Living Witness Missionary Church, located at 901 Colcord Ave. in Waco, is a faith community that is based in the practice of teaching the Word and giving to God’s people. Regarding teaching, Pastor Maurice Walker is a brave preacher who allows questions in the middle of his sermons and always opens the floor for questions after he finishes preaching. Drawing from Proverbs 4:7 (“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”), Pastor Walker views it as his God-given responsibility to teach in such a way that everyone can understand, even children. As it happens, he notes, when you break things down for children, adults end up understanding, too! Several church members interviewed for this article named Pastor Walker’s approachable teaching style as a major draw to the congregation. As Sister Melanie Holmes puts it, “There’s no reason for anyone to be unlearned.” With understanding of the scriptures, church members feel empowered to live out and apply the faith to their daily lives. This everyday kind of faith is the topic of both men’s and women’s Bible studies, one of which is made up of mothers of young children who meet online after kids’ bedtimes to decompress, pray, and uplift one another.
Regarding giving, Living Witness prizes Luke 6:38 - “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Taking this scripture as a driving theme, the congregation automatically sets aside 10% of all tithes for financial help in the community. When it comes to ongoing ministries, Living Witness feeds the homeless community once a month, but its commitment to giving often means that ministry opportunities present themselves to the congregation. This more ad hoc style of ministry ends up being an ongoing ministry in itself, especially in 2020. As Pastor Walker put it, “We have an ongoing ministry. It’s called Pandemic.” A smaller congregation, Living Witness doesn’t have endless resources. At the same time, the Lord blesses their commitment to generosity. To hear DeShaun Johnson speak of the ministries Living Witness has pursued is to be put in mind of the loaves and fish at Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. The congregation gives what it can, and the Lord multiplies so that ministry goes beyond anything expected or imagined.
At present, Living Witness, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, worships online via Facebook Live and pursues community through online chats. In talking to church members, it is obvious that they greatly look forward to the day when in-person activities will resume. At the same time, Pastor Walker also expresses trepidation concerning what things will look like when society returns to normal. People, he says, have gotten used to staying home and may keep up that habit. In this, Pastor Walker wonders if the post-pandemic world will show that Christians have become wiser with technology but weaker becoming doers of the word in faith. Whatever the case, it is obvious that this congregation, which was founded on acts of faith, will continue walking in faith come what may.
To pray for Living Witness Missionary Church, ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage church members as they continue pursuing virtual community. Ask also that the Lord will enliven people to get back in the habit of showing up in person once in-person activities resume next year. And, pray that the Lord will continue to bless the teaching and giving of this remarkable congregation.