Friday, October 31, 2014

Church hopes new service helps ‘connect’ with more worshippers

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer | 1/18/2013

WELLSVILLE — A local church is set to add a contemporary swing to its services.

Wellsville residents who live near Third and Main streets might hear loud noises Sunday morning, but they shouldn’t be alarmed. It’s just the latest addition to the Wellsville Baptist Church’s worship service. The contemporary, come-as-you-are service starts at 9:45 Sunday, with doors opening at 9:15 a.m.

WELLSVILLE — A local church is set to add a contemporary swing to its services.

Wellsville residents who live near Third and Main streets might hear loud noises Sunday morning, but they shouldn’t be alarmed. It’s just the latest addition to the Wellsville Baptist Church’s worship service. The contemporary, come-as-you-are service starts at 9:45 Sunday, with doors opening at 9:15 a.m.

The service is meant to provide people with an alternative to the traditional worship service, Dennis Kichler, the church’s youth director, said. “Connect,” which is the name of the service, will be packed with music from a live band, videos and the word of God, he said.

“It’s real hot contemporary,” Kichler said. “What you hear on K-LOVE [radio] now is what it will be like.”

The atmosphere for the service, which will be in the church’s gym, is expected to be relaxed, so people will feel comfortable just walking in, Kichler said. People can wear their blue jeans, have some coffee and doughnuts and hear the word of God, he added.

“The biggest thing, versus the old, traditional church is the relaxed atmosphere,” Kichler said, adding his belief is that the message is what’s sacred; the method is not.

The service, which is in addition to the church’s two other services, targets anyone from 16 years old to 40, Kichler said, but everyone is welcome — no matter what age bracket they fit in. The sermons will vary, Dr. Tom Swafford, the church’s lead pastor, said, but this Sunday’s service will discuss how Christ rescues his followers.

“I like the format of the service,” Swafford, lead pastor for three and a half years, said. “I think it’s going to be good. I feel good about the service, and I like the format of this service.”

Sunday marks the first such service for the church. To kick off the new format, the church also will have a 6 p.m. welcoming celebration and a fundraiser concert with Southern gospel music starting at 7 p.m. at the church.

With more churches making the transition to the alternative-format service, Kichler said, it is important to offer people options when worshipping God. The gym even will be equipped with wireless Internet access so people can look up Bible verses on their tablets or phones.

“I’m praying for 100 people to show up Sunday,” Kichler said.

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