Las Vegas Sun

August 18, 2017

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Church members find home without a building


Courtesy photo

From left, Cherry Trotter, Walker Lybarger, John Buterbaugh, James Wright, Councilman Ross, Rev. Candace Lansberry, Susan Holden and Lauri Wright.

The church isn't the building it meets in.

That is a philosophy for the northwest-area Daybreak United Methodist Church, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

The church can't offer worship services with stained glass windows or organ music — it meets every Sunday at William and Mary Scherkenbach Elementary School, 9371 Iron Mountain Road, off U.S. 95 near Kyle Canyon Road.

But it can offer the spirit of a church, said the Rev. Tom Mattick.

"There is a certain ambiance we can't offer, but that doesn't mean we can't help someone get in touch with God," he said.

Although the church would like to someday have a church of its own, that is a goal that is years away and there are no plans are in the works, Mattick said. Members may not have a building, but the church has come a long way since its inception one year ago.

In July 2006, Rev. Candace Lansberry was sent to the northwest area of the valley, an area where there wasn't a prominent United Methodist church, and was assigned to start Daybreak. There were no members, no equipment and nowhere to meet.

By October 2007, the church had enough members to start having meetings, and now, one year later, the church has 50 members, a place to meet and a 15-passenger van that has been converted for hauling equipment like a sound system, video equipment, tables, chairs and benches.

Lansberry was asked to serve as a superintendent for the regional area in July 2008, which is when Mattick stepped in to take her place.

Mattick had been serving as a pastor for about 660 members at the Desert Spring United Methodist Church, 120 N. Pavilion Center Drive in Summerlin.

Going from serving a large congregation to serving a smaller one is a change Mattick has experienced before as a pastor. Both experiences have their own set of challenges and advantages. In a large church, Mattick said he feels he becomes more of an administrator while overseeing programs. While in a smaller church, the great challenge is growth: trying to build the church.

Despite the growth locally of megachurches, he said, "More people are looking for intimacy in their worship services."

Mattick has been a minister since 1971 after graduating from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He has also served in California, Arizona and Colorado.

Wherever Mattick serves, he said the purpose of the church is three-fold: to connect people with God, to connect people with each other and to connect people with the world.

"People don't want to connect with God alone, if they did, they could just watch church on television," Mattick said. "People are wanting to do it with others. Our purpose is to connect you with the world and with those in your neighborhood and to serve each other."

The advantage of the small church is that it is right in the middle of the neighborhood, he said.

The church is also a place to provide service opportunities like feeding the poor or gathering needed supplies for the homeless. Members of the congregation also meet at a neighborhood restaurant at 7 a.m. on Wednesday mornings for Bible study and meet on Tuesday nights in each other's homes to study a Bible theme. Soon the group will be studying the Christmas story.

"The activities bring the members closer together," Mattick said.

In January Mattick is starting a series of sermons about surviving tough financial times. He tries to tailor his sermons around needs or concerns of the congregation. His sermons include video clips, power point and other multi-media.

"It's a blended service of a contemporary style with elements of a traditional service," he said.

The church meets at 9:30 on Sunday mornings for about an hour sermon, followed by fellowship time to talk and visit.

Jenny Davis can be reached at 990-8921 or [email protected].

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