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On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

As Polly and I travel the roads of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana, we are always on the lookout for God’s True Church®. Here are a few of the churches we stumbled upon in recent weeks.

auglaize bible church harrod

Auglaize Bible Church, Harrod, Ohio, Ben Buzhardt, Pastor. Buzhardt is a graduate of Bob Jones University, so I assume Auglaize Bible is a Fundamentalist church. The church does not have a website, but it does have a Facebook page. I did find another website that had this to say about Auglaize Bible Church:

Auglaize Bible Church exists to glorify God in Harrod, Ohio. The men and women of this fellowship desire to encourage each other to grow in each person’s relationship with Jesus. We exist to show the gospel in word and in deed to people in West Central Ohio.

fayette christian church

Fayette Christian Church — Disciples of Christ, Fayette, Ohio. Fayette Christian does not have a web presence.

fayette united methodist church

Fayette United Methodist Church, Fayette, Ohio, Andrea Cheeseman, Pastor. According to the church’s website, “Fayette UMC is a Break Through Prayer Church. We believe in praying bold prayers to our awesome God.” So, there are other churches that do not “break through” with their prayers? Fayette United Methodist’s website explains “break through prayer” this way:

Break Through prayer is prayer that believes God is capable of making big bold changes in our lives, in the lives of our friends and family, and in life of our community. Since October, 2015 Fayette UMC has been a part of the West Ohio Annual Conference Break Through Prayer Lab. A training event for pastors and lay people, that teaches new prayer disciplines like prayer walking, praying circles, and specific prayer.

As a part of this prayer lab our Break Through Prayer Team developed our 9:11 prayer card. Our church has been praying for God’s break through since October and we have seen many answers. God is at work in our church, healing brokenness, bringing new life, and renewing our spirits.

What is this “pets unleashed” Vacation Bible School? So many one liners are going though my head right now!  Did the pets turn into atheists and now they are unleashed and free to roam? Inquiring minds want to know.  You can read Fayette United Methodist’s latest newsletter here.
jesus is lord ministries adrian michigan

Jesus is Lord Ministries World Outreach Center Inc., Adrian, Michigan, Pedro and Shirley Valdez, Pastors. Shirley Valdez is also a Prophetess and her husband is an Apostle. According to the church’s website, Jesus is Lord Ministries is a place where:

the unlovable are loved, the bound are set free, and no one is judged. Come as you are. Come to find out what it is that you have been missing in your life. Our church is here for you. It’s where God is worshiped in Spirit and Truth. Come worship with us and find what you have been looking for!

the church of jesus christ adrian michigan

The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (The Church on Bent Oak, Adrian, Michigan, Rick Strawcutter, Pastor. According to a comment on the church’s unofficial Facebook page, The Church of the Lord is “the one and only true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The best fellowship I’ve ever experienced. Come and join us, you’ll keep coming back for more!”  I am always amused when a congregation uses a definite article — which is THE in the English language — to describe itself. Seems quite arrogant, don’t you think, for a church to consider itself THE Church of the Lord Jesus Christ?

According to the church’s website, certain people will find themselves right at home at The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ:

People who are tired of establishment approved, politically correct, dry dead and often silly approaches to churchianity. People who have the mental and spiritual wherewithal to handle the truth and know it when they hear it.  People who know in their hearts that there is more to Christ and a relationship with him that mere ritual and mental ascent.  Over the years many have  said, they were looking for “truth and not tradition”, and found it at the Church on Bent Oak.

A old wise farmer was once quoted as saying,  “The problem is not that we know too much. The problem is that so much of what we know, ain’t so.”

In the opinion of Pastor Strawcutter, nothing could more clearly describe the dilemma of the typical church goer today.   Tradition and at times outright shear ignorance blocks the free flow of truth and understanding of the Bible.  Too many churches and ministers today are more dedicated to the perpetuation of their past and traditions than they are to walking in true vision, interpretation and enlightenment.

One area that ministries afflicted with stunted spiritual growth balk at is the area of science.   Because they find certain scientific holdings to be inconsistent with their ridged and sacrosanct beliefs they arrogantly denounce and dismiss out of hand many things that if viewed in a more correct Biblical light would actually make perfect sense.

The following are a few of the primary areas that have historically stunted biblical understanding and have actually caused many to become committed unbelievers instead of believers.  Would it surprise you to know that among other things, the Bible  teaches that:

The Creative days in Genesis are eras of time and not literal 24 hr. days?
Adam was not the first man created on earth?
The Serpent was symbolic and not a literal slithering snake?
Noah’s flood was one of many such upheavals and was local and not global?
The word rapture appears no where in scripture, nor does the word trinity?

Rick Strawcutter has been the pastor of The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ for forty years. His bio page describes him this way:

His talents and experience is varied and extensive. Pastor Strawcutter has a broad based educational backround including a Naturopathic degree and pilot’s license.  He is  the author of several books including “Bankers Lawyers and Judges – the Unholy Trinity”,  “Without Controversy ”  and  “Ten Minute Bible Study.”

Here’s a link to an older article about Strawcutter and his controversial beliefs and practices. In 1979, Strawcutter held a controversial book burning. You can read about it here. In 2014, Strawcutter stirred up controversy over a public sculpture he considered erotic. You can read about it here.

raisin valley evangelical friends church adrian michigan

Raisin Valley Evangelical Friends Church, Adrian, Michigan, Doug Chandler, Pastor. On its website,  Raisin Valley describes itself this way:

Powerful and familiar hymns alongside many of the best new worship songs and choruses sung in a traditional worship style
Bible-based preaching and teaching with a focus on impacting our daily lives
A welcoming atmosphere where strong friendships are nurtured
Many opportunities to serve in the church and the community
A heart for sharing God’s message and love, both locally and worldwide

second baptist church adrian michigan

second baptist church adrian michigan

Second Baptist Church, Adrian, Michigan, Russell Henagan,Pastor. Second Baptist has no web presence.


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    The pets unleased made me wonder too. Though not too long ago I saw this episode of Songs of Praise (BBC) and there was this church where they had all kinds of animals inside the church for World Animal day. There were sheep, donkey’s and dogs in the church. Birds, cats, you name it. It was a fun service for sure and it went reasonably well, despite all the animals.

    When my best friend and I wanted to use a babydoll to play Jesus in our Christmas play, we were stopped because it was unholy to portray Jesus like that. So we had to do without, which was pretty difficult: how do you sell an invisible baby to the audience?!

    Anyway, that’s why these things (the animals in church) cheer me up a little, as a sign that not every church takes itself that seriously. Of course, it was an Anglican church and the pastor was a woman, so it would never have passed any kind of fundamentalist test of genuine faith. (I wanted to be a pastor when I was a child, something I carefully hid, we didn’t have pastors at all and a female pastor was a sure sign of a progressive and unbiblical church)

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    Kindred Spirits

    Re: “I wanted to be a pastor when I was a child, something I carefully hid, we didn’t have pastors at all and a female pastor was a sure sign of a progressive and unbiblical church”

    I think you’ll like this story…

    From female Quaker pastor Peggy Senger Morrison:

    Joyfully Subversive – redux

    A small girl tweaked my radar. She was examining the wedding cake at very close range. She was clearly dealing with the temptation to put just one finger into the icing. She was leaning up on the table. I engaged her in conversation and reminded her of the funny videos where people knock over the cake table at a wedding. She wisely eased back a bit.

    She was about eight. Long brown hair and very blue eyes magnified by thick glasses. She was wearing a dress imprinted with Disney princesses. It was clear that she was all into the wedding thing.

    We talked about how soon the wedding would start, where the bride was ‘hiding’, and when the cake would be cut. We looked over the guests together.

    “I wonder which one is the preacher?”

    “Ah, that would be me.”

    She looked up at me, mouth open, she pushed her glasses up her nose.

    “But you’re a girl!”

    …. [continued at link] …

    • Avatar

      Yes, it a great story, isn’t it? But sad too because she does voice what so many women have been taught and still are.

      I don’t know exactly when I found out there were female pastors too, but it was definitely brought in a negative context. I’ve since heard a few of them speak, and just like with male preachers, some you really like, some a little less. I know of a few female pastors in stricter denominations: they have to be extra careful (preferable more orthodox as well) since so many people don’t even really want them there.

      When I was still looking for a church after I left the one I grew up in, I wanted to be a part of a church with either a female pastor or one where it was clear women were allowed in leadership positions (deacons, elders, something). It was hard to find that in Evangelical churches. There is some pretending but mostly it’s simply not done. Even more progressive churches (that I heard of) only opened offices up for women after they couldn’t fill the places with men first.

      Anyway, now I visit a pretty progressive church a couple a times a year and although I no longer believe, I enjoy the church, the singing and the fact that they are progressive. Women play a role during the service, some of the guest preachers are women, and it’s a lot more of a hopeful message over all. Less fire and brimstone, more about looking after the world and each other. is a nice blog about an atheist whose wife is a pastor which relates how they deal with that situation.

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    Kindred Spirits

    The author does have an interesting writing style. You might also like:
    which has links to 3 other of her subversion stories (one of which is the one you already read) that are good too.

    And another favorite of mine:

    I’ve read a couple of the Atheist and Pastor posts on patheos, and it was interesting. It’s a pretty new column, so we’ll see how it develops over time.

    • Avatar

      Good stories 🙂 She has a nice writing voice.

      Yes, the column is pretty new and he hasn’t updated for a while, so we’ll see what happens. Enjoyed it so far though.

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Bruce Gerencser