The Arrowood Family
Andrew, Leah, Zion, Lucia & Mimi Arrowood
Andrew was raised in Southern Indiana but found his calling in Los Angeles, CA. After pastoring there for 7 years they returned to the heartland. In 2016 Pastor Arrowood along with some amazing unified families planted Chapel Church.
Leah was raised overseas in the country of El Salvador in Central America. As a daughter of a missionary she was exposed to the harshness of war during the civil unrest in El Salvador. She also witnessed the mighty hand of God seeing many miracles as part of a nationwide revival in that war torn country.
After returning to the US to attend seminary Leah and Andrew met. It was meant to be and they were soon married!
Andrew and Leah have been blessed with three amazing children - Zion, Lucia and Mimi.
Check out the blog page for more!
The night God saved me at a rock concert.
For someone who grew up in the midst of Hair Rock pandemonium free tickets to a Poison concert was a promise of a really good time. But for a 30 something pastor who grew up in a conservative (but loving) home in the midwest, uncomfortable would be the best word to describe how I felt.
Should I go? Was this a compromise? What business does any believer have at a rock concert?
CC was a new convert in our church. A new convert with legendary hair! He was also a key member in one of the 80’s and even the 90’s most popular bands. Yet on Sundays he made the drive from the edge of Orange County up through the city to the San Fernando Valley to a little church in a modest building. My friend Jesse had baptized him in an apartment bathtub at the end of a men’s bible study meeting and now he was one of us, kinda…
He struggled on the road, as most of us would especially with a history like his but he was trying. He was giving his all to stay sober, to stay right with his maker, to be a responsible man.
He asked me to come and to bring my then pregnant wife to a local venue where they were to play. He wanted to have prayer before and to read some of the good book and talk about faith.
As we sat in his trailer before the show he shared his story, his struggles, his failures. He talked about being a father and what that meant to him and how he longed to finally be a proper example to his child. With tears in his eyes and a brokenness in his heavily accented east coast voice, he shared the inner secrets of his heart.
We met his band mates, who also were striving for a better life through sobriety with the help of each other and God. Then we were ushered to our seats for the show.
15,000 middle aged fans had come out that night. Many dressed in the same clothes they would have worn back in the day, with their hair teased out they were head banging and acting like they were having a good time. “Highway to Hell’ was blaring from the mammoth speakers and there was a sinking feeling in my gut, a feeling that I was way to far beyond the safe boarders of my sheltered existence. I did not belong. I was in enemy territory.
After some more modest bands opened the show it was time for the main event. Lights flashing, smoke bellowing, fans screaming and then singing perfectly every word to the hits of bygone days, past there prime rockers put on a show as I wilted further and further into my now very uncomfortable seat.
Then it happened… Without warning the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed as my friend took center stage and began to play a song that I finally did know and I began to hum along “…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…”
The devil took one on the chin at that moment. A rock and roll superstar with a history of bad behavior, addiction and selfishness, played on… The same guitar that had worshipped the spirits of darkness was now piercing that amphitheater with a melody of Gods redemption and grace. For a moment the breath went out of that building as God took the stage. How bold, how humbling.
At that moment I realized this was not just about a preacher being there for the new convert. God was using the new convert to teach me a thing or two about how BIG He was and how little I really knew. That he can use anybody and everybody anywhere. That relational evangelism (LOVE) is the way He has always intended to expand His kingdom and bring freedom, mercy, and salvation to the lost souls of this world.
That night I asked Him to forgive me of my pride and self-righteousness. I asked Him to teach me how to really change my world, I asked Him to give me the boldness to truly proclaim His love while I gave Him the freedom to use who He wants to use, whenever and wherever He wants to use them.
I asked Him to take my cultural blinders off so that I could see people as He sees people. Realizing you cannot truly know the heart of a person so put your energy into getting yours right.
If conviction and repentance begin the process of salvation from sin then I would say God saved this preacher (of all places) at a rock concert.
“I once was lost but now I’m found twas blind but now I see.”
I’ve heard it said that as a church if you reach for the ones no one is after God will give you the ones everyone is after. Yet as I consider that statement it begins to play on the part of me I am trying to kill.
I have gotten close enough to Christ to find that the ones no one wants are the ones he is after. Who I should want doesn’t really matter.
Jesus said that he had come for the broken people, hurting people, rejected people, spiritually poor & literally poor people and most of all for lost people. His coming had no ulterior motive he came for the forgotten of society not because it would help Him or return great dividends. Not because it would make him look good to the peace loving humanitarians or because he could have non-profit status he wanted them because he loved them.
We have been guilty of reaching to the less fortunate because it padded our Sunday attendance or it got us on the evening news or because we know God will bless us in some way. We have a lot of motives but many times they are anything but love.
I have met some of the most fascinating, experience rich people on Saturday morning at a breakfast for the less fortunate. I could write a book about Hank the comic genius from West Virginia who plays Hank Williams songs at the courthouse every day. I could tell you about Nina or big Mike and so many others who have touched my heart and changed my life for ever.
Gerard was in his early sixties when I met him for the first time. He had come to breakfast and as I sat talking to him I was taken by his easy conversation and willingness to talk about his past, the war, his family, life on the streets and even addiction.
He was a pure hearted person who had been sidetracked by circumstances and in an attempt to escape the memories he had become chained by addiction. Alcohol had stolen almost everything he had left.
He lived in a tent and spent his days dumpster diving pushing a large grocery cart through the streets laden with plastic bags full of recyclable materials. Stooped and sickly his ruby red face told the story of a life lived for a bottle.
But in the summer of 2006 something wonderful began to happen. As he sat on the 3rd row listening to a sermon on the grace of Calvary tears began to trickle down his puffy cheeks. With his head low he responded to the call of a man named Jesus by walking down to the foot of the cross. When he got there he felt the warm embrace of a savior that had given his life so long ago to secure this moment in history.
Just a few weeks later he was baptized in the wonderful name above every name rejoicing that a life already lived could be reborn. I heard him speak in a language he never learned in school as God filled his life with regenerating power. A homeless man was now the heir of an everlasting kingdom.
It was his custom after every service to come to the alter and find me and tell me how good I had done and to thank me for the precious word. On one of these occasions he came up to me and said “Pastor you did it again.” I said what did I do Gerard? He replied you set a fire under my butt.” I said “ I hope that is a good thing.”
It would be the last time I would ever see him. Later that week he was found alone in a back alley. The coroner said it was a massive stroke or heart attack brought on by a blood clot from a recent fall. Gerard had been complaining about terrible headaches but health care isn’t necessarily the best when you live on the street.
The leaders of our Compassion Ministries and A.C.T.S. programs found out that he was not going to receive a funeral service because his body had been unclaimed by any family. He would be put to rest in a small grave. So we decided to give him a going away party. We blew up a picture that had captured him setting under a Maple tree and we let all his friends on the street know we were going to celebrate the life and death of a good friend. It was my honor to get to eulogize this man I only knew as Gerard. As I shared what little I knew about his life I was overcome with emotion as I realized Gerard wasn’t homeless anymore.
Somewhere In the heavens above, Gerard is walking with Jesus on streets of gold. He is not slumped over, racked by pain, humbled by a hard life and his breath does not smell of alcohol.
He has a new body
He has a new home
He will never feel pain again
He will never be hungry again
He will never be cold again
He will never be alone again
Gerard isn’t homeless anymore.
His tithes wouldn’t buy an extra value meal at the golden arches. He never made a contribution to the building fund. But one thing is for sure his love for Jesus and the church blessed me like few people ever have. I would love to pastor a hundred people like Gerard.
You may never build a congregation of 1000’s you may never be summoned to the oval office to pray for a president, you may never receive any accolades or awards in this life but If your root of true love helps just one Gerard find Christ it is a life worth living.
God said the gospel was a net not a fishing lure. He did not want us predetermining for any reason who should be afforded the hope of “good news.”
This sums up our ministry quest at Chapel North. Proclaiming salvation for anyone, even nobodies.
Lead Pastor, Chapel Church