RealLife Church pastor Mark Everett says his ministry puts the Bible into "real life" practice and sees the lives of people change dramatically.
On the morning of Aug. 24, the church held its regular service at the Marine Park pavilion instead of at the usual indoor location. With the wind blowing and the rain spitting characteristically, they used their personal vehicles to haul folding chairs, musical equipment and decorative banners to the pavilion, set them up, and held a church service for several of Juneau's homeless and a few interested tourists.
One man in particular, Jason Black, a self-declared hardened alcoholic who'd been living on the streets of Juneau for more than six months, was in attendance. He was moved by the willingness and compassion of these Jesus-followers, so much so that he renewed his determination to stop drinking once and for all.
Shortly after the service, Black sought alcohol recovery treatment, contacted his family in Washington, traveled there by ferry soon thereafter and was reconciled to them after several years of absence. He now has his old job as a heavy construction worker back and just visited his 3-year-old granddaughter for the first time. He has not had a drink since that service in August.
"That church service was the best thing to happen to me in six months," said Black, "It really helped me turn things around. I owe these people everything."
"In the scriptures, Jesus taught that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another. We aim to put that into practice," Everett said. "What better way to demonstrate our love than to live self-sacrificially as He taught. So we've shifted our emphasis and energy to needs outside the church as a means of growing as Christians inside the church."
RealLife focuses on providing Christians with discipleship opportunities by serving others through its slogan, "Faith at work." The ministry leads others in what Everett calls, "discipleship by doing and discipleship by daring." Everett adds, "To grow, we need to get out of our comfort zone - that's the 'doing'. We need to risk changing our fallen nature - that's the 'daring.'"
"Our congregation has ministered through the Gastineau Human Services halfway house, the Glory Hole, Love INC (In the Name of Christ), and directly to deserving families last Christmas as well as those affected by last year's apartment fire downtown," said Everett. The church is continually looking for new opportunities to serve individuals, the community, and other churches as well. "Right now we're looking into ministering to those in in-home hospice care."
RealLife is a Juneau congregation affiliated with the Foursquare Church, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, Cal. It meets at 10 a.m. every Sunday at 9359 Turn Street in the Mendenhall Valley. Everett and his wife and co-pastor, Tillia, can be reached at 789-5433.
More information is available at www.reallifefoursquare.org. The site includes links to the parent church, its mission and daily "Faith at Work Today" devotional studies.
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