MISSION, CHURCH OF THE VALLEY PARTNERSHIP CONTINUES TO FLOURISH
Restoring lives and creating a place of refuge and healing in the greater Victorville area could be an impossible task, but with partners like Church of the Valley, lives are being changed. The church’s pastor, Joel Brantner, said he appreciates teaming up with the Mission to share the Gospel. “We are all part of the body of Christ,” he said. “This is where sustainability happens, where change happens.”
The relationship between the Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley and Church of Valley began through the shower ministry. Each Friday, the shower trailer pulls into the parking lot of the church bringing more than just shampoo and warm water—there is hope and renewal. Rivets Roberts sets up the showers, and with the help of Karen Pepmeyer and the selfless congregants of the church, meals, showers, socks, and toiletries are also provided.
"Our church is a place where they can volunteer and seek ministry positions.”
Meeting physical needs gives Pastor Joel and the volunteers the “opportunity to talk about Jesus,” he said. “We have tables set up and we are waiting and wanting to pray with them. We tell them about the Rescue Mission, and some have received help. We agree with the Mission, the boundaries they have in place, and encourage them to talk with graduates of the program and refer them to John Schmidt (the Mission’s program manager).”
Church of the Valley not only reaches their community with the shower ministry, but many of the Mission’s program clients attend church there each week. “Most of our clients attend there and have chosen the church as their home congregation,” said John. “Numerous clients have been baptized there and they have hosted our client graduations.”
As relationships began to form and grow through regular attendance, Pastor Joel began mentoring a few of the men from the Mission. “They wanted to be baptized, so we discipled them and talked with them about baptism,” he said. “Their faith began to grow and that grew into mentoring.”
Often, program graduates develop an interest in ministry. “These guys are wanting to discern the call to ministry, and we provide the platform for them to serve and be mentored in ministry,” Pastor Joel said. “Our church is a place where they can volunteer and seek ministry positions.” The men he mentors join him on stage during services, so they can learn how to welcome and pray over the congregation. They help plan Sunday services, and serve in hospitality after church.
Pastor Joel is confident that the partnership between Church of the Valley and the Mission will only grow. “I want us to be a launching pad for these men to learn skills for their next steps,” he said. “What if we could be an internship program, teaching safety, crisis management, and maintenance jobs within the church? We could be a bridge for graduates.”
Focusing on meeting the needs of the hurting in the area has given Pastor Joel the passion to lead his congregation into serving this community. “The church exists for those who are not here yet, and those that are needing to come into the kingdom,” he said. “We are to find and seek the lost and to welcome all into the body. There is no such thing as outside of the church ministry. Wherever there are believers there is the church and we are called to bring all in.”