EXPERIENCING THE (LOCAL) CHURCH-WRITER GAIL MARVEL VISITS THE ROAD HOME

Speaking to the disciples of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see …” (Matt 11:4 NIV).

By Gail Marvel

MONTROSE-My visit to The Road Home church took place on March 15, 2015. This church derives its name from the story of the Prodigal Son who, once he came to his senses, took the road home to his father, “So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 NIV).

The ministry for this church began with a focus on the homeless. However, because the needs of the disadvantaged are now well met through organizations such as Sharing Ministries, Christ’s Kitchen, and MADA, the church is seeking God’s direction on taking the Gospel to bikers.

I took my seat in the back of the auditorium, but as people filtered in and sat behind me I found myself sitting alone in the front row. There were about 25 present and while they visited amongst themselves, it was assistant pastor Ed Douglas who introduced himself. Pastor Ed Sparks emerged from a side room where he was warming up on his guitar and we visited for a few moments before the service started. Motioning to a small offering box hanging next to the front door Pastor Sparks said, “We don’t pass an offering plate. God always supplies all of our needs.” The church is in its seventh year and their rented building is now under contract. The pastor shrugged and said, “It’s been under contract six times before and we’re still here. God always provides.”

This congregation celebrates communion on the first Sunday of the month and their fully-equipped baptismal is neatly concealed under the platform. Their fellowship includes Bible studies, youth group, potlucks and men’s breakfasts.

Pastor Sparks, who describes his style as preaching a simple Gospel, opened the worship service saying, “OK, you guys ready to have church?” Sheets of music placed manually on the overhead projector included praise songs as well as the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace.” In his opening prayer the pastor said, “Lord, we’re not asking for anything in return, we’re just here to worship you.”

The pastor chuckled about his long-running sermon series from the Gospel of John — so far they’ve made it to chapter three. “Jesus didn’t save us by his love, He saved us by his death! Do you understand that, according to the Bible, there is no other way to be saved?”

Using a personal experience Pastor Sparks told of a man getting angry with him. “He accepted my faith in Jesus, and in turn felt I should accept his faith [astrological signs]. He was mad when I didn’t. In the world today we’re taught that everyone is OK. Christianity boils down to whether or not you believe in Jesus. You have to receive Jesus to be a child of God.”

Using the example of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden (Genesis) the pastor reminded worshippers that everyone, just like Adam and Eve, makes a choice. “They only had one command, don’t eat from the tree. They were free to choose not to eat, but the tree had more value than God.”

“Today’s society allows black and white to become grey. We [Christians] are not in the middle of dark and light; we’re either in darkness, or in the light. The Light’s name is Jesus.”

Contact information:

The Road Home

831 North Selig

Montrose, CO 81401

970-275-4632