New pastor shaking things up at Ocean Springs Church of Christ

NANCY BAKER FAUL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDOcean Springs Church of Christ, 1116 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs.
NANCY BAKER FAUL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDOcean Springs Church of Christ, 1116 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs.

Pastor Wade Bower came to the Ocean Springs Church of Christ in January and since then, changes have been taking place.

The church is remodeling much of its facility that was built in 1965 to 1966. Through the help of social media and word of mouth, the church that was first organized in 1954 is growing.

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Church volunteers have taken on the remodeling job, many of them spending three or more days a week doing carpentry, electrical work, painting and more.

Needless to say, the church congregation is service-minded, and almost everything that happens at the church and in their outreach is handled by church volunteers, including the position of church secretary, which is held by a volunteer.

Church members raised nearly $1 million in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and distributed the money to residents of Ocean Springs, St. Martin, Gautier and D'Iberville.

Bower, who has a degree in ministry from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., said the church members are future oriented and growth is a priority.

"My passion is to grow God's church," Bower said. "We have new folks coming every week. The future is bright here."

Bower should know about service to others. He served in the U.S. Army for four years and did tours in Afghanistan twice and in Kosovo as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne.

His office is covered in memorabilia and one-of-a-kind artwork dedicated to fallen soldiers.

The congregation sings a cappella at services, has a baptistery on site and is a source of food and comfort to needy people in the community.

Every Wednesday, member volunteers gather to pack boxes of food for the needy to be given away that day from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

Anyone in the Ocean Springs area can sign up for the free food pantry by bringing identification for approval during pantry hours.

The AWAKE Children's Ministry and the Pipeline Student Ministry are involved in many service projects as well as Bible study.

For women, the church has Sisters of the Skillet, and the men's ministry is called Brothers of the BBQ.

Seniors often meet at the church Monday, Wednesday and Friday for various community-related service projects.

The church accepts building supplies or gift cards to local building supply stores or grocery outlets to assist in their efforts to remodel and serve the community. Call the church for information on partnering with them.