The current June 2016
It was July of 1999 that I received a phone call to go and “fill” in for a morning service at an old Post office in a place called Carrollton, of Isle of Wight County VA. My wife Amanda and I (married then for 3 years) along with our children, Mason (was 19 months old) and Elizabeth (was only 1 month old) went and ministered to eight people in a very small post office building. We loved on the people and thought we would not see those few again. As we drove home, my phone rang and asked could we fill in a second week as the church was potentially going to cease to operate soon as no one was willing to go there. We went the next week and after the service felt the nudging of the Lord to go. Of course this is but a summation of the story in the beginning. My wife and I, both 22, newly married and newly parenting, stepped in and began a journey with hurting people that we had no idea the things that would open up and happen these last almost 17 years. I must pause and give a short story here. During our first 6 months in the Post office, we had a service where I felt the Lord speaking to me to lift the blinds at the windows and tell the few folks that we had to “speak and prophesy to the cornfields for out of them will come your harvest”. I KNOW, it sounds crazy and I thought so too. It is also important to note that the post office building was surrounded by cornfields. I thought how on earth could this be God and what were we hearing. Three months later we had an evangelist friend of mine, Dr. Paul Edgerton, come in to preach. In the middle of his message he pauses and says, “the Lord says to remind you of the words of your pastor, Speak and prophesy to the cornfields for out of it will come your harvest”. As you can imagine, I was weeping and didn’t have a clue! Almost a year later we were driving on the main roads here in our county which is down from the property the church now has, and saw giant signs in the front of all the cornfields at the road. Hundreds of Acres of CORNFIELDS were being rezoned and sold and now there are over 1500 new homes, shopping centers, 400+ apartments and much more coming. God is truly amazing!
From the post office we moved into the Ruritan Club across the street. Filled with the scent of vinegar and fish fry we would set up every week for service, Sunday’s only as a Wednesday venue was not available. We, during this time, had begun to cast vision for a place of healing. The Church then, the Smithfield Church of God, was about to embark on a new journey that would change the course of many including me. We felt as if the Lord was dealing with our hearts to rename the church, I know so many say that right? The land we were purchasing was not in Smithfield and a Carrollton Church of God was in existence at that time. So we began to cast vision for a place where the total family can come and be healed, made whole and find a place to catch their breath from the craziness of this life. The hurting in both the world and the church would be the mandate.
The name was changed to Healing Waters Worship Center, while we were in the Ruritan Club. We sat in a business meeting and were approving (all 16 adults at this time in 2001) the financing that would be required for the church to build. The doors of the Ruritan Hall swing open, the smell of alcohol fills the room as a hurting man comes stumbling into the room, he is intoxicated. He looks around, visibly in distress, and finally comes to sit. As a young pastor what do I say? How do I react? We are in a business meeting right? So I asked for any further discussion and this man raises his hand. Do I call on him? What will he say? The awkward silence filled the room as all eyes looked to me to see what I would do. Upon addressing the man, he stood, and began to cry relaying the broken condition of his life and family due to alcoholism in his life and his condition because several other churches wouldn’t pay him any attention. I froze the business session and asked him to come to me. My new white dress shirt became soiled with his sobbing, I held him as he cried. I too wept over his soul and his condition. The first hurting person had walked into the newly formed Healing Waters Worship Center. He gave his life to the Lord, was healed and sobered up that day. He was restored with his family, obtained a job and has now moved with employment and family to another state. It was there that God tested the heart of the ministry and from then on things started moving rapidly.
In 2004 we built the main facility on 5 acres. The building would hold 220 full. We moved in with 27 people, including children. God is amazing! Today we have over 300 that come to Healing Waters Worship Center and we have over 25 different venues of ministry. We offer support groups for a variety of needs, a food ministry that feeds over 250 people in our community each month and have literally begun to run out of space. We purchased more property right next to the church giving us a total of 11+ acres to date. I could share many statistics of the last almost 17 years as God has been faithful.
Our vision is to be a place of healing for the total family in our community and surrounding areas by ministering to the total family, physically, mentally and spiritually. From worship services to weekly power team meetings or support groups or from feeding large numbers of people, it is a humbling thing to see all that only God has done. We have seen so many miracles here. We have seen marriages restored that were severely broken. We have watched the hurting in mind, body and soul come to a place where we embrace them where they are. We enhance them by equipping them through discipleship, worship and accountability; thus adding value to them as fellow Christians. Then we empower these believers through the gospel of Jesus Christ to be HIS hands to serve. Whether physical healing or severely oppressed and drug addicted individuals being set free or seeing children with no father’s being mentored and finding hope in strength to adults that have lost their children, God has truly done a healing miracle here.
The amazing thing is that God took a church, established in 1979, that had formerly been very transient in the county and established us in a place. He took a place that ministers had written off and some ministers even said, “nothing good will ever come out of that place if you go” (I am sure they meant well) and made a place where God’s goodness flows daily, He took a broken place, a broken people, healed them and now uses us as a place of healing. A place where no mater where you are, what you are carrying or how you are struggling, you can come to a place where there are no strangers it’s just family and find hope and a moment to catch your breath.
We now have two full time pastors on staff, two part time and one as a volunteer, 40 – 45 leaders and workers combined. We have added smaller buildings to facilitate kid’s ministries and are over crowded already. Our vision is to build a multi ministry model that addresses the mental health challenges of our time while providing real and relevant ministry to the broken furthering the cause of ministry to the total family. Having completed almost 17 years now we have seen many lives changed including our own. We have come to realize that in a broken world we all are wounded healers bearing the message of hope beyond our pain. To God be all the glory for what has become Healing Waters Worship Center in Carrollton VA.