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story by: krista corner
Sherlin said God called for him to face the sin in his life. God then put him around Godly men and he became “born again,” he said.
He and his wife have three grown children, three grandchildren and one grandchild on the way. Sherlin works for CarQuest in Havre to help pay some of the bills.
Sherlin received his associate degree in ministry from Anchor Baptist Bible College in North Carolina. He then preached for about 10 years at his home church before becoming a missionary pastor of his own church.
“This is the first time I've ever pastored a church,” he said.
It is not, however, the first time he has been away from his home church to preach.
He and his wife visited various locations in Montana and Idaho for several summers to hold tent ministries and Bible schools.
The couple, along with a handful of other people, spent three months in a 28-foot motorhome. They visited Lewistown, Havre, Roundup, Hays and Deer Lodge. They've also spent significant amounts of time at the Anchor Academy for Boys.
Sherlin said he and his wife spent so much time ministering to the boys at Anchor Academy when they first moved to town, that is where they stayed until they were able to find a suitable location for their church. Delores Danzer, who works at the academy, said it is a home and boarding school available to “troubled” boys ages 13 to 17. It is located at the old Air Force base north of Havre.
Aside from assisting her husband with pastoral duties, Morris Sherlin said, “(Penny) takes care of me. It's a full-time job.” Penny Sherlin said that she constantly moves with various projects. She photographs scenery, active churches and old church buildings as a hobby. She also makes baby blankets to send back to North Carolina to their former church for babies born to congregation members. Aside from that, Penny likes to knit, sew and crochet.
The Ark Church, located downtown on Second Street, has been at its current location most of its 20-year existence.
Pastor Kevin Barsotti said he likes the location of the church.
“We have enough room where we're at,” he said Thursday. “The location is good, and the best part about where we're at is that on Sundays no one is around and there is plenty of parking.” Barsotti also likes that “I don't have a big lawn to worry about and can spend more time preaching the word.”
His small church doesn't require a lot of cleaning, either. Because he is employed by Box Elder Schools and doesn't have a lot of extra time, Barsotti said is grateful for the small cleaning load.
Barsotti also said, “There's people who've been there since the start of the church. Lots of faithful people. The location provides a lot of ministry opportunity for different people. Some people might be intimidated going to a small storefront church and others might be intimidated going to a big fancy church. It's good to have a variety of places in Havre where people can go to hear the Gospel.”
Brown said preaching in a storefront church wasn't all that different from being in a regular church. The Hi-Line Christian Church moved into the Sixth Avenue Christian Church in the 500 block of Sixth Street when that congregation moved into its new, spacious church on the south end of Fifth Avenue and renamed itself the Fifth Avenue Christian Church.
The Four Square Gospel Church had been housed in the original Swiss Broaster building near the old Kmart on the east end of U.S. Highway 2 before moving into the old Big Bud building west of Havre. The congregation moved from storefront to church building when it relocated last fall to the original Seventh-day Adventist Church on Fourth Avenue and the Adventists moved their services to Havre Christian School in Meadowlark Estates.
The Sherlins have big plans for their church and hope to eventually become a 100-member congregation. In order to expand the church, the Sherlins have gone house to house in the community to knock on doors and invite people to come to church.
Christy Johnson, the Sherlins' daughter, cooks a fellowship dinner for members to enjoy between services on Sundays. As soon as the weather warms up, Sherlin hopes to get the bus fixed so they are able to pick up the children for Sunday School and services. He also hopes to be out on the busy streets of Havre preaching to the public and be generally more visible and active in the community.
In August, Sherlin plans to host a Bible school and tent meeting, rent a booth at the Great Northern Fair, and eventually he hopes to begin a track ministry. According to Penny Sherlin, track ministries consist of pamphlets that are handed out with Bible quotations printed on them.
Aside from expansion, they also hope to find a home for their church that will allow for a Baptist Christian school, and be able to do things for the needy in the community.
In the words of Barsotti, “The storefront church is a place where things can happen for people.”