Outreach of South Beach Church, OR
Outreach of South Beach Church, OR

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South Beach Church, OR, Welcomes its Seaside Community by Shining Christ’s Love through Creative Ministry Outside its Walls

Story by Margot Bass
Photos by Micah Martin

This article originally ran in Issue 80, Summer 2019, of Calvary Chapel Magazine. Since then, the church has begun a new project—the South Beach Church Outreach Offices—providing a second location to reach the town of Newport, OR. This move allows the fellowship to better serve the community and be more available for discipleship, biblical counseling, prayer, and worship. “We’re holding out the hope that ‘big church’ will make a strong comeback after COVID-19, but until then, we’re excited to focus on a smaller building that will garner huge results for the Kingdom,” exclaimed Lead Pastor Luke Frechette.

Luke Frechette, lead pastor of South Beach Church (SBC), a Calvary Chapel in Newport, OR, believes that a church must move beyond its physical walls. “I love hanging out with church people, but I also love hanging out with the unchurched. The people are out there and it’s fun to get the salt out of the shaker and see what God wants to do as we let the light of Jesus shine before men as they see our lives,” he stated.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Ladies in line praying and hugging

Teresa Gullett (left), Mariah Rose (center), and Tammy Fernandez respond to the Lord.

In early January 2019, Luke stood near Yaquina Bay, OR, to offer the Blessing of the Alaska Fleet, about to embark on an 1,800-mile journey to the Bering Sea. He was surrounded by church and community members, fishermen, crabbers, and their families. He called each boat by name, praying for safety, success, and the family members left behind.

Luke reminded them of Psalm 107:23-24, which declares, Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep. He also shared John 6:16-21, describing Jesus’ disciples rowing helplessly for miles during a dangerous storm on the Sea of Galilee; Jesus walked on water to reach His disciples, who willingly received Him (v. 21) on the battered boat. Luke added, “We’re asking Jesus to be in our boats, our families, our lives, our problems. We honor God with our industry; we seek first His kingdom, and He adds those things we lack.”

He addressed a grieving community that day. Two days earlier, January 8, a commercial crabbing boat capsized in Yaquina Bay’s rough waters off the coast of Newport. All three men on board died, including Luke’s friend and church member Josh Porter, beloved in the community. Luke waited at the rescue scene until the search was called off. At 2 a.m., he and Josh’s widow Denise went to view Josh’s body, which had washed ashore. SBC pulled together a community vigil that night for the lives lost. Luke remembered, “I was able to preach Jesus … to all these people sitting there with ears open in brokenness, listening because they were searching for hope. God is near to the brokenhearted and to those who are crushed in spirit.”

Luke teaches

Luke Frechette, lead pastor of South Beach Church (SBC) of Newport, OR, shares the Gospel at Hope in the Park, a summer outreach.

Come Just as You Are

“Because Jesus is real, we reach out to everybody. We invite people just as they are,” Luke explained. “Jesus changes marriages, lives, purpose, and direction. He gives us the initiative and the strength to keep going.” Up to 800 attend SBC’s three Sunday services; an average of 1,500 attends on Easter Sunday. They include businessmen, doctors, fishermen, the young and old, homosexuals, the homeless, addicts, and former prisoners. Luke observed, “God has brought a lot of unsaved, unchurched people to our church—people who are healing and being discipled, and their lives are being changed as they meet Jesus.”

Luke affirmed, “It’s such a joy to see someone delivered from the bondage of drug addiction. A guy or gal who’s been rescued from the fires of hell really knows how important it is to rescue others. They become the biggest spokesmen in our community for those who are still looking for help.” He and three members of SBC attended a recent local government-run Drug Court Advisory Meeting to plan strategies to help the addicted. Every Sunday, men and women from the church share their testimonies and lead recovery ministries in the jail. They also work in halfway houses and recovery homes as mentors and counselors. “Their lives have been riddled with mistakes, and yet they found Jesus and are walking in strength and purpose,” Luke said. South Beach Church hosts weekly Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery (CR) meetings.

Luke prays with crying lady

Luke prays with many at Hope in the Park 2019. Dozens every week, and hundreds throughout the summer, were impacted by the love of Jesus as SBC members served thousands of meals and led many in the community in outdoor worship.

Melissa Gifford, her husband Chris, and Jen Metcalf coordinate the CR ministry, a Christ-centered program anyone can attend. An average of 60 people participate, and childcare is provided. But the team also takes a shortened version, Celebrate Recovery on the Inside, to the local jail each week, open to 25 men and 15 women. “They really want to talk when they get out of their cells,” Melissa remarked. Some attend the church’s meetings when they’re released. Her presence in the jail, after serving time herself years ago, “shows someone that although you can be a person who has torn down a community, when Jesus comes into your life, you get the opportunity to give back. I love on people and tell them, ‘If I can do it, then you can, too.’”

Creative Outreach Beyond Church Walls

The fellowship, which has met in a city-owned warehouse scheduled to be torn down in the future, is looking for a new property. Luke recounted, “But we don’t hang out here all week. We go into the community—schools, coffee houses, gyms, at work, where people are at. Our passion is to be real, authentic, and available. We try to do everything to the glory of God and for the good of others. That allows us to then become creative in pursuit of ministry.”

Ladies hugging

Two women embrace in a tender moment at Hope in the Park.

In 2016, member Larry Sorensen told Luke, “You preach the Word, and I’ll bring the people.” He then purchased a used 24-passenger airport shuttle to pick up and bring people who have no transportation to church. His Bus of God service is an act of “total gratitude,” he declared. “It was only because of Jesus Christ that I was able to survive and straighten out my life. I try to share that with my passengers.” He makes multiple trips every Sunday from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., picking up single mothers with children, residents of rehab houses, and the elderly. “Because these people can’t drive, they can’t get to life groups. But they see each other every Sunday and this becomes their life group. They talk about the sermons, life situations, and their kids,” Larry added.

One of the two who … followed Him [Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah.” … And he brought him to Jesus. John 1:40-42a

Ladies fellowship at church

Women greet each other at South Beach Church. About 800 people attend one of three Sunday services.

On Wednesday nights during the summer, SBC brings its barbeques, stage, and equipment to a local park. “We have a party, feed as many people as possible, and preach the Gospel,” Luke said, adding that more than 30 have come to the Lord during those events. The church fed almost 700 people at the Day Before Thanksgiving meal in November. Days before Christmas, members gathered for a Flash Mob outreach at the local Fred Meyer superstore. Spreading throughout the building, they shared Christmas greetings, passed out song sheets to customers, and led everyone in Christmas carols. The fellowship also responds to various community needs, including helping people move or repairing their homes.

Returning to a Call

Luke was raised in a family that taught him the importance of the Bible, church, and a relationship with Jesus. At age 8, during a church service, he felt God impress on him that the most important thing someone can do is preach the Gospel. The second impression, however, that You will do what this [pastor] is doing, scared him. “Right then God sowed in me the destiny of my life. I knew it but never told a soul,” he admitted. After those years, he ran from the call as his life became darker. “I had a reputation as a Christian boy, but I had developed a secret life, an ability to become two different people. I was an active drug dealer and a partier, doing all the things I wish I had never done.” It took a short stint in jail at age 20 to humble him.

Luke kneels praying with man

Luke ministers one-on-one after a service. “Because Jesus is real, we invite people just as they are,” Luke said of the church’s mission.

Not long after, he attended Ashland Christian Fellowship, a Calvary Chapel fellowship in Ashland, OR. “When I heard the Word of God there, it went down into my heart and began to change my life right then. I’d never heard the Word expounded in such a simple and anointed way before, and I couldn’t get enough.” Luke began to serve there. During a prayer meeting, he confessed, Lord, if that ministry call is still available, I give you my life. As he prayed, the church’s assistant youth pastor tapped Luke on the shoulder and asked if he’d consider taking over his position. Luke accepted and continued in ministry at the church; in 2010, he was sent to Newport to replant a church and become lead pastor at the renamed South Beach Church.

Luke with band on stage

The worship team reacts as Luke prays with the congregation.

Esaii Taylor, SBC’s audio & visual director since 2014, first came to SBC the weekend after he completed a 13-year prison sentence. Remembering Luke from high school and knowing his sinful past, he didn’t expect to find Luke pastoring a church. “When I saw him, I thought, What? It can’t be that guy. Really, Luke Frechette up there? The whole world has flipped on me.” His first time of hearing Luke preach was pivotal in strengthening Esaii’s faith. “It was the fact that he was this guy I knew, a normal rabble-rouser. I knew he was a sinner, like me, and I could see that he was changed and had come to the Lord. It opened me up. After that I [wanted to join] the church.” Luke hasn’t hidden his past from his congregation, Esaii said. “It’s helpful for people to know that leadership comes from a place of being human and flawed.”

southbeachchurch.org

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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