Living Water Fellowship grows closer to becoming a church
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN Having been called many things, including a Bible thumper and Jesus Freak, Al Best says he wears these names with a badge of honor.
Best and his wife, Jean, are both evangelists at Living Water Fellowship, an outreach of the Church of God of Prophecy.
Housed in a former warehouse on Atlantic Avenue in Dassel, Living Water Fellowship began in September last year hosting Bible study two nights a week.
“We don’t have Sunday service yet,” Al said, explaining that membership would have to grow in order to become a church. However, the ordained and licensed minister expects it could do so by late-September or early-October.
Currently a mission that is being supported mainly by its “mother church” in the Twin Cities, the Bests hope it will increase in members so it can become a self-sustaining church.
“I’m what they call a planter I don’t take a salary,” Al said, who works fulltime at NCE Security Systems out of Litchfield, specializing in fire and security equipment.
The Bests moved to Dassel three years ago from their home in Florida; Jean happens to be a Minnesota native with two daughters living in Dassel and Waverly. Al is a proud Floridian who loves living in Dassel because it reminds him of the small town where he grew up.
The Church of God of Prophecy was formally organized in 1903 by an Indiana pastor. Its headquarters are in Cleveland, TN.
The church is defined on its website as “a Protestant, Evangelical, Wesleyan holiness, Pentecostal movement that believes in man’s freewill regarding salvation.” Al says it’s much like the Assembly of God Church.
There are currently 1.5 million members worshipping in more than 10,000 churches in 125 nations, according to its website.
“We believe in the born-again experience,” Al said, along with sanctification, temperance, and baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The church will soon have its first water baptism on Spring Lake, which the couple is excited about.
While many churches are experiencing a decline in membership, Al said that the Church of God of Prophecy continues to grow.
Al was raised in this church. He remembers attending services with his grandmother.
“I cut my teeth on the pews, as the saying goes,” Al said.
At 12 years old, he gave his heart to the Lord.
“I’ve always been one to study the Bible,” he said.
His life took him in various directions, including 21 years in the Navy, where he overcame his fear of street ministry.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago, though, that he fully surrendered his life to Christ, realizing he wasn’t in the one in control of things.
Most importantly, he really loves working with people.
“I put my whole heart into what I do,” Al said.
Tuesdays, starting at 6:30 p.m., Al leads an adult Bible study. Though it’s been a small group, roughly six adults, interest is growing.
Thursdays is Bible study for ages 6-17, which has had a large response, with 30 to 40 kids attending.
Al believes teaching to the young people is much more effective than preaching.
“I not only teach the word of God, but I entertain in the process,” Al said. “I do some off-the-wall things.”
For example, in the week they discussed baptism, he gave all the kids squirt guns. Every time he said the word, the kids could spray him with water.
“I don’t know many adults who would do such a thing,” Al commented.
After the Bible study, the children enjoy a meal together, typically donated by one of the local restaurants or pizza places.
“We have fantastic community support,” Jean said.
Last weekend, the church hosted a garage sale to help raise money for the youth to go to Higher Ground Music Festival in Winsted in August. Much of the donations came from the community, Jean said.
The kids will also be offering car washes to help raise money for the weekend-long Christian music festival.
The Bests invite anyone who doesn’t currently attend a church to come and visit them.
“I believe we need to give everybody an opportunity to know Jesus Christ. They have to make their own decisions all I can do is present it,” Al said.