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The "Grand View" Story


Revised August 10, 2003

The CIM Program

In early November 1998, the then elders began discussions on the concept of a mission effort to central Iowa. This discussion emanated from observations that several congregations were suffering decline and lack of local leadership, and G.V. had been approached by those congregations to assist them in some way. This concept was purposely included in a sermon presented by Orrin Nearhoof on November 17, 1998.

This concept was discussed with Brother Lyle Asbill, and at that time, we had vested in him major leadership for the program. However, as this same meeting Bro. Asbill announced his opportunity for a job interview.

The elders continued to develop the concept, and finally a written outline was prepared, and the elders approved it. It called for the employment of an individual to coordinate the program with the pulpit minister/evangelist, under the direction of the elders.

At this time, we learned that Brother Art Wallis, an experienced gospel preacher, was considering a move to Iowa, and in particular Des Moines. He had submitted an application letter to the Evergreen church of Christ. We contacted Brother Wallis, and he came to Des Moines and the elders met with him the Saturday night before he spoke at Evergreen and Grand View. As a part of the introduction for Brother Wallis, Orrin Nearhoof again reviewed with the congregation the “domestic mission concept,” and indicted that Brother Wallis was interested in this opportunity.

When it became apparent that Brother Wallis was not interested hi the opportunity at Evergreen, the elders then in place moved to offer him the position under these conditions: (Quoting the elders’ statement, January 1999)

  1. This is a developing concept and a totally new program for Grand View.
  2. We had the resources for a one-year commitment. We could initiate this program and not negatively effect any other program.
  3. The program will be evaluated by the congregation and the elders in the 11th month of the program to determine its effectiveness.
  4. Brother Wallis was willing to accept the position for the one-year term without any assurance or guarantee of continuation beyond that year, pending program evaluation.”

With those understandings, Brother Art Wallis accepted the position, and he began work in February 1999, and he began to outline and develop the concept in coordination with the elders. The first full-time working relationships for the CIM were with Knoxville (Knoxville church of Christ) and the Evergreen church of Christ. Since the inception of the program, the CIM has offered a preacher training program, which has included many men from the G.V. congregation as well as men from other congregations. Brother Art has offered his sequence of classes in other locations also, and his work in this area continues to the present time.

Since its inception, the CIM has assisted several congregations in Iowa: Knoxville and Evergreen were the first as noted above, and then CIM has aided Menlo, Newton, Montezuma on a regular, but periodic basis; and in addition the CIM has provided men to speak at other congregations on a periodic and “fill-in” basis: Ogden, Blockton, Boone, Cerdarloo, Boone Street congregation and the Center Street congregation in Marshalltown, Mason City, and Osceola.

This program continues to serve the central Iowa area very effectively.

As the CIM program began to develop, the congregation’s attention turned to two major activities: the deacon selection process and the preacher search. During this preacher search, the elders involved a screening committee to assist in the review of applicants. Both processes were longer than planned and involved a great deal of patience and prayer; however, when they were completed, Mike Dorell, Mitch Mort, and Joe Longfellow were installed as deacons (joining Archie Cook, Dan Bailey, and Mike Mazak) and Jeff Reed was employed at the pulpit minister.

Also in 1999, we began to support two missionaries, Russian born, who were trained as gospel preachers in Russian and who served in Ulyanovsk, Russian. The program also involved the Lord’s church in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

However, another transition occurred in September 1999 when Kimball Matkins resigned as an elder in order to devote more time to the care and support of his wife, Debbie, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She eventually died from the disease in March 2000.

Under Jeff’s tenure, we experienced a heightened emphasis on outreach especially to the woman’s prison in Mitchellville, and a lively correspondence program was developed and in addition there was one opportunity for Jeff, with the support of a few members from G.V., to preach the gospel at Mitchellville one Sunday evening. However, after two years of involvement, the prison Chaplin finally shut off much of the access for the program. The tenure of Jeff s work is best characterized as one of another plateau for G.V. with leveled attendance. Jeff announced his plans to return to Rapid City, S.D. in mid- January 2003, and his last Lord’s Day with G.V. was February 5, 2003.

G.V. continues to move forward with its yearly activities and outreach as we are involved in the preacher search. We have completed a good VBS, and we are poised for a weekend of remembrances with the 25th Anniversary Celebration.