Maranatha Ministries began after a young man, who had been coaching and teaching math in a high school in Arkansas, realized the call of Jesus on his life for full time vocational ministry. In the year of 1976, Steve McMichael incorporated Maranatha Ministries. It wasn't until almost 10 years later that the true vision of what the Lord had for Steve was realized. Through an amazing turn of events in 1979, Steve and his new wife Mechele ended up in Grand Junction, Colorado, where they began serving at a local church. It was during this time of patiently waiting and serving that the Lord birthed into Steve and Mechele, the desire to plant two churches under the covering of Maranatha Ministries.
The first service began in Steve’s parents’ house in a small living room on October 6, 1985 in De Kalb, TX. There were 26 attendees that first Sunday morning. After meeting for two Sundays, Steve and Mechele were to go back to Grand Junction where they had lived for 6 years to implement another church plant. This church, also Maranatha Ministries, met in Steve’s office on October 20th with 31 in attendance at that first service. Quickly outgrowing the office, the church leased space in a strip mall in Grand Junction to continue its ministry. For approximately four years Steve and Mechele would follow this pattern while developing these two baby churches. Every two weeks they would travel back and forth to speak and minister to each church. While gone Steve made arrangements for associate ministers to fill his place and take care of things until he returned. It was during these years that Steve and Mechele had their three children, Christa(’82), Cayla (’84), and Cody (’86), and the Lord began yet another work in their lives.
Steve’s heart began to grow with excitement because he felt that the Lord was dealing with him about a change that would be coming soon. After a time of prayer and fasting, Steve and Mechele felt God leading them to move back to De Kalb and to continue full time on that field. In the Spring of 1989 Steve made the arrangements for Maranatha in Grand Junction to merge with a sister church, he and Mechele then packed up their things and began what would be the start of a new journey.
During the first four years Maranatha Ministries of De Kalb saw many changes. One month after meeting in the living room, the church was moved into the old Par Gas building in downtown De Kalb. For the next year or so, this would be called home until God opened the door for the next phase for Maranatha. On the corner of Mill and Beck Street Maranatha leased a vacant church building, and for approximately the next eight years this would be the base for the ministry at Maranatha. However, God was not finished yet. Around that same time God began to reveal where the final place for Maranatha Ministries would be.
After meeting and praying with the Elders of the church a number had been reached that could be paid and Steve went to offer it for the land. However, his offer was declined and Steve was left trusting in God that He would do what He said He would. After several months, and through a miraculous turn of events the previous landowner approached Steve and asked him approximately how much land he needed for the new church? Steve told him and the man said, “Well, how about I just give that to you?” Enthusiastically Steve said “That would be great”. He knew that once again, the Lord was working in this situation. After several years, Steve felt it was time for him to purchase the rest of that property, which was now owned by a bank. He went to the bank knowing that someone had already offered well over what he was prepared to offer. Steve made the offer for the price that he felt God had told him and miraculously the bank accepted the offer. Again, one could see the hand of God at work. Maranatha now had 10 acres of prime real estate right on Hwy 82.
Soon a building fund was implemented to begin construction on a new church home for Maranatha. In November of 1995 the people of Maranatha moved into their new church building, calling it The Maranatha Christian Center.
At Maranatha, we recognize that God has a specific plan and purpose for each person’s life. That’s why we say," the people are the church." The broad scope and variety of ministries at Maranatha are simply a reflection of our heart to help people of all economic, social and ethnic backgrounds in De Kalb and around the world! We believe that after 33 years of ministry, that we have just begun to see what all God is going to do.