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Local Church excited about merger, new ministry opportunities

Community Outreach Ministries will soon see an influx of new faces thanks to a merger with One Refuge Church currently located in Hot Springs. The consolidation of ministries was recently announced by Pastor Josh Harper.

Josh and his wife Lori have been involved with Community Outreach Ministries from their first service held at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in 2011. Josh remembers how they quickly moved services to the Roosevelt Auditorium where every Sunday and Wednesday they had to set up and break down everything.

“It was all good. It was a great time.” He stated.

After about eight months at the Roosevelt the congregation moved into its current location at 159 North George Street in Mount Ida.

Josh served as Pastor at Community Outreach Ministries until he accepted the Pastoral call to One Refuge about two years ago. He recalled how difficult the decision was to make. Everything was great at Community Outreach, but after about six months of soul searching he decided that One Refuge was where he was supposed to be.

During his time at One Refuge the two churches fellowshipped and shared ministries. 

“We did church camp together and things like that.” Josh explained.

He admits that pastoring a church in Hot Springs brings it’s own set of challenges, but he was proud of the success they have had there.

Once again, the call to move came upon him. 

“This is my home, always has been.” Josh stated about Community Outreach Ministries.

After coming to the conclusion that he needed to move back to Community Outreach Ministries he began to discuss the next step for One Refuge with the members there. He recalled how they had discussed keeping two campuses and the two churches collaborating together with him as Pastor of both campuses. Ultimately, they decided the best thing to do was to merge into one church at one location.

“We’re all like minded in every way. It just made sense.” he shared.

Community Outreach Ministries has been an active force within the community of Mount Ida since its inception in 2011. Whether it be wild game suppers, or programs on the square they have worked hard to have a positive impact upon the community.

Josh said that they will continue to provide programs and ministry opportunities for the community.

He stated that the inclusion of his youth pastor, Brady Mount, will be a welcome addition to the ministry at Community Outreach Ministries. He stated that the church owns property on the outskirts of town that will be transformed into a youth center for the church.

Josh preached his last sermon as Pastor at One Refuge last Sunday and is proud to announce that the merger will take place March 1.

They aren’t waiting until then to get things rolling. They will host a revival featuring Gerald Crabb February 23-25. Crabb has authored several Gospel hits and is known as an inspirational speaker. Revival services will be held Sunday, February 23, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Services February 24 and 25 will be held at 7 p.m.

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