Church proves setting less important than sentiment

Published 6:57 pm Sunday, January 11, 2015

Randy Travis’s voice crooning “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling oh, sinner, come home” floats through the air. And the cowboy hats, jeans and boots that most of the folks are wearing make this church seem a little different from the traditional churches that many may be accustomed to. This and the fact these believers meet in an open-air barn.

Poplarville, Miss., is home to the Barn Church. What started simply as Buddy Moody and a couple of others sitting on a bail of hay and praying together almost 10 years ago has grown and grown. There was never a plan to form a church, but first one, then another just came to share their prayer needs and pray for others.

The group continued to grow and started to meet on Sunday mornings. Now the Barn Church has service not only on Sunday mornings, but on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, as well. Every month they hold a service with people coming from miles around to receive food for the spirit and the body. They have truckloads of donated food and see to it that people don’t go home empty handed. The people at the Barn Church believe that helping people who are down on their luck is a way of sharing the love of Christ.

Before services begin, the men meet in a room adjacent to the barn and pray for the Holy Spirit to freely move and lead the group in worship. There is no order of service. The comfortable easy atmosphere encourages participation. Little children read scripture or share a song right along with the adults. If anyone in attendance has something to say, they make their way to the front and tell the group what’s in their heart.

After singing, scripture reading and sharing from the group, the pastor, Jeff Easterling, brings a message. An invitation is given for anyone who is in need of prayer or just wants to talk to someone about his or her spiritual or physical needs.

The Barn Church reaches out with the love of Jesus Christ. There are no committees, and no one votes on who can receive help.

According to Jan Gibson, who attends the Barn Church, “I used to think about how dusty it is in here and that I might be getting my jeans dirty, but I tell you I would rather be in a dirty old barn and feel the love of Christ for all us misfits. You know everybody has trouble sometimes. It doesn’t matter what a person looks like or whether they are rich or poor. We all need the love of Christ. That’s what I love about the Barn Church — everyone is welcome and accepted here.

“A week or two ago a man who had been homeless asked for prayer as the men prayed before service. They didn’t have to go to a committee or talk it over. The Spirit moved one of the fellows to take off his cowboy hat and place it in the center of the group. Soon it was filled with money to help this man get back on his feet. What a blessing it is to be a part of a body of believers who love the Lord and each other so much.”

The Barn Church is located at the Moody farm, 101 U.S. Highway 11 North, Poplarville. Sunday morning service begins at 10:30 a.m., and evening service begins at 5 p.m.