In a small town of only 1,000 people in Texas, God is using individuals to love the community of Powderly. They strive to reach the lost and show them the love and restoration work of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Chris Kelley
Impact Eternity / Stories
June 1, 2023
In 1977, the doors of a small cemetery chapel were opened for the community. James and Lynn Sparks had been hosting Bible studies in their home, and the small group decided to begin holding regular services. This was the beginning of the Gospel Lighthouse PCG in Powderly, Texas. Amazingly, a 3.5 acre plot of land on Highway 271 had been donated to the church, so construction of anew building began promptly. That year they built, they preached, they witnessed, they loved, and they worshipped. In April 1978, they moved into this new building under a mission that continues to be the heartbeat of the church today: “For the glory of God and for the winning of souls”. Every effort, every ministry, every meeting, every outreach would exist for this purpose, and Pastors James and Lynn Sparks served faithfully under that mission for 30 years. During that time, many souls were brought into the Kingdom and the church became known in the community as a safe haven that expressed God’s love for all people.
In 2007, the Sparks retired from the pastorate and Chris and Faith Kelley were chosen to lead the church. With the same heart for the lost, the Kelley’s communicated the same mission in reimagined language: “Reach, Love, Disciple, Send.” Reach the lost, love God and love people, disciple the believer, send the empowered. In recent years, great emphasis has been placed on the truth that every believer is a minister, and the church has operated with the belief that the most effective way to reach the lost involves training, intentionality, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Every believer must be empowered to reach the lost, the broken, and the hurting regardless of whether they are in the marketplace or at the workplace, at ball games or school events, in their homes or at church. Reaching the lost and inviting people into the family of God is not a once a week or once a month event; it must be what we do every day. It must be the church’s culture.
In April 2023, the Gospel Lighthouse family dedicated a new 16,000 sq/ft addition to their campus which includes a sanctuary that seats 425. Now, Powderly, TX is a small town with a population of only 1,000; but God is saving souls, healing broken lives, restoring marriages and families, breaking strongholds of addiction, and bringing freedom to the captives, all because a group of people has committed themselves to being missional for the glory of God.
We love the story that God has been writing at the Gospel Lighthouse PCG for the last 47 years, and we love the story He continues to write. But truthfully, our story is still being written as it is ultimately made up of many individual redemption stories, a few of which are shared below.
Colby and Chelsie lived much of their 20s in darkness and addiction. In moments of clarity, they would see the brokenness they were living in and the pain they were inflicting on their children and have intention to change. Unsurprisingly, these intentions led to many broken promises and greater darkness.
In 2019, Chelsie was arrested and sent to Bowie County Women’s Center for 12 months. While there, Chelsie surrendered her heart to the Lord. She was discipled through letters from her grandmother, Lynn Sparks, as well as letters from Pastor Faith. At the end of that time, she came home grounded in her faith and ready to serve God. Unfortunately, Colby’s heart remained hard and deceived, and he continued to live in addiction until he too was arrested in 2021. Amazingly, during his 2-month sentence, he also turned to God, and his life became new.
Today, Colby, Chelsie, and their children are faithfully serving God together! They are vital pieces of the ministry of the Gospel Lighthouse and are both pursuing a call of God to ministry. Praise God for his faithfulness and for the seeds that were planted by the Gospel Lighthouse family!
Quenten was addicted to drugs for many years. Addictive behaviors overtook him in a way that caused him to be an untrustworthy husband, dad, and son. In 2007, Quenten was arrested and sent to prison, where he remained incarcerated until 2015. Early in his imprisonment, however, Quenten gave his life to Christ!
Colleen came to the Gospel Lighthouse as a very broken young lady. She was living in addiction as well, but she also battled the emotional and physical traumas resulting from the violently abusive relationships that she had experienced in her past. But in 2014, Colleen surrendered her life to Christ, becoming a new creation! Ladies in the church opened their lives up to Colleen and discipled her into a committed follower of Christ.
Upon Quenten’s release from prison in 2015, he began attending the Gospel Lighthouse with his parents, finding in the process a church family that would not judge a person by their past but would instead believe what God says about them. In 2018, Quenten and Colleen were united in marriage. They are now representing Christ to their blended family brought together from previous marriages and raising their own four year old son, Quenten Jr., who wants to be a preacher when he grows up.
Micah and Shawnda had married young and were eventually blessed with three beautiful girls. Both Micah and Shawnda grew up with parents or grandparents who had taught them to serve God, but instead of choosing God’s path, they chose their own. Over time, each individually reached their own place of confusion, deception, and brokenness. They admit that even in this time there was still love in their hearts for one another, and they desired the best for their children, but by every stretch of their imagination, the hurts and wounds seemed too great to overcome. They divorced.
On Father’s Day of 2013, friends of Micah and Shawnda invited each of them and their three girls to visit Gospel Lighthouse. When the altar call was given, Micah and Shawnda both responded, and tears puddled on the floor as they turned their hearts to Christ! In the car after service, even before they pulled out of the parking lot, Micah apologized to Shawnda and the girls for not being a godly leader for their family and made a commitment to do his very best to be that godly leader. Four months later they were reunited in marriage! Today, Micah, Shawnda, their three girls, their son-in-law, and their two grandbabies serve God together as part of the Gospel Lighthouse family.
We know that redemption stories are not unique to just the Gospel Lighthouse. We know that every ministry and every church has stories to tell. But let us avoid the tendency to minimize stories in our abundance and instead celebrate because of that abundance! God is still doing the miraculous; may we never grow accustomed to it.
If God’s mission of reaching the lost truly becomes our mission and the core of our Christian culture, then God will certainly continue writing these wonderful stories of redemption and restoration.
We are excited about the stories that God will continue to write at the Gospel Lighthouse as we continue to create and develop a missional culture. Our goal is to continue to teach and inspire one another to reach the lost through personal relationships and evangelism, through outreaches such as our community food handout, through youth worship nights at the local high school (where 22 teenagers were saved in February), through homeless outreaches in a nearby city, and by simply inviting unchurched people to church. God’s promise is this: If we will be missional, He will use us to make an eternal impact.
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