Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. Walmart, Tyson Foods, and J. B. Hunt are among the several major corporations located here which are drawing people from all over the country. Economic growth has produced diversity in this region that many would never have imagined. It is well known that the Hispanic population is a little over 30 percent. It is not as well known that it is home to one of the world’s largest Marshallese populations. Northwest Arkansas is also consistently listed as one of the best places to live, bringing retirees from all over the country. These factors alone ought to make us aware of the strategic importance of having a Reformed Church in this area.
We are a small congregation. We recently added two members bringing our total to fourteen (this will soon change again once Steve Carr and his family join). Steve Carr, as you may have read elsewhere, has been serving this congregation as stated supply since August of 2015, but will soon assume full duties as pastor after his ordination and installation on May 1, 2016.
During the Easter season we had a sermon series on various aspects relating to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After Easter we began a sermon series on the Gospel of Mark. Earlier this January we finished a Sunday school series on Spiritual Warfare and began a study of the Belgic Confession, which we will complete by mid-June. We will then begin a ten week study of the RCUS Constitution, looking especially at aspects peculiar to Reformed Church government and discipline. One other item proposed for study is the book Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson.
We had our first monthly hymn sing at the parsonage this past April 17th. We plan on having one every third Sunday evening of the month (except in May, which will be on the fourth Sunday). It was a wonderful time singing together and learning about each other by getting to know everyone’s favorites from the hymnal. Weather permitting, we hope to do this outside around a bonfire throughout the summer and fall.
Being a small congregation and being a Reformed church in a predominantly Baptist and Church of Christ area has its challenges. We lack resources that many of the larger churches have, and most people in this area have no idea what Reformed means. But we trust the words of Christ Who said, “He who is faithful in what is least, is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). We have been diligently praying that the Lord would provide us with the increase, and the Lord has already blessed us with two new members.
We are also praying that God would open doors of opportunity to evangelize in our community. We will be having a VBS this August, and it is our hope to begin a children’s club that meets weekly from September to April. We are also praying about and seeking other areas where we can do effective outreach in our area. As was mentioned above, we have a wonderful opportunity to evangelize those who are coming into our community for various reasons. Pray with us that God will use our small congregation for great things in Northwest Arkansas.
Rev. Steve Carr