Mountain View Bible Church offers message of thanks, encouragement
By ANNA GILGOFF
Special to The Press
Four days before Thanksgiving, on a sunny November morning, members of Mountain View Bible Church gathered for their Sunday service, greeting each other as they found their seats.
After some welcoming words from Assistant Pastor Chad Finke, and after raising their voices in song, the congregants celebrated communion and were ready to study and worship.
“This week is Thanksgiving and that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people,” said Pastor Chad, recalling his own family traditions.
He recounted how his mother admonished the children to wash hands before sitting “together to eat and eat and eat.”
Then he drew the analogy to faith.
“You come to table clean already,” he said.
“When we come together to celebrate, we partake in a meal that represents permanent and complete satisfaction.
“When you drink spiritual water, you’ll never thirst again.”
As Pastor Jeff Barbieri approached the lectern, congregants were attentive and ready to take notes as part of their Sunday study.
“The Bible is the record of the good news,” said Pastor Jeff. “But the main doctrine that’s most important in evangelism is the Holy Spirit.”
The animated pastor challenged church members by making frequent references to the Bible, putting passages into context, and even explaining the derivations of Biblical words.
Using analogy and real-life examples, he said,
“We turn our thanksgiving to a source of encouragement and edification.”
The pastor stressed five aspects of faith: evangelism, exaltation, encouragement, edification and equipping.
He urged congregants to put each one into practice.
“I’m emotional because truth grips me,” he said. “When we are gripped by emotion, our worship has a special power.”
The congregants shared their heartfelt thanks for work, health and the birth of children, even as they acknowledged the challenges of recent times.
“The past two years have been completely nuts,” said one church member. “I just think about how it would have been if we couldn’t have met here. I’m thankful for this church.”
“A lot of things don’t make sense, but this makes sense,” added Eric Schellhamer. “It’s good to be here.”
“I’m so thankful for the scriptures,” rejoined Pastor Jeff. “I’m so thankful for the opportunity every week to preach the word of God.”
The New Jersey transplant is the church’s first pastor, starting at Mountain View Bible Church in 2014.
“I was between churches and the congregants had been going to Clark Summit,” he explained. “I just saw they were a wonderful group of people.”
Originally hired for one year, Pastor Jeff has been there ever since.
“We weren’t looking to move at that time, but we’re thankful for the opportunity,” he explained. “We’ve built a great foundation here.”
“My wife and I have started four churches.”
Health issues compelled him to take some time off and that’s when he and his wife made the transition to this area.
“I’m thankful that God did bring us here,” said Lorie Barbieri. “I get so encouraged when I see each of you here.”
Gratitude united worshippers at the Mountain View Bible Church that Sunday morning.
“What makes us a distinctive church is our simple church approach,” explained Pastor Jeff. “Small groups help people be a part of this community and encourage each other.
“Our church stresses discipleship, just gathering around Christ and his word, and developing people; not as much on liturgy or traditions.”