New Life Comes to Dermott, Arkansas
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The question came from Larry Moore, district superintendent of the Arkansas Assemblies of God.
“I thought I was serving at that time,” Cook says. “I was on the board and facilitating the men’s ministry at our parent church, New Life Assembly in Monticello, alongside Pastor Tim Parke. But I agreed to pray about God’s call on my life. Over the next couple of years, the Lord began dealing with me.”
Then an opportunity came when the Arkansas district gave New Life Monticello a building in Dermott, a rural, depressed community of about 2,300 mostly single-parent homes. The district also provided funds for renovation.
Parke had long hoped that New Life Monticello would become a church with a regional footprint, and God seemed to be opening the door for Dermott to be the next location.
The Cooks then followed God’s lead and accepted Parke’s invitation to become campus pastors in Dermott.
On Jan. 19, 2018, New Life Dermott had a soft launch with a three-pronged, missions-minded focus: Here, Near, Far, which includes participation in the community (here), outreach efforts within the state (near), and missions overseas (far).
“Then we held weekly Bible studies, established relationships, and did team building before and after the Bible studies to prepare for the April 1 Easter Day launch to the community,” Cook says. “We learned that few people in Dermott participate in social media; they connect better with face-to-face time.”
New Life Dermott attendance currently averages about 45–50; 98 people attended the Easter launch services.
The church dedicates the first Wednesday of each month to outreach. In May 2017, the church gave away $5,000 worth of gas. “We manned the pumps at local service stations and pumped gas for free till the money ran out,” Cook says. “We introduced people to Jesus and asked them if we could pray with them for any need. That outreach had a significant impact on the community.”
The congregation also reached out to the community through a “Sole to Soul” event, giving away 300 pairs of shoes to children. As parents and children came, church volunteers talked and prayed with them, washed the children’s feet, and gave them a new pair of tennis shoes. Church staff members later did follow-up on those who came.
“God is working in our congregation at New Life Assembly in Dermott, Arkansas, thanks to the generosity of AGTrust partners,” Cook states. “Tangible results of the investment may not be evident right now, but the results will be exponential in heaven. People are coming to Christ and their lives are being transformed and healed.”
To date 478 church plants across America have received Matching Funds provided by AGTrust, in partnership with Church Multiplication Network, to help them with start-up expenses.
*Chris Cook has an MBA in Operations Management and is pursuing ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God through Global University in Springfield, Missouri.