Pastor Joe Butts, senior pastor of the Word of Faith Christian Center, is pleased his congregation now has a place they can call home.
“We were meeting at North Creek (Golf Course) for about seven years,” Butts said. “It is a nice feeling to be in your home, not have to break down things each Sunday, because at North Creek we had to break down things, set them up and break it down again. Here we don’t have to do that.”
The new home is at 1881 Nail Road West, off Highway 51, in Horn Lake. The church started to hold services there in April.
Word of Faith Christian Center is one of a number of similar churches located across the nation. Butts explained the main church is found in the Detroit, Michigan area.
“My headquarters church is located in Southfield, Michigan,” Butts explained. “We are one of the satellite churches for Southfield. We have more than 50 churches around the country, down South, in Toronto, Canada, in Texas, Paris, Bulgaria, and are establishing some in Russia. In Mississippi, we have a church in Gulfport and one in Jackson, in Hattiesburg, Yazoo City, but we are the only one in this northern part of Mississippi.”
It is important to Butts that those who come to Word of Faith hear the saving word of Christ.
“I can bring them the truth of the Gospel and the Word of Jesus Christ,” he said. “They can expect to see unity and love. They should expect to see a place where you can come and worship the Lord in security. You can also come to find a teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to learn how they can use the Word of the Lord to fit their life and assist them.”
The arrival of Butts and his wife Constance to DeSoto County comes as a calling and career shift from working with one of the largest automakers in the country.
“I was working for General Motors and was transferred here in 2000 and retired in 2005 in Brandon,” said Butts. “My wife is originally from Memphis, so we wanted to be back in her home area. She has a position at the University of Memphis, so that’s how we came back here.”
The couple then looked forward to starting their ministry here.
“Our first church was on Elmore Road and we stayed there for a period of time, but the owner sold the building to a daycare, so we had to move,” Butts said. “That’s how we came to be at North Creek.”
While in the Jackson area, Butts was also involved in ministry at the Word of Faith Christian Center there.
“I was an assistant pastor in Jackson for 10 years while I was down in Brandon,” he said. “I was the senior assistant pastor at a Word of Faith church down there. I was also the leader of the Ministry of Helps with 600 people that I was responsible for. We built that church up to 5,000 people.”
The Ministry of Helps is what Butts said involved outreach and volunteers to assist in the church’s programs.
“You’ve got ushers, greeters and parking lot attendants,” Butts said. “You have hospital visitations, comforters, all of those ministries that comes up under that heading of Ministry of Helps.”
With the move to the new church facility, Butts said he will use lessons learned while with General Motors to help promote and encourage the community to visit and get involved with Word of Faith Christian Center.
“At one time we would just build anything and put it out in the marketplace,” Butts said. “Just because we were General Motors we were looking at people to buy it. We found out it didn’t work that way and we found out we had to do some brand marketing. That’s where you go to the people and find out what they need, what they have to have and how can we as a church and a ministry assist in helping them.”
The mission and purpose for the church remains winning the world for Jesus.
“We want to be a place where the hurting, depressed, the frustrated and confused can find love, acceptance, hope, forgiveness, guidance and encouragement,” said Butts. “We will equip every believer to help them discover the gifts and talents that God has given them. We want to establish a home-based church in a beautiful, yet simple, facility, including a Worship Center, a counseling and prayer center, classrooms for Bible study and training for lay ministers and recreational areas and to minister to the total person, spiritually, socially, physically and emotionally.”
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.