Several weeks ago The Elsberry Democrat reported that the Hillcrest Lodge and Motel was returning to Elsberry and shared with its readers the efforts of Lee Hartley and others to operate the facility as both a business and a ministry.
Those efforts have already born fruit.
“‘God’s House of Ministry’ is up and running,” said Hartley.
The church, located at 3407 N. Hwy. 79, enjoyed an attendance of more than 80 people during its first service on Easter morning and more than 35 of those original visitors returned the following Sunday.
“It’s really more of a Bible study than it is a sermon,” said Hartley. “I lead the music and then I speak while using a number of different visual aides, but I really encourage a lot of active participation from those in attendance. I want them to feel free to ask questions and to make comments.”
Hartley’s Sunday sessions are currently focused on the book of Revelation.
He also offers home visits for those who need counseling and/or prayer.
April 26 marks Hartley’s fourth service and the church will be offering something extra to the community.
“We want to encourage them to come in for praise and worship and then stay and share a free meal with us,” said Hartley.
The day will begin at 10 a.m. with refreshments.
“We will be serving donuts, coffee, milk, juice and water,” said Hartley.
Hartley will then begin his service at 10:30 a.m.
The day will conclude with a free lunch for members of the community.
“We want to serve the community,” said Hartley. “We’re interested in not only sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ but also in meeting people’s physical needs. That’s what this particular event is about.”
All those interested are encouraged to RSVP by calling (573) 312-5111, but walk-ins will be welcome as well.
“We encourage people who are interested in coming for the meal to also attend the service,” said Hartley. “They can focus on spiritual food first as opposed to just physical food. Then we can chow down and have a great time during the meal. We believe that spiritual food is much more satisfying, much more filling and has more eternal significance.”
That said, those who choose to come only for the meal will not be turned away.
“We believe the gospel is for individuals, one person at a time,” said Hartley. “We try to be very personable and one-on-one as much as possible.”
Anyone with additional questions can contact Hartley at (636) 229-2039 or (573) 312-5111.