God can do a lot with a little – something that Jesus demonstrated for us during his ministry time and time again. Open Arms had meager beginnings, with just a handful of committed hearts and a vision to work with. They set to work right away, seeking God to send the right pastor – one who would take hold of the mission, and work to bring lost souls to this fledgling church family.
Before worship gatherings had even started at the Wayne County Fair Grounds, construction was already underway on the facility. Originally started as Bethlehem Lutheran Church, loans had been secured to purchase land and start construction on the facility that would house the Open Arms Child Development Center, a ministry central to the mission of the church.
On Easter in 2003, the new facility was dedicated with a celebration worship service. A little over a month later, the first family received daycare – in the pastor’s own house, because the facility was not up and running yet. Bethlehem was renamed Open Arms Lutheran Church to avoid confusion, and the ministry grew quickly. By 2004, enrollment and interest in the child care center made it necessary to expand the brand new building. Two additional wings were added with eight classrooms, adding to the original four.
Many families in the child care responded to the invitation to join the new church, and remain members today. Many others were instrumental to God in getting Open Arms started, and have since been called to new places. The mission remains the same. Open Arms will always be committed to the mission of serving the people of our community, sharing Jesus’ unconditional love, and equipping and sending our members to make following Jesus our Savior a desire of all who we meet.