ARTESIA — Michael Joiner has lived in Eddy County for more than three decades. His late wife grew Becky grew up in Carlsbad and they lived in the Cave City for nearly 20 years before moving to Artesia in 2001 to take the job as pastor at Hermosa Church of Christ.
Joiner has three daughters and he raised them in Carlsbad. At the time of the move, Joiner said his family joked with his youngest daughter.
“Because you had a Carlsbad Cavegirl fixing to move to Artesia, and so I told her, ‘if they’re going to require you to move to Artesia, I won’t do that, I’ll let you drive back-and-forth.’ She commuted her senior year and so when she graduated, both her church home in Carlsbad and the church here, which had become her home they called her a Cave-Dog,” he said.
Joiner became a minister in 1977,”it’s been a wonderful ministry,” he said.
Joiner called his late wife, “the ideal preacher’s wife.” She passed away in 2016, “that takes a toll, she was loved by the church,” he said.
Joiner said he has been adjusting as a widower.
Joiner graduated from Lubbock Christian University in 1977 and then he got a master’s degree from Pepperdine University in California in 1979.
Joiner said Hermosa Church of Christ can trace its history the mid to late 1950’s. “When they first started it was kind of a church plant from the old 8th and Grand Church of Christ and moved over to 13th and Hermosa and started that congregation back in the late 50’s,” he said.
Over the years the church had expanded, however they were landlocked at the former location now occupied by Catalyst Church.
“People have got to have the room for expansion,” he said. “We kept looking at all kinds of options, whether to just expand the place there or go somewhere else.”
He said the congregation was later polled and it was decided to build a new facility, “and that’s what we did.”
The current facility is located at 2512 W. Bush, near Wal-Mart and next month it will mark three years since they moved from the former location.
Joiner said around 300 people attended services at the church on Sunday mornings. He said some people can’t make the morning services, so they have a service Sunday’s at 5 p.m.
“We also have what’s known as our small groups,” he said. “They meet at the same time ( 5 p.m. Sunday) so we have a big small group that meets up here, I tend to preach on Sunday night’s, we have small groups that meet at homes on Sunday night.”
Joiner said some of those groups discuss books in the Bible, or they break down his sermon from that morning.
Joiner said midweek Bible class starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday’s, preceded by a meal at 5:30 p.m.
The facility is also home to Bright Beginnings Preschool. Joiner said that meets two days a week and in the future they may expand.
“That had a lot to do with us wanting to build new building,” he said. “We wanted to offer something to the community for moms to be able to get out and that was a real need.”
He said there is a strong need for preschool care in Artesia. “Daycare is a big issue in town for parents that have to work and we want to provide a Christian atmosphere for that.”
Joiner added that some members of the church also reach out to the elderly in Artesia by holding services at Good Life Senior Living and Memory care, which is located near the church.
“Three or four of our members got together to go over there on Sunday evenings and have a service for them,” Joiner said. “Here (in Artesia) it’s not like we’ve got clergy on this, everybody is the same, it wasn’t like, ‘hey I have to oversee this.’ A few of our members recognized there was a need over there.”
Joiner said Hermosa Church of Christ also offers programs for the youth.
In the next few months, Joiner will be leaving the pulpit at the church, as he will be retiring.
“They’ve been very good to my family,” he said. “They just brought us in and have been very supportive, with my situation with Becky passing away. Because the church is dear to my heart, it was a tough decision.”
Joiner said he wants to spend more time with his family.
General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.