We were regularly attending a church in our community but in January 2018 felt that God was leading us in a new direction. We began to feel like we needed something different. We knew Pastor Larry Smith from the church we had been previously attending. So, we decided to visit West End MB Church where Smith serves and seek spiritual guidance from him. As we walked in the doors of West End, we felt an immediate sense of acceptance from the people there. From that day on, we have not wanted to miss a day worshipping God there.
West End sits on a hill in Caldwell County in the foothills of North Carolina. From one direction you can see God’s beautifully landscaped mountain called Table Rock. The other direction is our small city of Lenoir.
Our wonderful congregation is anywhere from 20 to 30 people each Sunday, with about eight people at Wednesday night Bible study. We have two teenage students and about seven regularly attending elementary age children. Our congregation ranges from ages 1 to 80. Some churches might worry if this was their attendance each Sunday. But, not West End. This church is small yet filled with God’s spirit and love!
West End is small, yet mighty and we are growing. God is powerfully working in our church. On any given day you may see Ted Drew there checking on the building or pulling weeds. Marisa Drew works with our children’s ministry to lead youth Sundays each month and makes sure everyone gets a hug and warm greeting each time they walk in the door. Our church mother, Mary Dula, shares the week’s announcements with a love and kindness that fills our hearts. She also helps fill in for Bible study on Wednesday evenings when needed.
As part of our service in the church Melissa leads the children’s message during worship service and Troy, a NCSHP Trooper, patrols the church area, its neighborhood and the members’ homes.
“You’re so sweet to go help that church,” some people told us when we started attending West End. They had no clue that it was this church helping us! We found that we were searching for more God and less church. That’s exactly what we found here. So as of July 1, 2018, we are West End’s newest members.
Pastor Smith is a gentle, God-loving man. He reaches out to the sick, shut in, incarcerated and many more people with a kindness that can only come from the Holy Spirit. His messages on Sunday are always about Jesus and his dying on the cross for our salvation. You won’t find any judgment with Pastor Smith, just love. He often shares with his congregation his own weaknesses or areas that he wants to improve and asks for prayer. This helps us to know that we are led by a man who constantly seeks to be a better person and Christian role model.
Some of our members have not always had the easy road but are quick to give God the glory in everything they are and have in their life. We are a group of people that truly love others. Isn’t that what God called us all to do?
The next time you take a trip to the mountains of North Carolina, stop by and visit us. We promise you will feel happy, loved and accepted. You’re sure to hear a “Hallelujah” or two! You might not even want to leave.
We recently read that when God wants to change you, he makes you uncomfortable. Well, that’s exactly what he did to us. That feeling brought us to West End. Now, we are on fire to do God’s will and his work in building the kingdom of God.
Troy and Melissa Stutt have lived in Lenoir, North Carolina, for 15-plus years. Troy is a NCSHP trouper in Caldwell, County and has been in law enforcement for over 20 years. Melissa is a 3rd grade teacher who just completed her 20th year in Caldwell County as well. They enjoy exploring the Parkway, short trips to learn about cities and their history and being together. They consider serving God at West End a privilege.