We’ve had some interesting conversations at Heartland. We’ve asked one another, if Jesus launched a church today, what would it look like? After some serious discussion, we believe His church would be:
While preparing a message on the book of Acts, Pastor Rod was moved to start doing church a new way … actually an old way … the way it was originally done in the early church.
He realized that most people come to church for a few basic reasons. They want to commune with God. They want to learn about Him. They want to fellowship and connect with other believers. As they grow, they want to serve and learn to use their spiritual gifts.
With a master’s degree in Christian Leadership and a master’s degree in Education (along with decades of experience as a high school science teacher), Pastor Rod realized that people have always learned optimally when they are interacting and engaged in a discussion.
People aren’t equipped by watching and listening … they are equipped by doing.
If learning about God and connecting with other believers are the reasons people come to church, then perhaps church should be be a lot less formal and a lot more personal.
It was for these reasons that Heartland Bible Church was birthed.
Interestingly, Heartland started in a very special way. After some unforeseen circumstances, Pastor Rod, Nicole, and their daughter, Cora, found themselves conducting a weekly church service in their family room. Then, almost out of the blue, they started to receive texts and phone calls from friends asking where they were going to church and if they would be interested in having others join them?
After some time in prayer, the Lott’s decided to open their home to those who wanted to join the tiny church service. It wasn’t long before more people asked to come to ‘church’ and furniture was moved from the family room to the dining room and then to the finished basement.
A decision was made to shift church to Saturday nights so everyone could spend more time together. Some of Heartland’s best memories were created on those Saturday nights! Gathering for meals, prayer, and teaching often brought laughter and fellowship until the late hours of the night. The realization hit this was probably what it was like for the early church to ‘do life together’ and they loved it!
It was at that point they decided to become more official. They chose a name, developed a committed Board of Directors, applied for 501c3 status, and launched Heartland Bible Church.
Heartland eventually outgrew the basement and had to move to a more formal Sunday church environment BUT they’ve kept those less formal characteristics that make Heartland unique. (For example, Heartland opens every church service with an Ice Breaker discussion question to help get to know other people sitting nearby.)
Heartland Bible Church has developed into a discipleship-focused church that encourages each person to have an authentic relationship with God and with others. In addition, Heartland has grown into a church with a commitment to those struggling with alcoholism and substance abuse. Our church takes a hands-on approach with those in recovery and we often watch spiritual champions emerge.
This is our story and why we’ve come to do church with a radically new (but actually old) way of thinking!