The vision of Payson Living Word Bible Church is to build strong families.
As a center for training the body of Christ, "Our church is about strengthening families, training and equipping people to do the work of God," said Pastor Clifton B. Richey. "We are here for the community."
The Richeys reach out to parishioners as a husband and wife team.
The high school sweethearts have been married 38 years. Through their own strong, united family, they feel they can demonstrate to others how they can be successful in their own marriages and relationships with children and grandchildren.
Living Word holds small conferences on youth abstinence, the destiny of women, and men's ministries.
A Youth Abstinence Conference teaches young adults the importance of keeping themselves pure before marriage. According to Linda, they were trained to set better goals for themselves and encouraged to seek education over planning a family too soon.
From an early age, the church wants to instill in girls what a great value they are to society.
Motherhood is a career, according to Pastor Cliff and Linda. Mothers/Women of Destiny is an ongoing program that teaches women how to love their husbands, their homes and their families.
"We want every woman to feel fulfilled in being a mother," Linda said. Be proud of being just a mother if that is what you choose to be," Linda said. "We believe single moms and dads can raise healthy kids. We don't exclude anybody."
The group meets on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.
"When God has ordained a marriage, you are not two; the two become one," Cliff said. "Where your weaknesses are, that is where [your spouse's] strengths are."
"By Keeping God as our first true love, God empowers us to walk in the love of unselfishness and forgiveness," Linda said. "All the things that keep the marriage strong."
Strengths and weakness are balanced in the pastoral team at the church Cliff said.
"If I have something bad to say about my wife then I am speaking bad about myself and vice versa," Cliff said.
The church has a youth pastor, a children's pastor and a nursery.
Services are held Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Payson Elementary School, 500 E. Rancho Rd. The men's ministry meets every other Monday. The first and third Sundays of each month are for 18- to 30-year-olds. Once a month a Christian band performs. This Sunday night, May 22, the group is Elliptical. Contact Payson Living Word Bible Church at (928) 474-8606 for more information.
This story is a another part of the Roundup's continuing series on how the churches in the Rim country add beauty and grace to our community.