Vista Church – San Manuel

Join us at Vista Church San Manuel at 4 pm every Sunday and experience faith, fellowship, food and fun!  There will be Sunday school for the kids, as well as nursery care.  We look forward to seeing you there!  You’ll find us at the Community Presbyterian Church, 801 McNab Pkwy in San Manuel.
Livestreaming over the internet and the ability to record and play back a worship service at any time and any place has given us wide possibilities to get out the message of Jesus Christ. Once the initial investment of equipment has been made, the cost of sending out our worship service for the world to join with us is virtually nil.
We have been Livestreaming our worship services for almost two years and have people joining in worship every Sunday from across the United States. We have had people join us from Australia to Switzerland. There is a regular group of people (between 25 and 50) who join us every Sunday. “We” are Vista de la Montana United Methodist Church of Catalina. Vista Church is much shorter, so I will use that name in the future.
In June of 2017 as I was walking and praying it occurred to me, we could use the Livestreaming of our services to start and support Satellite Fellowships of our church in the smaller communities of Arizona. A “local church” start or the beginning of a Fellowship as it is currently done in our denomination is an enormously expensive proposition. With land, building and personnel, it can easily run a million dollars over a 3-year period. Land, buildings and personnel is not what church is all about! The church is about the message of God’s love revealed to us in Jesus. It’s about groups of people drawn together by this message of love who work to live out that message with each other and their community. Christianity is as much about belonging as believing.
So, Vista Church and a grant is taking care of all the costs of starting Satellite Fellowships. Our intention is not to own any property, but either rent or borrow space. Our intention is to bring together people who would like to help us grow this new way of being the church and worshiping God in the age of the internet.
We will be gathering Sundays at 4pm starting January 20th, at the Community Presbyterian Church at 801 McNab Pkwy in San Manuel. We will be practicing what I call the “4fs”: food, fellowship, fun and faith. I encourage you to watch us online at You can join us live on Sundays or join in previously recorded worship services. Watch for future articles.
Some have asked what is the difference between a “Satellite Fellowship” and a “Local Church” besides the location? The modern phenomena of “Home Churches” opening up “Satellite Churches” is one in which I believe the Home church remains in a closer relationship with the Satellite Fellowship. Rather than starting a fellowship with the intention that the Satellite Fellowship becomes at some point a total separate local church, the two or more worshipping communities share a common ministry and mission only separated by location.
In a Home Church/Satellite Fellowship the members of the Satellite Fellowship are members of the Home Church and vice a versa. The precedence for this in our Denomination, which is United Methodist, is that when you become a member of a Local United Methodist Church you are a “United Methodist”. From that point on when you move from one UM Church to another you simply transfer your letter of membership to the new Church.
We as Methodists are really big on “Belonging and Believing”. We believe that when God calls us into a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, God calls us into a relationship with other believers to strengthen our belief and join with them in ministry and mission. We believe we can do more together than we can do separately. There is more power in our common ministry and mission than we can exercise as individuals.
These two words, “ministry and mission” are often used interchangeable, but here is where I see the difference. “Ministry” is what the local church does for itself. Examples are: worship, Bible Studies, Sunday School, potlucks and fellowship events etc. Mission is what we do for others outside our local church. Examples of mission for Vista Church is that we support Family First, The Community Food Bank, Impact, and our work in Agua Prieta Mexico with the Fuente de Vida Methodist church along with many others.
A crossover of ministry and mission is our “Prayer Shawl Ministry”. These prayer shawls are crocheted and prayed over by a group of women in our church and then they are consecrated and blessed in our worship services. The “Prayer Shawls” are then distributed to members and friends both within and without the church who are in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation and hospice situations. Several people in the past two years have gone home to God, either wrapped in a prayer shawl, or covered by one and in a real sense covered by our prayers as God accepts them home. You don’t have to be a member to be involved in such a ministry/mission you just need to know how to knit or crochet and like to pray as you work.
I and Vista Church Catalina are looking forward to working in partnership with the people of San Manuel as we begin worship there on Sunday January 20th at 4pm at the Community Presbyterian Church 801 McNab Pkwy in San Manuel.
In Christ,  Rev. Fred C. Baum,  Vista Church