Ministry on the Margins in Colonial Heights

When you pastor a church of 25 to 30 people, it is easy to ask yourself, how effective can you really be in your community. There are much bigger churches with significantly larger budgets, and a wider pool of members to do what you struggle to attempt. Fortunately, we serve a God who reminds us we are not called to compete, but to be obedient. One talent or five, our responsibility is to be faithful and use what God has put in our hands. Celebration of Life has been blessed with individuals who have a heart for ministry and love people. They understand that we cannot do it all, but we must do what we can.

It is with that attitude that we have been able to give out free hand warmers, hot chocolate and cotton candy at our local Christmas parade. Displaying that same spirit of giving, when the opportunity arose to have an impact on a local apartment complex, the sound system, grill and cooler went mobile. Not only did apartment doors open, but so did the chance to minister and pray with people that needed someone to care and share the love of God with them.


An outreach that our church looks forward to each year is our Fall Festival. It is a good excuse to eat, play cornhole and act silly. It is always one of our best attended events. With a bounce house for the kids, a variety of friendly contests, and an old fashioned bon fire, there’s something for everyone. In addition to connecting with guests, we use it to collect cash and canned goods for a local food pantry. Supporting other ministries that are able to reach where we couldn’t by ourselves is an ideal that we embrace. Another great ministry that we proudly support every year is Frank Allen and Hope Charitable Services. We love gathering our coats, blankets, toys and offerings and giving to this ministry.

Being a small church can certainly have its challenges and at times even frustrations. However, allowing God to use you where you are is priceless. It can give you the freedom to think outside the norm and be creative in ministry. It has given us the ability to minister to those that would not normally walk into our building. We’ve been known to put a sign on the door that says “service today will be held at the park” (with directions and a phone number). When you’re a small church willing to go where God leads, even the sky doesn’t have to be the limit. God is good.

Carl & Tammie Barbee
Celebration of Life CoG