The Mission Field
Freedom House Ministries operates primarily through the location of a combination coffee house and community center in Hailey, located in the Wood River Valley of Southern Idaho. The Wood River Valley includes the cities of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley and has a population of about 15,000 people. Less than 3% of the population attend any church at all, and only about 1% attend a church where they might encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The most common way people self-identify their religious beliefs is as “Buddhist.” A large portion of the population is made up of transplanted Californians, and the area has many similarities to the Bay Area in terms of education, income, and religious beliefs.
About ten years ago, believers in Bellevue began to pray that God would “take back the Wood River Valley.” There are many buildings in the valley that once were churches, but are now shops, offices, and restaurants. God has been bringing us the message that He does, indeed, plan to take back the Wood River Valley with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve talked to several people who have come to the valley because they have heard the same message, and it’s clear to us that He is calling us to have a part in that plan.
The Wood River Valley is unique in the number of visitors, vacationers, and part-time residents that come in and out of the valley. Many Hollywood actors have vacation homes in the area, and a large number of people travel through the valley and back out to other parts of the country and the world. The valley is a popular destination for nature lovers in the summer and hosts a highly rated ski resort in the winter. For this reason, the Wood River Valley has the potential to be a place through which God reaches other parts of the nation and the world.
We have established a coffee house that will operate as a community center through which we will reach out to surrounding communities. Each person who serves in the ministry will use his or her unique gifts and abilities for the purpose of building relationships with the people that we encounter. We will do things like plan hunting and fishing trips, offer after-school homework help, hold parenting and marriage workshops, plan group experiments in exploring Biblical truths, and organize ministries to address the communities’ specific needs, and, of course, we will sell coffee.
The Coffee House will be a place for people who might never enter a church building to meet Jesus as He presented Himself in the Bible, by first meeting His followers, who are learning to live out their faith and to speak the Gospel into all areas of life.
Our first step will be to meet people and make friends and then invite them to various activities offered through The Coffee House. One activity will be family-style meals where people of all ages will be included. The meals will be followed by a time of conversation about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As people encounter Jesus and choose to follow, we will begin to disciple them, both in groups and one on one. Our worship gatherings will be primarily designed for those who have decided to follow Jesus, have been baptized, and desire to grow spiritually, and to worship, give, and serve in the Body of Christ.
As we have begun to meet people in the valley, we realize that there is also a big need to encourage Believers to live out their calling. We will actively spur Believers to move from being “church” people to being Kingdom people, living out the Gospel in their neighborhoods and speaking the Gospel to the Lost.