After a little over eight years Joel and Kimberlee Morris are leaving the Outback of Assembly of God Church in Lakeview to go to the Sandy Assembly of God Church in Sandy. Their last service in Lakeview will be Sunday, Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m. with a potluck afterward.
“The Lord spoke to our heats that it was time to wrap up our time in Lakeview,” said Kimberlee.
Joel said he began hearing from the Lord in January that it was becoming time to move on from Lakeview, and move to a different ministry. At about the same time this was happening, a position was opening up at the Sandy Assembly of God Church as their pastor was moving to Norway to do mission work.
The couple said the new opportunity in Sandy, which is a larger congregation with staff handling different ministry roles, will be a change for them.
“When we began in Lakeview eight and a half years ago we asked the Lord how long will we be here, and He did not say anything. He said don’t worry about the time here, invest yourselves in the community and when the time is right you will not have to look for your next ministry, it will come to you,” said Kimberlee.
In their previous ministries the couple both talked to the Lord about how long they should stay and they said each time the Lord gave them more specific time frames of how long they would be at those ministries before they moved on.
The couple said that people within the Assemblies of God ministry approached them earlier this year about taking the lead pastor position at Sandy, the position Joel will hold. He said he and his family have the skills and passion needed to help the church in Sandy move forward within the community.
Joel said the members of Sandy Assembly of God are already excited about the entire family coming to the area and helping drive forward the different ministries of the Sandy Assembly of God. The couple said that they are going to bring their technological talent, such as website design and video work to expand the reach and message of the Sandy Assembly of God. Kimberlee said several members of the congregation are volunteering to help out and learn about video production and the like, even though they do not have the experience.
“This will be a definite change for us. It will be more like when we worked in Spokane. Not everything will be dependent on our family,” said Joel.
One of the things about the Sandy Assembly of God Church is that there is more staff than there is at the Outback Assembly of God Church. This means the Morris family won’t have to wear so many different hats and lead the different ministries such as: youth, children, Women’s Bible Study, and more. In Sandy there are different people who lead those ministries and Joel will be overseeing everything. The Sandy Assembly of God has about 400 congregants, while the Outback Assembly of God has about 60.
Kimberlee said the Sandy Church has many of the same strengths as the Lakeview Church — Biblical discipleship and supporting missionaries. Joel said the Sandy Church not only sends people on missions, they also support many missionaries financially, which is something the Outback Assembly of God has grown into over the time Joel and Kimberlee have been leading the congregation.
“I have a vision for Sandy and it is a lot like Lakeview, but on a larger scale. I want to grow the different ministries that we have and work with the team on developing their ministries and growing in their positions,” said Joel.
One of the things they look forward to in Sandy is having interns learning how to be pastors in the Assembly of God churches. One of the struggles with being the lead pastor at a church in rural communities is that it is difficult to have interns come out for periods of time. The couple said they look forward to leading the interns through their discipleship and worship.
Over the years the couple have started new ministries in Lakeview. This has included women’s Bible studies, which has drawn in hundreds of women over the years from many different Christian faiths to study different books of the Bible together. The Superbook Club, a youth group, paid off the mortgage to the Outback Assembly of God building, worked on many different renovation projects inside and outside of the building over the years and more.
Pastors Jerry and Lesa Elrod, experienced Assembly of God pastors, will take over pastoring duties on an interim basis until a permanent pastor is chosen.
“We love Lakeview. We are so thankful to this community and all the love and support the people have shown to us over the years. We have laugh, cried, prayed and buried members of the community together. Wherever we went we always bragged about Lakeview and what a wonderful community it is. We will miss Lakeview,” said Joel and Kimberlee. “We invite everyone in the community to our final service.”
For more information call 541-947-2520.
The Outback Assembly of God is located at 1014 Center St., Lakeview.