The history of Open Heaven Ministry began in 1996 when Brother Steve was asked by Apostle Chuck Clayton, of Apostolic Resource Ministry, to visit the town of Andalusia. He was told that a small group of people who lived in this little southern town were hungry for a new and fresh move of God and wanted to start a cutting edge church. Upon traveling down to Andalusia and connecting with the host couple, a doctor and her husband, meeting were set to get under way in their home. There powerful prophetic words accompanied with sign and wonders began to manifest among the people and some were miraculously healed and filled with the Holy Ghost. Brother Steve quickly realized that this had the earmarking of a powerful move of God. So, continuing for nine months, he and his wife Mary would make monthly trips to Andalusia from their home in southern Indiana, where they had served in Restoration Christian Church for over twenty years. After much prayer and counseling hands were laid upon them and the church sent them out to pioneer a new work in the kingdom of God.
The name Open Heaven Ministry was given to the church, as Pastor Steve sought the Lord and came upon the scripture in John 1:51 Jesus speaking, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
And there it was, Open Heaven Ministry, a name prophetic name that would symbolize the things that the Lord wanted to do and accomplish among the people. Open Heaven is a non-denominational church presently located at 111 Beasley Street, Andalusia, AL. Its foundation is based upon the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone.
After the move to Andalusia was made and as the church began to settle in disaster hit the small group and nearly destroyed the work of the Lord in its fragile beginnings. The couple who had been so helpful in the beginning left. Fighting through a feeling of abandonment and fearing having made a terrible mistake the small group continued to meet in homes, until September 1997 when Open Heaven Ministry decided to rent a small store front building. It was fun and exciting, but short lived. Soon after the church moved across town in a larger building and stayed there for nearly a year. During this time many things began to evolve that would give Open Heaven Ministry its identify in the community.
The church began to reach out to the teens through a community outreach called Friday Night Live. Many teens came from all over the city to attend our Friday night meetings and received ministry. The small store front church transitioned itself on Friday nights from a small church set up to a Teen Center comprising of games, food and music. Christian bands came in and touched the teen’s lives making a way for many to receive Jesus as their personal saviour. It was a powerful time in the Lord, as the church was finally spreading its wings and beginning to soar. Several of the local stores began to contribute food and drinks to support the teen center, so much that something had to be done or else the food would spoil. Pastor Steve went to prayer and the Lord spoke to him to begin to take the extra food door to door as a witnessing tool. The Lord laid out a plan to minister to the people around our church. He said I want you to show the people the love of Jesus in a practical way by giving them cakes, pies and cookies. He told Pastor Steve the greatest way to destroy the works of the enemy is through acts of kindness. So we name the outreach, Acts of Kindness.
The news of Acts of Kindness began to spread quickly and soon a friend of mine in Nashville, TN heard about it and offered to send us a semi load of food every six weeks. We had no place to put such a large amount of food, nor the staff to handle it. But taking a step of faith Pastor Steve accepted the food and trusted that the Lord would come through. And He did come through in a mighty way. A small church was up for sale and Open Heaven Ministry bought the church and began to operate out of it in the spring of 1998. It had enough room to move the food received in and out quickly. Church members were organized and began to go throughout the neighbor with food carrying with them the theme of showing people the love of Jesus in a practical way. They received opportunity to pray for the sick and visit the elderly shut in. What a glories time. It grew so large that the church had to find a separate facility to distribute the food. The decision was made that once a month, on the third Saturday of the month, distribution would be made. Hundreds of hundreds of people began to come and receive food and ministry, so much that a larger facility was needed. Acts of Kindness’ operation into an old Piggly Wiggly building were things began to grow even faster. People from the community began to show up and volunteer to help with the organization of food and clothes and distribute them to the needy.
Pastor Steve received word after about a year that the Piggly Wiggly building was being sold and that we would have to move our things out. What a time for God to move in! What do we do now? There was no place to keep the food so out of desperation we went back to the church and the fellowship. “Lord we’ve come too far to quit and go back! You have to do something” was the cry of Pastor Steve’s heart. And God began to move in a powerful way.
By the leading of the Holy Spirit Pastor Steve visited the old Coca-Cola building that sat in down town Andalusia right next to the Piggly Wiggly and met with the realtor. The facility was 53,000 square feet and was for sale for $300,000., a mountain of money for that little group of believers. But God made a way where there was no way. He put on Pastor Steve’s heart to call the president of Coca-Cola Bottling of North America and share with him the vision on the church and the need for the building to be donated to the cause. In less than 90 days Open Heaven Ministry celebrated the opening of our new warehouse facility. Coca-Cola’s board met and a unanimous vote was made to give their building at no charge to Acts of Kindness, lock, stock and barrel. Praise the Lord.
The Outreach ministry exploded as more volunteers came to help and we soon partnered with Operation Blessings from Pat Robinson’s ministry. Eventually, we distributed food to over 5,000 families in fourteen counties and two states. During the next ten years we saw miracle after miracle taking place; from multiplication of food, to souls beings saved, to miraculous healings of people’s bodies. Money would come in for support from various places. And great favor was granted unto us. What an awesome God.
Open Heaven Ministry has a two fold purpose and vision: First to train and develop each of its members and to bring them into the full maturity of Christ as their spiritual head. Hebrews 6:1 is the challenge: “Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah) advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritually mature.” Secondly, the church has a vision to reach out into the community and serve it as an example of demonstrating Jesus love to them through acts of kindness in practical ways.
The church has a contemporary form of praise and worship. Our goal is to mature and equip every born again believer through training, teaching and personal empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We have committed ourselves to present the Gospel in plain and simple every day language. We do have a special interest in presenting present day revelation of what the Lord is doing in our day and time. These teaching are in total agreement with the written Word of God and has made the Word of God of total relevant to our generation.