Church Without Walls

Daniel Thurber grew up in a Detroit neighborhood that was rampant with drug use. That culture claimed many of his teenage friends’ lives. But in February 1991, he got serious with the Lord and ultimately became a minister.

“When I tell you that God can work miracles and move mountains in your life, I’m speaking from experience,” says Thurber, now senior pastor of New Beginnings Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. “It’s that ministry of reconciliation that the Bible talks about that you can reconcile people with the same comfort that you were given because you’ve been through the same thing.”

In 2018, New Beginnings, in partnership with Christian Worship Center in nearby Gulfport, launched a ministry to help the local homeless community by offering not only food and clothing but also a Thursday evening worship service at Biloxi Lighthouse Park. 

Pastor Paul Gregory of Christian Worship Center says that so many Christians attend a pep rally of sorts on Sundays, but never actually strap up and get in the game. 

“This outreach is an opportunity to add some walk to our talk and be partakers, not just spectators,” remarks Gregory, who feels privileged to witness people move into a personal relationship with the living God. 

“I love watching God bring hope to the hopeless, love the unlovable, redeem the too-far-gone and forgotten, and challenge the seemingly OK Christians to go and spread the good news that Jesus is Lord,” he adds.

While many places feed the homeless, Thurber and Gregory want to do more. 

“You may come for a plate of food,” notes Thurber, “but you’re going to leave with a heaping helping of Jesus.”

The Thursday service, which typically sees between 50–60 people each week, is open to everyone, and is Thurber’s favorite service. He recently baptized someone in the Gulf of Mexico during one of the services.

“We aren’t supposed to sit inside a building and hope that people will come in,” shares Thurber. “We’re supposed to reach with the arms of Jesus to love with his heart, touch with his hands, and be the church without walls.”

Christy Heitger-Ewing
Christy Heitger-Ewing

Christy Heitger-Ewing is a contributing writer for Outreach magazine. In addition, Christy pens the “Now & Then” column in Cabin Life magazine. She also writes regularly for Christian publications such as Encounter, Insight, and the Lookout. She is the author of Cabin Glory: Amusing Tales of Time Spent at the Family Retreat.