In February of 2003, Open Arms Outreach Ministries was birthed through the compassion of God, and by the decision of one man, Elder S.C. Mitchell, who stepped out on faith. The ministry was to speak to the spiritual man as well as help the natural man. In the past, Elder Mitchell helped build a clothing and food bank under the direction of his former pastor. He also ministered to individuals in the Rescue Mission and those incarcerated in prison. This became his passion.
The decision to answer the call on February 9, 2003, along with nineteen (19) individuals who followed was the start of a great move of God. The first service was held February 16, 2003 at the community center with forty in attendance. The first message Elder Mitchell preached was “I’ve Been in Trouble” with the scripture reference from Job 1:13-10 and Job 2:7, 8. By the end of the first year, the ministry grew to at least 100 faithful members.
The one year projection for the ministry was.… “one centralized building to serve individuals both spiritually and natural.” The Lord opened a door in that year to move into the little chapel located in the building at 2401 E 11th Street. In this building, were classrooms, a little fellowship area, clothing bank, food bank and a sanctuary. The membership had high times in the Lord and grew tremendously.
Over the next eleven years, Open Arms Outreach Ministries has ministered from the Community Center, Rescue Mission, the prison, the nursing home and from 1812 SW Van Buren better known as “El Bethel”. In the beginning, El Bethel provided housing for men who were in need of a “second chance in society”. This gave them an opportunity to gain skills in budgeting, job search and spiritual growth. As time went by, the Lord impressed upon our leader to move the congregation to “El Bethel”. The upper unit had several private areas for the men and the lower commons area was large enough to “have church”. Many where saved and delivered during our years at “El Bethel”.
BUT that was not our final destination. The Lord had bigger plans for Open Arms Outreach Ministries. Early in 2014, Open Arms was well over capacity at El Bethel. Another ministry projection was to have “a building which will have an auditorium or sanctuary with 200 – 400 seating (comfortably) with room for expansion.” The Lord, once again, opened the door and gave the ministry the opportunity to purchase one of the former locations….2401 E 11th Street. Praise the Lord!!!!
With the joint efforts of local agencies and businesses such as Mirrors, Harvesters, Scott’s Cleaners, Community Action, and Let’s Help, Open Arms Outreach Ministries has served and assisted thousands of individuals to reach goals spiritually and naturally that they did not imagine they could reach. This was made possible by God touching someone’s heart to give Open Arms the opportunity to be an asset. At present, Open Arms Outreach Ministries is “paying it forward” by assisting Pentecostal Church of God as they serve this community, reaching the Hispanic community. There is plenty work for all and GOD GET’S THE GLORY!!