LAGRANGE – Life doesn’t just happen on Sundays – and a small church in the smallest population center in the county is doing its best to be a part its community every day, not just on the Sabbath.
LaGrange Bible Church has been a part of its community for decades, but in recent years, Pastor Tom Harves said, it’s gone above and beyond to be a bigger part of the community as a whole, not just for church members.
“We do a good job reaching out instead of just reaching in,” Harves said.
“I think in the Midwest; the Bible plays an important role in the lives of all of those who are there. It’s kind of, in a sense, a part of the bible belt morally and ethically and all of those things that we’re known for. The bible plays an important role in all that.”
Harves said the church’s congregation is usually right around 160, which is a solid number in a town so small. It’s a non-denominational church, and isn’t associated with any other groups. Its focus, Harves said, is to serve
“For a community the size we are, that’s pretty good,” he said. “We take that as a blessing. We’re an independent Bible-believing church. Our desire is to minister to the community and have an impact with those we’re around.”
LaGrange Bible Church is able to make that impact thanks to a variety of services and fellowship groups. Harves said besides Sunday school and a sermon on Sunday morning, the church offers a Sunday night service, a Wednesday night prayer meeting, a youth group and respective groups for men and women. It’s most popular program, however, is Awana – a fun Bible curriculum geared towards children.
“It’s an excellent program,” Harves said. “They’ve improved it. We’ve got some amazing people working in it who really love the kids. We’ve worked hard at making sure it’s a really safe environment for the kids.
“We want it to be something they enjoy and want to be. We want them to feel comfortable with it and I think the people have done a wonderful job with that.”
One of the church’s focuses is on involving the community as a whole, not just the members of the church. To do this, LBC helps serve dinner at the town’s annual July 3 fireworks extravaganza, which is hosted by the LaGrange Volunteer Fire Department, and serves emergency personnel a steak dinner earlier that day to thank them for their service.
“We have a dinner for all of our emergency workers, a steak dinner,” Harves said. “It’s to say ‘thank you’ to them. We’re just so appreciative of all they do, as well. We do a lot of different things to try to reach out and minister.”
The church has special services throughout the year, as well, to commemorate Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other holidays.
We do some things to reach into the community,” Harves said. “We started it last year and everybody liked it so much we’re going to continue to do that.”
One new tradition the church has kickstarted is a watermelon feed. According to Harves, it features good food, games and, of course, an all-you-can-eat supply of watermelon.
“We open it up to anybody in the community,” Harves said. “We have hamburgers, hot dogs, and all of the watermelon you can eat. We have all of our games centered around that, which was a lot of fun.”
LaGrange Bible Church Sunday School begins at 9 a.m., with time for fellowship and snacks from 9:45 until 10 a.m. The church service begins at 10:15 a.m. For more information about LBS, contact Harves at (970) 846-2791.