By Carl Stagner
Vintage worship. These words probably conjure up images of stained glass, organs, and hymnals. But for Mountain View Community Church of God in Cody, Wyoming, these words have nothing to do with disdain for electric guitars, drums, or slide projectors. For Mountain View, vintage worship is all about emphasizing the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This new emphasis on old fashioned—but timeless—truths has propelled Mountain View to reach more of its surrounding community than ever before and realize significant growth in just three years.
Rev. Elroy Weixel, pastor of Mountain View, is energized by the challenge their community brings to the advancement of the gospel. Elroy is eager to bring the light of Christ to the spiritual darkness of the culture around him. “It’s a different kind of atmosphere, spiritually, than we’ve ever encountered. They’re friendly people, but for a town of ten thousand people, they have so much activity and events that put the church, or spirituality, on the back burner. Even in Russia we didn’t encounter the spiritual resistance we have encountered here.”
In spite of the obstacles, Pastor Elroy and his congregation aren’t willing to concede defeat. A congregation of just seven only three years ago, this body of believers decided to let the Holy Spirit lead in every area of their church, beginning with worship. “The Holy Spirit has to orchestrate the worship for us as individuals,” Elroy explains. “There’s no human that can really make a person worship in spirit and truth. It’s not the style of music, or whether we have guitars or drums, but it has to be Holy Spirit driven.”
The leadership of the Holy Spirit has compelled Mountain View to go out into their community too. Pastor Elroy explains that they must exercise the Great Commission. They do not want to miss any chance they have to share the gospel. This year and last, they went out into their community and delivered more than two hundred dozen cookies to local businesses and residences. For Thanksgiving, they held a first-ever wild-game pitch-in dinner.
“We have people that are wild on hunting here!” Elroy exclaims. So the church invited the community to something that their particular culture would appreciate. People brought in moose, buffalo, antelope, elk, deer, mountain sheep, fish, crane, duck, and Canadian goose. Dishes included moose meatloaf and smoked elk sausage, to name a couple.
Another community outreach Mountain View utilizes is vacation Bible school—only, to make the event more palatable to local students, they call it vacation Bible camp. “We try to do things that kids would not normally do in the classroom, and we try to do everything outdoors,” Elroy explains. VBC activities for the kids have included fishing (tied to Biblical stories that feature fish) and panning for gold. “We had a baptistery that we had purchased that was too big for our building, so decided to use it for VBC.” They picked up some fish from a nearby trout farm and filled the extra baptistery with Wyoming well water; the students had a blast. Actual gold panners—some who attend Mountain View—taught the students how to pan for gold in a simulated creek bed using real gold and sand from nearby streams!
Today, Mountain View Community Church of God has an average attendance of thirty-five and has been blessed to minister to up to fifty people at recent worship services.