich in heritage, tradition and an epic sense of community.
Indian Spring United Methodist Church has been called “First Church of the Misfits,” a sobriquet they proudly embrace.
Several years ago, during a planning session for the establishment of a faith-based drug rehabilitation center to be based in an old elementary school building, the CEO of the center, a pastor of a large Assembly of God church in nearby Corinth, Miss., referred to Indian Springs as “First Church of the Misfits.” This was not said as an insult, quite the contrary!
I don’t know of any other church in the area that would open their doors wide for the broken, the sick, the marginalized, and the cast out ...
“I don’t know of any other church in the area that would open their doors wide for the broken, the sick, the marginalized, and the cast out,” the pastor said.
“We wear that designation as a badge of honor,” said Indian Springs pastor the Rev. Rick Wells. “We’re proud of it!”
So, what makes Indian Springs a church like that? Wells said it is the church’s absolute commitment to the leadership of and submission to the Holy Spirit.
He said they take the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 very seriously: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Indian Springs realizes that there are no boundaries or limitations to the possibilities of ministry if the Holy Spirit is allowed to lead.
The church’s discipleship emphasis leads to outreach beyond the denomination.
Only about 15 percent of the church’s members were “born and raised” Methodists, but the church enthusiastically embraces the Wesleyan tradition. Their membership comes from people with no church background to a cross section of Christian denominations. This, according to Wells, encourages a robust worship.
Their emphasis on discipleship has taken this church of fewer than 100 members to embrace social media as a ministry tool. They use Facebook to shoot a live feed of every worship service and special event. They also use social media for a daily devotional, community news and church announcements. Wells said the community has embraced the live feeds. They typically have about 150-plus domestic viewers during the Sunday morning live feed. Even more with international views.
Rev. Wells said he feels blessed to be pastor of Indian Springs.
Indian Springs is a very loving congregation. They welcome everyone regardless of past or present status. The congregation is committed to training the future leaders of the church and strive to work ourselves out of a job.
“Indian Springs is a very loving congregation,” he said. “They welcome everyone regardless of past or present status. The congregation is committed to training the future leaders of the church and strive to work ourselves out of a job. We understand that sin is a vile state, dragging God’s children into misery and turmoil. Therefore, it is not our place to judge, but it is our place to provide an environment where the sinner can come, find the abundant, marvelous and amazing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indian Springs is committed not to be a social club for the redeemed, but a level one intensive care hospital for the sinner!”