Small churches in Farmington, N. Mex. are uniting to fight big problems: drugs, gang violence, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and racism.
One of those churches is Maranatha Christian Reformed Church. It joined other local congregations in August to host the first Four Corners Community Festival, with attractions that included low-cost games and food. The event raised money for the local crisis center and also showed the community how the body of Christ could work together for the local good.
Susan LaClear is the ministry associate who pastors Maranatha CRC. “We had an ‘extreme makeover’ tent where people could get their hair sprayed crazy colors and get fun nail polishes and face-painting,” she said. “But then there was a ‘heart makeover’ section where volunteers stationed themselves to pray for people. A lot of people came into the tent and requested prayer, and [the volunteers] led at least one to the Lord right there during the festival.”
LaClear said working together was a great experience. Volunteers enjoyed “giving to the community and showing that churches aren’t just little bodies that keep to themselves; they really do work together.”
Maranatha has also taken part over the past two years in monthly Sunday evening worship services with other congregations, at which considerable time is spent praying for the community, its residents, and their problems. Also involved in this effort are Baptist, Pentecostal, and Anglican churches, as well as nondenominational congregations whose members include people of many ethnicities.
Under the name United2Help, the churches have completed various community projects such as moving the Family Crisis Center into a new building and collecting food for a local food bank.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be,” LaClear said. “We can strengthen our weaknesses with somebody else’s strengths.”