WARNER ROBINS -- In the early days of End Time Harvest Christian Center, missions and reaching out to others took root in the churchs heart.
That was back in 1993 when Melvin and Julia Womack started meeting with others in their home at Robins Air Force Base for Bible study and prayer. Julia was active duty Air Force then and Womack, a Navy veteran and minister, worked civil service.
About half a dozen of us started meeting in our home, including a pastor friend of ours who was also a professor at Fort Valley State University, James Kirkwood, Melvin Womack said. He has since gone to be with the Lord, but from the beginning that group had a heart of love at its core -- a heart for people, a heart for God and for his word. Were a multi-cultural church and it doesnt matter who you are, everyone is welcome. We just want to reach out and meet people where theyre at and let God work in their lives.
Womack, senior pastor at the church, said by the time the group reached 15 they purchased a small building in the Bell Drive-Duke Avenue area between Watson Boulevard and Green Street near Ga. 247. They remain on Bell and have enlarged their facilities and hope to expand still more.
We just started reaching out to the community, he said. The community around us included people with a lot of drug and alcohol problems. This neighborhood was a really bad, crack-infested, high-crime neighborhood. No, it wasnt the easiest place to be but we just followed what Jesus told us to do and went out spreading the gospel and making disciples. We got out meeting people and God did his part.
Womack said results followed. He said lives were changed and people joined the church. He said Donald Walker, who was mayor at the time, told him crime calls to the police department from the neighborhood went down 70 percent in the years after the church moved there.
Busy in their own neighborhood, Womack and the small congregation had their eyes on the world as well. Along the way, Womack said he met Bankole Akinmola of World Outreach Church for all Nations and World Outreach Missions in Lawrenceville. He said he now considers Akinmola his pastor and that it was Akinmola who helped End Time Harvest get practically involved in world missions.
When I met him, he helped train me and walked me through a lot of things about international missions, Womack said. Even with a small group of 30 or so we were going to Africa and South America. Ive always had a big heart and we as a church have always cared about the downtrodden. Gods love is at the core and it has to stay there in all we do.
Though the church still has worldwide outreach, travel and contacts made in Kenya focused many of the churchs efforts there. End Time Harvest has five associate churches in Kenya, operates an orphanage and hopes to become more involved in providing improved health care.
Womack said despite the struggles people and churches face, the best way to move forward is simple: stick to the Bible.
The Apostle Paul knew how to adjust himself so he could reach people, Womack said. Ive learned the correct answer is always stick with the Bible. A lot of times we want to do things on convenience and on our feelings, but when you stick with what God says, the job gets done every time. Like marriage, a lot of feelings can tear you one way or the other in a relationship, but if you stick with the Bible, that works. Sticking with the Bible and obeying it is the root of discipleship.
Womack said End Time Harvest Christian Center has grown and has ministered through love and faith.
Faith works by love, he said. Thats what the Bible says. Its not about fame or fortune but about believing God will do what he says hell do and letting him go do it. Its not about getting a big private jet for yourself, but it may be about getting a cargo plane so you can take food and help to hurting people around the world.
Womack is a Warner Robins native and 1974 graduate of Warner Robins High School. He and Julia have been married for 20 years and have three children, Melvin Antigo, Ila and Faith.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.