BY MELANIE BUCK –
A new church is being built just outside of Mena, and their members could not be more excited to break ground on their new home site. Lance Sawyer will serve as Pastor of Christ Community Fellowship and he says of his flock,” It’s the most positive group of people I’ve ever worked with. The enthusiasm level has been high from day one.”
Christ Community Fellowship currently meets at Mena Mountain Resort on Hwy. 71 North, just on the edge of Mena but the group has purchased 26 acres of land on Hwy. 88 East, just across the highway from the Ouachita Golf Course.
Church member Erma Mize was quick to point out the beautiful view of the mountains in the background of the new property and cannot wait to look at that view from the windows of their new church building.
Since February of 2015 the fellowship has been meeting at Mena Mountain Resort and are happy there, however, as Pastor Sawyer pointed out, it’s getting a bit crowded pointing out that a couple of Sunday’s ago there were 247 in attendance at church. “It’s almost like a party every Sunday morning, we get there at 10 a.m. and people bring breakfast foods and have a breakfast bar. Last week we had biscuits and gravy, French toast casserole, fruits, yogurt, and more. The cool and unique thing about it is we are eating and worshipping in the same room. There’s no disconnect, it’s not like they leave the ‘fun room’ and go, oh, we have to move on to the serious stuff now, it’s very comfortable,” said Sawyer. This is something that the church would like to continue in their new location. “About once every quarter, we’ll have a big dinner on the grounds and Larry Dunaway is a master bar-b-quer, he’s done brisket, fish, etc. It’s the most food I’ve ever seen. We do everything in the same room, so as soon as we finish the service, we have a crew of men that change it all around in five minutes, creating a multi-purpose room, giving us good ideas for our new facility.”
Sawyer explained that the atmosphere is very casual, a ‘come as you are,’ place. He said that some people wear shorts in the summertime and he really doesn’t know of anyone that wears a suit. The music is contemporary music, complete with a worship band, with sometimes two guitars, a harmonica, keyboard, and vocalists.
One church member said that “From when the meetings first began the excitement is like electricity in the air and we couldn’t help but wonder if it would last, and it has, every Sunday is a replay of that.”
“We continue seeing new faces every week, it’s exciting to see who’s going to show up and the people, many of the people say things like, ‘this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually ever enjoyed going to church. I look forward to it, I don’t have to be drug into it,” smiled Sawyer. “The people are spiritually renewed, I know I am.”
The new building will have a youth area, large nursery, large children’s department, and adult classrooms. “We want to eventually have things like hiking trails, 4-wheeler trails, softball field, shooting range, the possibilities are endless.
It’s not going to look like a traditional church. The main room will be used for worship service on Sunday morning, Wednesday night supper, and Bible study. Right now on Wednesday nights we have home Bible studies, they are strong and well attended with good fellowship,” Sawyer said. “This is a church for people who don’t like church. We want it to not be like what people are used to, very free. The people talk about feeling really free and they say they are developing relationships with fellow church members more than they have before. A lot of these people have known, or known of, each other all of their lives but are now becoming closer as a church family,” Sawyer explained.
“It’s a non-denominational church and I really want it to be inter-denominational. We want someone from any church background to be able to come in and feel comfortable.” Sawyer extended an invitation to anyone wishing to attend, “If they are looking for healthy relationships and inspiring services in a casual comfortable, environment, check out Christ Community Fellowship. If you want to get a feel for what the church will be like, all the services are available on our website in video or audio format, www.ccfmena.com.”