SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Ozark’s newest church is looking for members of the congregation with the roughest backgrounds, former prisoners, and drug users, along with other people in the community looking solutions to Springfield’s drug problem.
“I spent many years, over a decade of my life, addicted to heroin and crack cocaine.”
A man, who once went to prison for trafficking drugs with the Mexican cartel, held a Bible inside Springfield’s newest church Sunday morning.
“This is going to be a church where the warden and the ex-con can worship Jesus together.” said John Alarid, Lead Pastor.
Alarid and a team are launching the first CityReach Church in Missouri.
“We have the vision to reach the one far from God and to help them become fully devoted.”
CityReach is a network with more than 60 churches across the country.
“We love using unlikely people to go to overlooked places to do extraordinary things,” said Brian Bolt, CityReach Network.
Pastor Bolt said Springfield’s CityReach comes with a twist, a dope dealer becoming a hope dealer.
“He wants to be there for them, support them, help see their lives change.”
Along with launching a new church, CityReach will also open a men’s Hope Home next month and a women’s Hope Home later this year.
Tom Moon will be the house manager of the Springfield Hope Home.
“Its really going to help people not go back to jail. It is going to help people stop doing drugs in the community,” said Moon.
Moon said the home will look for people like Alarid a sinner with a future.
“Its a nine-month program for those coming out of prison or jail, for those that are struggling with addictions.”
Alarid knows from his own past. Hope Homes can make a difference.
“I know what it is like to stay at fancy hotels in Las Vegas penthouses but I also know what its like to be in a cardboard box with a needle stuck in my arm,” said Alarid.
Alarid said it all starts in a church like CityReach Springfield with former and current drug users looking for a change.
“We should embrace people getting out of prison, coming out of rough backgrounds.”
The church will meet every Sunday at the Assemblies of God Theological seminary on Glenstone.
The Hope Home is scheduled to open in April.
For more information, you can contact CityReach Church Springfield on Facebook or at http://springfield.cityreachnetwork.org/