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Chicken Barn Bible Study being held in Macomb

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Why did the chicken cross the road ? To get to the other side.

I know you must be thinking a chicken barn? Why would someone host a Bible study in an old chicken barn ?

If you travel to Macomb, you see the mystery revealed. The scriptures tell us that God will make a way when there seems to be no way.

Former Mountain Grove Assistant Superintendent Tom Johns, Josh Shannon and Corey Robertson started the Chicken Barn Bible Study in the midst of the COVID-19 shut down and below is his testimony of how something as unconventional as a Bible study in an old converted chicken barn can change lives for Christ!

“The Chicken Barn is a small group of disciples of Christ who were seeing our churches, Bible studies, recovery meetings and other Christ-based events being moved to online sessions/events or even canceled because of COVID, which may have been needed, but was very harmful to new believers or those in a recovery mode for a hurt, habit or Hangup. Biblically and reasonably, we decided to start meeting in a chicken barn converted into a farm maintenance shop,” Johns said.

“Three men met that first week almost two years ago. As we watched needless relapses and backsliding occurrences, we took action to provide a safe place for the gathering of both sinners and saints.”

As the group grew, a non-profit was established. Pasco Portus Discipleship was created. Pasco Portus is the name of the farm where the chicken barn is located.

The name is Latin for pasture haven. It seemed very appropriate for God’s flock to meet and study/share.

Little did Johns know that the name his wife gave the farm 20 years ago would be so meaningful for him and others today. The group has between 12-20 men that meet every Friday.

It is a very relaxed and is a private time for men to grow.

There is praise and worship each week.

They are blessed with live music and have had three ordained pastors attend. There are nights where a homeless person may be sitting next to a millionaire as they both contribute to the topic of the night.

“It seems that each week the Holy Spirit takes us in the direction we need to go,” Johns said.

Nights where a person’s burden turns the group immediately to a group prayer. Or a discussion that hits a wound that may have not been truly healed.

The chicken barn is not a place to just get a feel good moment, it’s a repentance and make disciples mission; there have been salvations and there have been fallen men coming back to the word.

Some will snuggle up to the wood stove, others pull a chair up to the table while some may take a brake for a smoke while sitting on a work bench. The commonality is that none of them bring a mask in the door. Almost an oxymoron of typical church attendance. These men meet to learn and grow in Christ.

When asked what his vision for the Chicken Barn was Johns replied, “There is no real ‘vision’ for the barn, I would say that there is an expectant hope that we are doing what Christ commanded of us. A hope and faith that He will direct us on how and if we specifically grow. Most importantly, we strive to grow His kingdom by our walk and hearts through the discipleship we are to do. I am always amazed at how our churches start and stop discipleship classes to teach believers how to do the their job that is written and explained in scripture. We don’t need another book by ‘so and so’ to teach us how to be a disciple. Christ lived it. That’s why we meet weekly to study His Word.”

Corey Robertson, co-founder of Pasco Portus, says he thinks it takes the pressure of church out of discipleship. This makes it more accessible to those who might not regularly attend church. He noted that the chicken barn removes the stigma of church. He most enjoys seeing those who have been church hurt come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He says he feels that the chicken barn is a great tool for those whom are seeking a ‘safe haven’ or a place to search for their salvation, or even if they just need to vent with a group of men who are choosing to walk out their faith through love, obedience and discipleship with the Bible being the foundation on which the group studies and learns. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Co-founder Josh Shannon said, “Our goal wasn’t just to start another meeting or recovery program. We knew that the only answer to fix us was God, that’s it, nothing else, period. The idea was to create a close knit brotherhood of Christ followers, brothers in Christ who will hold each other accountable and seek healing and freedom through prayer and studying the Word together. Being accountable to each other, helps us stay focused on God and our relationship with Him. We know that there is no other way, except with God, and through God, anything is possible. The goal was and still is to develop a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and our brothers in Christ.”

On average, 12-20 men from many different denominations meet every Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the suburbs of Macomb (1649 Clouse Rd.).

“We don’t really have an end time, but normally men begin leaving about 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.,” he said. “Our latest night was 11:30 p.m. There’s always coffee and sometimes snacks or food. We’ve yet to have a night where God didn’t show up and move. I spent 20 years as a typical ‘church member’ going through the process of maintaining my ‘fire insurance’ faith. It wasn’t until I was taken to ground zero that I finally started to understand the bigger picture. The more I die to my worldly life, the more Christ lives. I began to understand my purpose was way higher on the list than my position or status. I also began to see the social economic differences of those who are seeking Christ verses those knowing of Christ. I never really thought about what God’s ‘will’ was for my life. Then I wanted to know and learned that as long as I chase Him that ‘will’ becomes clear. My personality often offends people (especially the ladies-sorry) and some churches. But as I watch more and more churches die, I realize little has changed in 2,000 years. Some of Paul’s letters to the church were intended to offend them (I Corinthians 7). The concept of preaching Christ crucified in a challenging and convicting manner left the pulpit so as not to offend somebody or one of the many committees they ‘fall’ under-position or purpose. That’s why we have a Chicken Barn Discipleship. We are there to be challenged, convicted and to learn more.”

For more information about attending the Bible study or contributing to the discipleship fund, contact Tom Johns.

You can email pascoportus@gmail.com or reach him via cell phone 417-926-2449.

You can also call Josh Shannon at 417-349-1786 or Corey Robertson at 417-259-4844.

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