By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff
On South Lake Street, there has been a quiet transformation taking place over the past several months.
The former business of a trucking company is now home to the The Father’s Forge.
It’s a small Christian faith group that’s been growing into a church congregation headed up lead pastor, Eddy Mardis.
“We felt we were called to start this,” he said. “It just came up into my heart.”
The Father’s Forge, he said is, “where the young of today are forged into the Joshuas and Esthers of tomorrow.”
Originally from Muleshoe, Texas, Mardis and his wife, Tammy, said they were drawn to Tucumcari both for their temporal and spiritual lives.
In other words, Eddy Mardis said, he was drawn to Tucumcari both to teach and to preach. In July, he became a teaching farrier at Mesalands Community College, where he teaches seven classes. He is a graduate of West Texas A&M at Canyon where he received his degree in animal science and education.
And after laying some groundwork, the Father’s Forge opened its church doors in mid-July, he said.
Eddy Mardis had previously served as associate pastor of the Amarillo Cowboy Church and helped found the Muleshoe Cowboy Church. At the same time he had also established a farrier business.
Eddy Mardis said he also threw out fleece, referring to Gideon’s tests in the Bible. The story of Gideon says that he knew he was to save Israel when he let the fleece lay all night on the dry ground. Yet the next morning, he was able to wring out a bowlful of water.
Some people have described The Father’s Forge as a “cowboy church.” However, Eddy Mardis said that that’s probably because the church and its services have more of a relaxed atmosphere. “There’s not that much pomp circumstance.”
Besides, he added, “There’s really not that many cowboys” to fill up all the cowboy churches that have cropped up in the Southwest.
Becoming a pastor-minister is something that Eddy Mardis said he’s envisioned for himself ever since he was a young boy. “It’s a desire I had from a child. You just gradually grow into it.”
Mardis, who was raised in the Methodist tradition, said, “I was saved at a Billy Graham Crusade.”
The Father’s Forge, he said, is patterned in some ways like the Mercy Ministries out of Conroe, Texas, where Mike and Denise Walsh preach and minister.
The church’s main service is at 10 a.m. on Sundays and then throughout the week, members of the congregation meet in small groups at their homes for prayer, Scripture study and sharing, Eddy Mardis said.
At the Sunday service, usually two to three members of the congregation are also invited to give witness and testimony regarding the Sunday’s Bible readings.
On a recent Sunday, a woman from the congregation talked before group about how words dwell in us, both good and bad. and that people should be “encouragers and blessers” with their tongues.
“They share with the group. We aren’t very pyramided,” Eddy Mardis said. The purpose of the Father’s Forge, Mardis said “is to help other people to play their part in the body of Christ.”
Many modern church’s are mostly about money, a slick business and entertainment, he said. “We’re not building an empire, we’re building a kingdom of God,” Mardis said. “We try to be value-driven.”
So far there are 75 members and about 50 people attend the Sunday service, he said.
The congregation has a praise and worship team that provides music, a youth ministry and benevolence mission, Eddy Mardis said.
Leaders of the these groups have a similar story to the Mardises. They felt that they were called to Tucumcari, Eddy Mardis said.
The benevolence ministry is reaching out into the community, he said, to have a party and gifts this Christmas for about 30 children whose parents are in prision, he said.
“Jesus didn’t pick anybody special, he picked everyday people with different occupations such as tax collectors and fishermen. We are are just normal people, who live one day to the next. Believe me, when I get kicked by a horse, there are times when I need a truckload of grace and all I’ve got is a bucket-load full” Mardis said.