Small church, big heart

What Olive Branch Church in Marshalltown lacks in programming for its members, it makes up for with a family atmosphere.

The church with just 15 members might have a small congregation, but the pastor feels the word of Jesus can be spread in both small and large groups.

“We’re pretty close,” said church pastor Curtis Jarrell. “We offer more of a family-type atmosphere.”

Jarrell has been pastor for 13 years when he noticed the Olive Branch Church was closed and was in need of new leadership.

“I felt this is where God wanted us,” Jarrell said of the calling for him and his wife Julie.

Jarrell said they can’t offer all of the programs of a larger church and sometimes it can be tough to raise funds to replace something at the facility.

“Sometimes we have to juggle a little bit here and there,” Jarrell said.

Diane Hewlett is a longtime member of the church and the secretary. She said the group gets along well and had two words to describe why she has stayed a member.

“The love,” Hewlett said.

Jarrell is not a full-time pastor, since the church can’t afford one. He drives a school bus for Marshalltown schools when he is not at the church.

The church has been located at 201 W. Olive St. since 1994 and its former location is the current House of Compassion facility. It is a Pentecostal Church of God.

Jarrell said he’s been told the church is too small and it should closed. He keeps plugging along because he knows no matter how big of a group, the church is connecting people to their faith.

“It’s all about reaching people,” the West Virginia native said. “Every time we open those doors the neighborhood knows that something is going on. Jesus is still alive.”

Jarrell is open to growth with new members, but would rather not take members from other churches. Those attending will notice Jarrell’s charismatic style of preaching.

“I’m very passionate about what I’m doing,” he said.

To learn more about the church call 641-844-2394.