West Point UPC “Doing Life Together”
Located in the Ozark foothills on the bank of the Current River, the city of Doniphan, Missouri is not only a great place to visit but also a great place to call home. It’s a small, quaint town whose main attraction is the stunning, crystal clear river that winds through the beautiful Ozark landscapes.
Located about 1/4 mile down E Highway just off 142 East is another landmark in Doniphan: West Point United Pentecostal Church, pastored by Bro. Chuck Carr. With vibrant worship, passionate preaching and a heart for revival, West Point UPC is not only a great place to visit but also a great place to raise a family and to call home.
“My family and I are honored to serve the people and the community of Doniphan,” said Pastor Carr. “We are excited about what God is doing here. If you are ever in the area, we would love for you to stop by and worship with us. It would be an honor to have you as our guest.”
Principles of Growth and Revival
While there are many components to church growth, Bro. Carr believes that the key to having a growing church is to create and maintain an Apostolic culture. “You can’t have true revival without truth, because the truth makes us free,” he said. “I believe the formula for this is found in Acts 2:42-47.
1. They continued in fellowship, breaking bread from house to house. If you’re not doing life together and inviting others into your circle of fellowship, there is no path for assimilation. Assimilation happens in the context of relationship. Discipleship without fellowship is, in most cases, ineffective.
2. Daily personal prayer — as a lifestyle, not just an event. Staying plugged in to the mind of the Spirit produces the byproduct of unity and causes us not to ask amiss. Public prayer without private prayer equals powerless prayer. Those who pray in secret will be rewarded openly.
3. Wonders and Signs: It is our accreditation (Acts 2:22). The supernatural validates the Word of God and provides proof to those who distrust that the Bible is true (Mark 2:9-11).
4. All that believed were together in one accord with singleness of heart. Unity is imperative.
5. They sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Selfishness must be crucified, and generosity must be embraced. God told Abraham that He would make his name great and increase his descendants until they couldn’t be numbered, but Abraham was supposed to focus on just being a blessing. Compassion must be what motivates us. Nothing testifies that we are His disciples more than when we demonstrate love without and within.
6. Gladness: Nobody wants what we’re not happy to have.
7. Praising God: Praise is not just something we do at church. We must be continually shewing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! Everybody should be telling their story and looking for opportunities to testify about the goodness of the Lord.
8. Favor with all the people: Separation is not isolation. Without influence, you have no ministry. Without relationship, you have no influence. The strength of your relationship is determined by how you treat people. You can’t expect to affect those you haven’t taken the time to connect with nor should you expect to influence those you have not treated kindly and respectfully. Kindness and respect does not mean we compromise our doctrine. You can stand for truth without being rude. The more favor we have, the more opportunities we will have to minister. We must be intentional and aware that everything we do, including the tip we leave at the table and how we treat the waitress, is determining how much favor and influence we will have.
9. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Increase is God’s department, not ours.
Pastor Carr grew up in Southern Illinois, was raised in church and received the Holy Ghost at the age of six. “I felt the call to ministry at the age of 17 but didn’t fully embrace it until my final year at Indiana Bible College,” he said. “I’ll never forget a spontaneous prayer meeting that happened in Bro. Jim Sleeva’s room (college dorm dad) or the prophetic confirmation of my call to ministry delivered directly and undeniably to me by Bro. Darrell Johns. That story would be an article in itself. Amazing! I’ll always be grateful to his sensitivity and obedience to God’s voice. My dad pastored throughout my entire life. His gentle and humble spirit and his unconditional love for people has modeled for me what a pastor’s heart should resemble. I still haven’t attained that but I continue to press toward that mark.”
Bro. Carr graduated from IBC in 1992, assisted his father beginning in 1994, and was elected pastor in 2002 in the midst of a building project. He is the former district youth president and is currently Section 5 presbyter of the Missouri district. He enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Misty, have three children: Reagan, Krystian and Zaine. In addition to family time, he loves to garden and spend time working with Aquaponics.
Pastor Carr’s guiding principles are found in Micah 5-7 and I Corinthians 13, and his pastoral focus is prayer. “Prayer must always be a priority,” he said. “Walking with God is the most important function of the pastor. Time with the Lord must be protected. Spending time with God will increase your effectiveness, not limit you from getting things done.”
West Point UPC has created many ways throughout the years to reach people within their community and connect them with their many ministries. Outreach events such as block parties, children’s festivals, prayer canvasing, and community hope and healing crusades have been a success. “We also conduct a Christmas Dinner Theater for two weeks in December that draws over 3,500 people,” said Bro. Carr. “However, the most effective evangelism method we have is lifestyle evangelism — keeping people focused and committed to the Great Commission and looking for opportunities to minister to family, friends and even strangers. We call it the ‘as you go’ principle found in Matthew 10:7-8, ‘And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.’ As a result, we have seen 127 baptized with the Holy Ghost in the last 16 months and close to 100 have been baptized in Jesus name.”
West Point UPC conducts quarterly organized outreach to keep evangelism fresh on everyone’s mind but most evangelism happens organically. “Our assimilation process is designed to connect people to ministry at completion, but our ministry leaders are constantly recruiting,” explained Pastor Carr. “We build into each ministry temporary involvement opportunities. It allows people to serve in different capacities and helps both them and us to further discover their gifts and strengths.”
Organization and Management
With a large and diverse variety of ministries and projects in the church organization, communication and management is vital to keeping everyone on the same page and working together to accomplish their vision. “Every leader has a job description,” said Pastor Carr. “They do not have monthly reports to hand in; however, we do tag in and review monthly. I also meet weekly with my full-time staff and once a month with my entire ministry team. We have also had yearly planning retreats, sent staff to training, and done in-house training as well.”
The saints of West Point UPC have witnessed many miracles and continue to give God the glory and praise for touching so many lives. “We’ve had deaf ears opened, and one lady suffering from lupus actually spit up a black mass while being prayed for and was immediately healed,” said the pastor. “Cancers have also miraculously disappeared. One lady who attends our church suffered severely from multiple sclerosis (MS). She was confined to a wheelchair and was blind. God completely healed her and she was raised out of her wheelchair, had her sight restored and there is no trace of MS in her body. She has no lingering limitations and is in perfect health.”
According to Pastor Carr, the church has an 800-seat sanctuary that was built and completed in 2003. “We use the upper level of our old sanctuary as a Youth Center (student café, game room and youth sanctuary) and the lower level houses and facilitates our children’s ministry,” he explained. “We also have a school and gymnasium, and our goal is to build an education wing once we eliminate our debt. Shortly after we moved into our new building in 2003, we broke the 200 barrier. Several years ago, we broke the 300 barrier and last Easter we had 600 in attendance. God is continuing to bless, and we are continuing to see growth.”
West Point UPC is a community church, building relationships with everyone, and their plan for the future is to continue to develop those relationships in order to minister to everyone that they can. “We are preparing to be a blessing and a place of refuge for those that are hungry to see a move of God in their life,” said Pastor Carr. “Our goal is to have a regional impact and to be a revival center for our entire area.”