Church Signs

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.

westminster united church of christ

Westminster United Church of Christ, Westminister, Ohio, Patrick Amler, pastor. (No Church website)  According to the church’s sign, God Speaks!  Fortunately, I am deaf and I can’t hear him. I hear this God is quite the nag, long on rules and obedience, and short on grace, love, mercy, and kindness.

westminster united methodist church

Westminster United Methodist Church, Westminster, Ohio, Dave Burkhart, Pastor. According to the church’s website, their mission is “To Connect People To Jesus Christ And To Each Other.”

alger first united methodist church

First United Methodist Church, Alger, Ohio. According to the church’s website, their mission is to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Why? Because we care about you, we care about our community, and we care about our world.”

first presbyterian church ada

First Presbyterian Church, Ada, Ohio, Patrick Allen, Pastor. The church’s vision statement states:

  • We gather in worship that is grounded and fresh.
  • We grow in communities of support, study, and outreach.
  • We go to speak and serve in the name of Jesus Christ.

ada church of christ

Ada Church of Christ — Disciples, Ada, Ohio, Blair Rorabaugh, Pastor. (No church website)

ada first united methodist church

First United Methodist Church, Ada, Ohio, Mary Jo Yeakel, Pastor. According to the church’s website, Ada First burnt to the ground in 2012. The congregation moved into its swank new facility in 2015.

liberty baptist church ada

Liberty Baptist Church, Ada, Ohio, Lon Taylor, Pastor. According to the church’s website, Taylor is a graduate of Peter Ruckman’s college — Pensacola Bible Institute. Liberty Baptist believes that “the Holy Bible (KJV), is the Infallible, Inspired, Perfectly Preserved Word of God.”  Liberty Baptist describes itself this way:

We are an active and established Fundamental, Independent Baptist Church located in west-central Ohio. We emphasize preaching and teaching of the Bible that is both instructive and relevant to meet today’s ever demanding needs and problems. We believe that God has inspired and preserved His Word for us in the King James Bible. The music of Liberty reflects an uplifting and Christ honoring spirit from our song service to our special music.

Evidently, Liberty Baptist congregants and its pastor think that America is asleep. Narcolepsy is so rampant that the church brought in Evangelist Chuck Harding — a sleep specialist — to help rouse Americans from their sleep. You can find out more about Harding’s taking America back for God ministry by checking out his website Awake America.
ada full gospel church

Ada Full Gospel Church, Ada, Ohio, Karen and Fred Rarey, Pastors. According to the church’s website, its pastors have the following vision for Ada Full Gospel:

  • Preach good tidings unto the meek.
  • Bind up the broken hearted.
  • Proclaim liberty to the captives.
  • Open the prisons to them that are bound.
  • Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
  • Proclaim the Day of Judgment, of our God.
  • To comfort all that mourn.
  • To give to them that mourn.
  • To give good for depression.
  • To give anointing, welcome and gladness.
  • To preach the gospel to all, that Jesus will be glorified.

This is my favorite church sign. I think the message on the sign says it all!

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.

faith baptist church ottawa

faith baptist church ottawa

Faith Baptist Church, Ottawa, Ohio. (No pastor name listed, no website) Faith Baptist asks passersby, Noah’s Ark — Fact or Fantasy? The correct answer is FANTASY, but something tells me that Faith Baptist congregants believe otherwise. If the goal of slogan-driven church signs is to evangelize passersby, shouldn’t this sign say, Jesus Love YOU?

living stones fellowship mccomb ohio

living stones fellowship mccomb ohio

Living Stones Fellowship, McComb, Ohio, Rick Rowe, pastor. Living Stones Fellowship is a “non-denominational, family-oriented church.” Living Stones is affiliated with Foundation Ministries U.S.A. — a charismatic Evangelical fellowship. Living Stones wants passersby to know that humans have “whims” but God has “plans.” Anyone who has bothered to read the Bible knows that many of God’s “plans”  are quite “whimsical.” God creates humans and then drowns all of them in a flood — save eight people. God creates humans, only to then have them disobey him, forcing God to send himself to earth to provide a blood atonement for the very people he created. Sure sounds whimsical to me.

I actually preached at this church in the early 1990s. At that time, the building was owned by a Reformed Baptist congregation. Rick Yockey, a man I met at a Pastor’s Fellowship in Mansfield, Ohio was the pastor. Yockey had an affair. He was married to a woman I attended church with in the 1970s — Trinity Baptist Church, Findlay, Ohio. Yockey, now divorced, is a mortgage loan officer for Fifth Third Bank.

emanuels christian church new bavaria ohio

Emanuel’s Christian Church, New Bavaria, Ohio, Joseph Kost, pastor. Emanuel’s Christian Church is affiliated with the Evangelical Association of Reformed and Congregational Christian Churches. Wow, that’s a mouthful. Emanuel’s Christian Church is anti-abortion, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-homosexuality, and anti-premarital sex. In other words, it is just another generic Evangelical church that thinks it is special. After all this congregation is Emanuel’s [Jesus’] Church. In 2005, due to perceived liberalism within the United Church of Christ (UCC), Emanuel’s Church left the UCC and joined up with the EA. In recent years, numerous area mainline churches has made similar moves. Liberal churches are as rare as an ivory-billed woodpecker. It is not uncommon to find graduates of decidedly Evangelical colleges pastoring mainline churches.

jesus is the answer

Sign painted on nose of TJ Propane, Weston, Ohio gas storage tank. What is the question?

true believers fellowship holgate ohio

True Believers Fellowship, Holgate, Ohio, Wendell and Jean Blackburn, pastors. True Believers’ Facebook page says that the church is a charismatic congregation. I wonder, have we finally found God’s True Church®? TRUE believers, not like all those FALSE believers in other churches.

gloria dei lutheran church fort wayne

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. (No church website) Gloria Dei is affiliated with the The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — the Fundamentalist wing of the Lutheran church. At one time, this church met on Thursdays at 7:00 PM. The church now meets at 7:00 PM on Wednesdays. Not wanting to spend the Lord’s money on an attractive sign, someone in the congregation put masking over Thursday, and with a felt marker wrote Wednesday. Good job!

sherwood united methodist church

sherwood united methodist church

Sherwood United Methodist Church, Sherwood, Ohio, Aric Clark, pastor. According to its website, Sherwood United Methodist Church “reaches out to the hungry in body or spirit.” The church does have a significant food pantry ministry, so kudos to them . Sherwood United Methodist’s sign says that Christian faith takes people beyond what their eyes can see. How, then, can people “know” where they are? I choose to walk through life with my eyes wide open — no faith needed. Faith says humans have a soul. Reason, the enemy of faith, says humans have a brain. I choose to use my intellect to guide me through this life. Again, no faith needed.

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.

sonlight community church

Sonlight Community Church, Angola, Indiana, Brad Belcher, pastor. Sonlight Community Church is a nondenominational church affiliated with the Fellowship of Evangelical Churches. Sonlight has a nice sounding cliché on its sign, but lurking behind these words is a church that is anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, anti-same-sex marriage, anti-pornography, anti-divorce, and anti-premarital sex. In its wedding procedures form, the church tells couples that its pastors will not perform the weddings of people who are “currently living together or having pre-marital relations.”  This documents also states that church pastors expect an “honorarium” of $200-500 for performing the ceremony. Nice cash cow for Sonlight’s pastors.

lick creek church of the brethren bryan ohio

Lick Creek Church of the Brethren, Bryan, Ohio, Nancy Berkheiser, pastor. (Church website) So, only the words in red matter?

pleasant lake united methodist church indiana

Pleasant Lake United Methodist Church, Pleasant Lake, Indiana, John Boyanowski, pastor. (Church Website) I have no clue as to what this sign means. God says, It has been a long time since ______. I guess Pleasant Lake wants passersby to fill-in the blank. Or something. Who knows, right?

peace lutheran church fremont indiana

peace lutheran church fremont indiana

Peace Lutheran Church, Fremont Indiana, Wayne C. Berkesch, pastor. The church is affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod — the Fundamentalist wing of Lutheran churches. Peace Lutheran asks, the road you choose will you take me [God] with you? Short answer? No.  This sign uses the word God in a generic sense of the word. I wish Christian churches would be more specific. What they really mean when they use the word God is this: Christian God, Evangelical God, Calvinistic God or any of the countless other Gods Christians worship. I wonder if Peace Lutheran Church pastors and congregants would be okay if road travelers took with them a non-Christian God, say Allah?

edgerton united methodist church edgerton ohio

edgerton united methodist church edgerton ohio

edgerton united methodist church edgerton ohio

edgerton united methodist church edgerton ohio

Edgerton United Methodist Church, Edgerton, Ohio, Cynthia Meyer, pastor. Evidently, someone at Edgerton United Methodist Church got a Lite-Brite set for Christmas. Too bad they didn’t get a dictionary and a grammar usage book.

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.

st john lutheran church stryker ohio

st john lutheran church stryker ohio

St. John Lutheran Church, Stryker, Ohio, Jeffrey Corder, pastor. St John Lutheran is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod — the Fundamentalists of the Lutheran world. I hate to break it to Corder and his flock, but their “Sundays” are definitely not better than the sundaes at Dairy Queen.

two brothers market montpelier ohio

Two Brothers Market, Montpelier, Ohio. (Facebook) Finally, we have a plurality of Gods in rural Northwest Ohio!

the church of jesus christ montpelier ohio

The Church of Jesus Christ, Montpelier, Ohio, Calvin Blaine Pennington, pastor. I did not know that Jesus made a trip to Montpelier, Ohio in 33 A.D. to start a church. This church is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ in Portage, Indiana. These churches believe:

We believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and is the SOLE authority on every subject. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Almighty God. Rev. 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” God put on the robe of flesh and walked here on earth for 33 years to fulfill prophecy for the New Testament Church, which is The Church of Jesus Christ. According to the Word, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us….” The Church of Jesus Christ believes that everyone must take His word seriously, John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I Am He ye shall die in your sins.”

We follow God’s Plan of salvation. Acts 2:38, “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Baptism is by immersion in water only. The evidence of the infilling of the Holy Ghost is according to Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” John 3:5 states, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” We must then live a clean, holy, and dedicated life to Jesus Christ thereafter taking diligent heed to the Word.

The Church of Jesus Christ must be found faithful to His Word. We must be partakers of Communion service. This service consists of the Lord’s Supper and Foot Washing. 1 Cor. 11:24, 25, “And when he had given thanks, he brake it and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (25) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” John 13:14, 15, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15) For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.”

Watch, pray, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, give your tithes and offerings, so that YOU can be counted among the faithful when our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ, comes back in a “cloud with power and great glory!”

turning point pentecostal church archbold ohio

turning point pentecostal church archbold ohio

Turning Point Pentecostal Church, Archbold, Ohio, Jason Clutter, pastor. (website) Turning Point is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International. The church believes:

On the Bible: We firmly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is inerrant, reliable, and holds the key to every human need.

On Salvation: We hold to the same instructions given by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:38. Full salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ, repentance from sin, water baptism by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues.

On the Deity of Jesus Christ: We believe that there is only one God who has manifested Himself to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. The divine nature that resided in Christ was the selfsame Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Holy Spirit of the Church age.

On Holiness: We teach that a born again believer should live pleasing to God in every aspect of life. The Scriptures make clear that dress, conduct, amusements, speech, and all activities are vital to basic Christianity.

On Miracles and Divine Healing: Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. God can heal, deliver, and work miracles today just as He did in the Bible. We have the right and confidence to trust Him for this in Jesus Name.

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.

butler church of the nazarene butler indiana

butler church of the nazarene butler indiana

Butler Church of the Nazarene, Butler, Indiana, Paul Patton, pastor. (website) I have renamed this church The Church of the Phallus.

christs church butler indiana

Christ’s Church, Butler, Indiana, Dale Rabineau, pastor. (website)

No Christian has ever met Jesus Christ. Christians say they know him, but this knowledge is based on faith not fact. The only Jesus Christians know is the one found within the pages of the Bible. There are thousands of Christian sects, each preaching their version of Jesus. If Christians can’t agree on Jesus and his teachings, why should unbelievers spend time getting to know him? Jesus knows where we live. Just knock…

jerusalem community church butler indiana

Jerusalem Community Church, Butler, Indiana, Merrill Whitlock, pastor. (Facebook) According to the church’s Facebook page, its teachings “date back to before time began.” Wow, their teachings predate the creation of the universe! I suppose the church’s name reflects the fact that the first Christian church was supposedly started in Jerusalem. I say supposedly because Christianity was considered a subset of Judaism. The Bible says they were first called Christians at Antioch, not Jerusalem.

lamb of god mennonite church butler indiana

Lamb of God Mennonite Church, Butler, Indiana, no pastor listed. (website) According to the church’s website, its pastor delivers “great messages straight from God’s Word.” Polly and I attended this church for a time, back when it was a Bible Church. The Bible Church closed its doors and the Mennonite’s purchased the building.

faith christian ministries butler indiana

Faith Christian Ministries, Butler, Indiana. (no website or internet presence) Best I could tell, this “ministry” charges adults $5 a day to fish their pond.

filling station youth center butler indiana

Filling Station Youth Center, Butler, Indiana. (website) According the the Center’s website, their goal is “to address the PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL and EMOTIONAL needs of young people by providing a facility for recreation, fellowship, fun and moral guidance to deter juvenile delinquency, youth violence, drug/alcohol use and gang activity.”  The Youth Center’s website also states, “Reaching youth for JESUS since 1995!”

Here are several of the updates that have been posted to the Youth Center’s Facebook page:

How much more should we be bold to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Word says to AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS! Lathan is giving the Filling Time lesson at TEEN NIGHT here at the YC! If we are a born again Christian, we can not be ashamed of Jesus or we will not be ready if our life is required of us for the sake of His True Gospel! We must come out of the modern, apostate church and repent of our sins and proclaim loudly the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Right NOW at the YC, Cathy is giving the Filling Time lesson. She is sharing how there are Muslims coming to know Jesus as their personal Savior at the risk of being killed. Are WE ashamed of Jesus? Where is our FAITH in Him and is it True? Will we believe and trust in Him no matter what? Are we ready for His Return? We will serve Him at any cost?

Cindy’s Filling Time lesson was on Jesus willingly taking God the Father’s Wrath upon Himself for all who ACCEPT His Free Gift of Salvation. She read in Revelation 20:15 how all those whose names are NOT found written in the Lamb‘s Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. That while we are breathing, we have a chance to surrender our life to God in humility and repentance and have eternal life with God in heaven! Today is the day of salvation for we are not promised tomorrow! Let us humble ourselves and surrender our lives to Jesus…just as He said, “ye must be born again”!

Satan is “preaching” hard and the gates of hell are widening! We, must preach the harder, the True Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! Let the True Church repent and wake up out of it’s slumber, apathy and worldly ways and win souls by the Power of the Holy Spirit, by the Blood of the Lamb the Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you ready for the trump of God to sound? It could sound, and will sound at any time! Those watching and waiting will not be caught off guard. Those loving this life and this world will! Are you living for Jesus or this world? Is your ear tuned to hear the Trump of God?  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the Trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

st marks lutheran church butler indiana

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Butler, Indiana,  Amy Beitelschees-Albers Supply Pastor (January to April) and John Pannkuk Supply Pastor ( May-December.) (website) St. Mark’s is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). The church receives the Stupid Analogy of the Week Award.

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.

church of christ at harlan

Church of Christ at Harlan, Harlan, Indiana. (website) Jesus is alive? Great, I’d love to have lunch with him. Do you have his cellphone number so I can text him?

harlan united methodist church

Harlan United Methodist Church, Harlan, Indiana. (website) Wait a minute. I thought ALL plans belong to God. Isn’t God the Sovereign of the universe? How can a perfect God have plans that are better ones?

new life worship center bryan

New Life Worship Center, Bryan, Ohio. Until recently, New Life was pastored by Mark Holbrook. Since the Bible clearly teaches that God knows who will be saved, why would he get emotionally worked up over certain people not being at the party?  Our names weren’t on the guest list, so there’s no reason for Jesus to kill himself over our absence.

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.

mennonite sign

mennonite sign

30 minutes west of our home is a large Amish community — Cuba, Grabill, and Harlan, Indiana. In amoungst the Amish live Mennonites. On both Amish and Mennonite properties, it is not uncommon to find signs like the ones above. We know that this particular family is Mennonite because they have a power line running to their home.

church on fire

church on fire

The Church on Fire, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Joe Gutierrez, pastor. The Church on Fire, is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International. United Pentecostal churches are also called oneness or Jesus-only churches because of their denial of Trinitarian theology.

As with many sects, United Pentecostals believe that their peculiar beliefs are TRUTH — not just any truth, but THE TRUTH. For a person to be born again the United Pentecostal way,  he or she must:

  • Repent, turning away from sin and towards God
  • Be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins
  • Speak in tongues-the outward demonstration that shows a person has been filled with the Holy Ghost

I did not know that Jesus was running for office this year. I wonder what these Jesus voters — code for we vote Republican — are going to do come November when their choice for President is either Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. If The Church on Fire really votes Jesus, how could they ever vote for the thrice-married, skirt-chasing, heathen Donald Trump?

I previously shared the following photographs of The Church on Fire:

church on fire fort wayne

church on fire fort wayne

church on fire fort wayne 2015-2

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 months.

coburn corners church of christ

coburn corners church of christ

Coburn Corners Church of Christ, St. Joe, Indiana. Hey you, yes you, Lose Jesus? I don’t have Jesus, but good luck finding him.

faith baptist church ottawa

Faith Baptist Church, Ottawa, Ohio. Damn, since Jesus is dead, this means there is no hope for anyone.

st peter lutheran church

st peter lutheran church

St. Peter Lutheran Church, Ridgeville Corners, Ohio. St. Peter Lutheran is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America (ELCA). This sign is on U.S. Hwy 6. Nearby, travelers will find roadside shrines erect to memorialize people killed in accidents. Evidently God forgot to send his angels to protect these people.

north leo mennonite church

North Leo Mennonite Church, Leo, Indiana. North Leo Mennonite describes itself this way:

North Leo is a mixed crowd. Some grew up in this church or in other Mennonite churches, some come to North Leo from other faith traditions, some come to North Leo from no faith background at all – but have discovered the grace of God and found a loving community where they can grow. Diversity is a healthy thing. God created us to be in community and God also created each of us as unique individuals. North Leo Mennonite Church is a family where your experiences, perspectives, and ideas are welcome and valued.

Most people don’t really know what a Mennonite is. There are a lot of ideas. The simplest way to describe the Mennonite Faith is to say that we are Christ-Centered. We take all of Scripture seriously, but we look to Jesus’ life and teaching as our clearest example of what God is like and how God invites us to live. We believe that God created the world and said it is good. We believe that sin creates brokeness in our relationship with God, in our relationships with each other, sin creates brokeness in us, and in our world. We believe that Jesus offers reconciliation and restoration from all our brokeness. We believe God is still at work in the world. We believe in eternal life through Jesus that begins here and now. We believe that Jesus is coming back again. Until that day comes we are called to share with others the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that God has given us – because God is all about putting broken things back together again and we get to be a part of it.

If this sign is true, most of the seven billion people on earth live worthless lives.

frontier baptist church

Frontier Baptist Church, Frontier, Michigan, Terry Farwell, pastor. Frontier Baptist is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).  I prayed my last prayer in November 2008. Since then, I have never had a day where I felt the need to pray. I have found that my time is better spent doing things that actually make a difference.

madison church of god

Madison Church of God, somewhere in Northwest Ohio.

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 months.

zion lutheran church defiance ohio

Zion’s Lutheran Church, Defiance, Ohio, Timothy Reynolds, pastor. Zion’s Lutheran is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Tim is a friend of mine, so I won’t be too snarky about his church’s sign. While the message certainly reflects orthodox Christian belief concerning sin, my first impression was to say, no the heart of sin is RELIGION. Remove religion — specifically Christianity — from the human experience and the notion of original sin and the need for redemption go away. Mankind is no longer viewed as broken and in need of fixing. While the concepts of evil and bad behavior would remain, I suspect our “sin” lists would become much smaller.

the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio the gathering place defiance ohio

The Gathering Place, Defiance, Ohio, Richard Buttermore, pastor. The Gathering Place is a nondenominational church. According to its website, The Gathering place is:

a place for Christian believers to who want to experience the presence of God and mature in their faith and relationship with the creator. What is taught here are promises God has given to us and the walk of life required to reap these promises. We are not here to pass judgement on others about what they have done in the past but to help one another progress towards a better life through Jesus. Everyone is on a different page in their walk with Christ and here we gather to have fellowship amongst other believers where we can come for healing in the physical and the mental aspects of our lives. It is through the power of Jesus who spoke it from the beginning in which we are capable of doing these things so come check out what God is doing here in Defiance.

It is is only March, but I was tempted to give The Gathering Place the Stupidest Church Sign of the Year Award®. I decided to wait. We plan to go a lot of traveling this year, so we could yet stumble upon church signs that would knock The Gathering Place off the Stupid Church Sign Leaderboard.

One side of The Gathering Place’s marquee says, Be an Organ Donor, Give Your Heart to God. So, according to the sign, when people become Christians they give their the blood pumping organ in the upper left side of their chests to God. If we take this literally, how is the Christian God any different from the God of South American tribes centuries ago? Tribal priests would cut the hearts out of people and offer them to their God.  If people literally give their hearts to the Christian God, doesn’t that mean they will  be d-e-a-d after doing so? Perhaps The Gathering Place means for the sign message to be taken in a Biblical or metaphorical sense. But even here, the sign distorts what the Bible actually says about the heart. The Biblical heart is not the blood pumping organ that is central to our existence. A careful study of the word heart reveals that the word means mind or the seat of human will. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

There are Christians who will dig their literalist heels in on this matter and refuse to accept that the word heart does not mean the organ. I have one question for them. If a Christian has a heart transplant, does that mean he loses his salvation and has to get saved all over again?

The other side of The Gathering Place marquee says, One Nation Under Me, God. Meant to be a statement affirming Christian nationalism, my dirty, carnal, atheistic mind thought, so…God likes to be in top?

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 months.

green chapel redeemed church wolcottville indiana

Green Chapel Redeemed Church, Wolcottville, Indiana, Melvin Heiniger, pastor.

The front page of Green Chapel’s website has a NOTE FROM THE PASTOR:

Hello to all and much love. My name is Melvin Heiniger and I am the pastor at Green Chapel Redeemed Church. Thank you so much for taking 5 minutes to visit our website. I truly believe that every individual must evaluate their life. and make one very important decision . What will happen to me when I pass from this life? Will I go to a place called Heaven, or wind up in a place called hell where there awaits only suffering and pain. Some may say that if we do good things, we will go to heaven. According to the Bible, That is not so.

Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

1 John 1:8-9 says, “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I guess now we know that we all make mistakes.

Now for the Great news! John 3:16  says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth  in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” Wow… isn’t it nice to know we don’t have to worry anymore!  Romans 10:13  says “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord, shall be saved.”  That “Whosoever” means YOU!!

I must ask, do you know Jesus as your Lord and savior? If not, do you want to? Is something inside of you saying “this feels right?” I hope you will say this little prayer with me and accept Jesus!

Just say, Jesus, I repent of my sins and make you my lord. I believe you came and died for me. Then arose that I could make Heaven my home. Help me be what you have called me to be!!!
Congratulations. You are now a Christian!

Welcome to the family of God! Please feel free to call and share your life changing experience with me! God bless and keep you!

Good news! I prayed the prayer and I am now a — drum roll, please — Christian!

Green Chapel has a youth program called Juveniles for Jesus. Hey, I just report what I see.

lakeview united methodist church

Lakeview United Methodist Church, somewhere on a back road in Northeast Indiana, Michael Lamarr, pastor.

The church does not have a website. I have awarded Lakeview the Crooked Lettering of the Year Award, given to the church that can’t be bothered to cash in a certificate of deposit to pay for a professionally lettered sign.

lick creek church of the brethren bryan ohio

Lick Creek Church of the Brethren, Bryan, Ohio, Dr. Nancy Berkheiser, interim pastor. Organized in 1853 — the first church organization in Williams County — Lick Creek is known for “steak suppers, homemade ice cream and made from scratch apple dumplings.”

According to the church’s website, Lick Creek “follows the teaching of Jesus.” The church’s mission is to “provide spiritual direction, unity and purpose to all people by continuing the work of Jesus Christ peacefully, simply, together.”

If I were asked to give advice to this church, I would tell them…immediately, without delay, gather up the book the stupid sign message came from and burn it. Baseball bears no resemblance to Lent and Easter. In the future, THINK before putting a lame message on the sign. Hint: 99.99 percent of church sign messages are lame.  Don’t make it easy for unbelievers to make fun of your sign. Will the Lick Creek church listen? Of course not. Putting stupid ass messages and clichés on church signs is the in thing to do.

movement church findlay ohio

Movement Church, Glenwood Middle School, Findlay, Ohio, Eric Ferguson, lead pastor. Movement Church is a cool, hip Evangelical church for millennials (based on photos on the church’s website). According to Movement’s website, the church is:

  • We are about restoration
  • We are about relationships
  • We are real
  • We keep it simple
  • We take action
  • We always look outward
  • We are generous
  • We are about multiplication

According to a 2015 Findlay Family news article, Movement Church is:

a place for people to learn more about God, no matter what stage he or she is at in seeking God. The church places a strong emphasis on connecting to the community with outreach and volunteer projects.

Movement Church, similar to countless other Evangelical churches established over the past two decades, wants to put a friendly face on Christianity. However, as country folks will tell you, you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse, and Movement Church — based on their doctrinal statement — is no different theologically than nearby Fundamentalist churches Trinity Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church. Behind the nice smiles and promises of kindness and servanthood lies commitment to the inerrancy of scripture and the eternal damnation of all those who refuse to join the movement.

faith baptist church ottawa ohio

Faith Baptist Church, Ottawa, Ohio. No pastor name or website available.

faith of the apostles church paw paw michigan

Faith of the Apostles Church, Paw Paw, Michigan, David Harn, pastor. Faith of the Apostles periodically has a service called Jammin for Jesus — a diverse worship experience you won’t want to miss. According the church’s website, Faith of the Apostles members believe:

  • WE BELIEVE the Bible to be the infallible Word of God.
  • WE BELIEVE in JESUS ONLY, the visible expression of the invisible God.
  • WE BELIEVE in one God whose Name is JESUS, who is Father in Creation, Son in Redemption and Holy Ghost the Comforter.
  • WE BELIEVE in water baptism by immersion in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.
  • WE BELIEVE in receiving the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues as on the day of Pentecost.
  • WE BELIEVE in living a Holy and Sanctified life apart from which one cannot please God.
  • WE BELIEVE in the Rapture, when our Lord Jesus Christ will appear to catch away His Church.
  • WE BELIEVE in the Resurrection of the dead and the Final Judgment wherein all who were not in the first resurrection will be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
  • WE BELIEVE in a real HEAVEN with Eternal Life and a real HELL with Eternal Damnation.

Based on their statement of beliefs, I suspect Faith of the Apostles is some sort of Jesus-only apostolic or Pentecostal church.

redeemer covenant church arlington ohio

Redeemer Covenant Church, Arlington, Ohio, Caleb Hackworth, pastor. Redeemer is a Reformed (Calvinistic) Baptist church affiliated with FIRE — Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals. Buzz words abound: Reformed, Baptistic, Congregational, Integrated Family Worship, Word of God Preached with Authority —  Producing Real Worship and Community. The church is currently studying the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Redeemer is also a part of the Northwest Ohio Reformation Society and the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Put it all together and what you end up with is a Calvinistic, Independent, theologically Fundamentalist Baptist church.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

Yesterday, Polly and I took a road trip to northeast Indiana. We drove to North Webster, Indiana, made a circuitous route south of Fort Wayne, and into Ohio, landing in Defiance to buy groceries. All told, we were away from home nine hours. We had a great time, even though today my body is screaming its objections. Along the various roads we traveled, I kept my eyes open for “signs” that showed me God’s true church was nearby.

poe christian church & holy family center

poe christian church & holy family center 2

Poe Christian Church and Holy Family Center, Poe, Indiana. Poe Christian does not have a website. Based on their Facebook page, I have concluded that they are an Evangelical church.

Evidently, this is the church attended by Champions in Christ, whatever that means.

antioch lutheran church hoagland indiana

Antioch Lutheran Church, Hoagland, Indiana. Founded in 1855, Antioch Lutheran is affiliated with the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) denomination. The NALC denomination, based on a cursory search of their website, is conservative, opposed to same-sex marriage and abortion.

After reading this sign, I turned to Polly and said, In the cold winter, skip church, pour a hot cup of tea, grab a book, and wrap yourself in a blanket. Much better than a dry, crusty sermon from a Lutheran pastor.

hoagland community church hoagland indiana (1)

hoagland community church hoagland indiana (2)

Hoagland Community Church, Hoagland, Indiana. Hoagland Community does not have a website. Based on their sign, the church is Fundamental and Independent (Evangelical).

I hate to break it to the folks at Hoagland Community, countless atheists will go to bed tonight with a peace that passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Unlike Christians, atheists find comfort and peace in their embrace of reality. We do not need promises of heaven, threats of hell, or never-fulfilled reservations at God’s Ramada-in-the Sky. In fact, for many atheists, believing in the Evangelical God was anything but peaceful. How can Christians truly have peace when they can never know for sure if they have offended the God who sees, hears, and knows everything? For atheists, peace comes through knowing on a given day we have lived a good life, doing what we can for the people they love.

And as far as paying attention to the “creator”? Evangelicals-turned-atheists did pay attention to the creator and that is one of the reasons they no longer believe. They looked in vain for signs pointing to the existence of this benevolent, kind, loving God.

bible baptist church grover hill ohio (3)

bible baptist church grover hill ohio (1)

bible baptist church grover hill ohio (2)

Bible Baptist Church, Grover Hill, Ohio. Bible Baptist does not have a website. (What’s up with these churches not having websites?) Unlike Hoagland Community Church, which is Fundamentalist-light, Bible Baptist is an old-fashioned fire-breathing, King-James-only Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. According to several directories listing King-James-only churches, Bible Baptist was/is pastored by Patrick Holt, a follower of the late Jack Hyles.

Bible Baptist evidently has some sort of van ministry. Such ministries were roundly criticized by IFB luminaries in the 1970s. Vans were proof of small thinking. THINK BIG, these preachers would say, and buy a bus. Fill it, and then buy another, and another, and another. The red van pictured above must be unusable. It is filled with junk, and weeds are starting to grow around it. In IFB circles this is a sure sign of “sin” or evidence that God has withheld his blessing from the church.

On the Road Looking for God’s True Church

Polly and I took a road trip today to Hardin County, Ohio. We finally got a decent day weather-wise (except for 30 mile-per-hour wind), so I was itching to load up my camera equipment and hit the road. Our destination was a sizable rural Amish community between Kenton and Mt Victory, Ohio. While the Amish proved to be elusive, we did stumble upon several interesting churches as we traveled to and from Hardin County.

mt zion old regular baptist kenton ohio

mt zion old regular baptist kenton ohio

Mt Zion Old Regular Baptist Church of Jesus Christ.  According to an Old Regular Baptist forum, Mt. Zion is part of the Sovereign Grace Association. The church meets once a month for worship. Their beliefs are as follows:

SOVEREIGN GRACE ASSOCIATION OF OLD REGULAR BAPTIST CHURCHES OF JESUS CHRIST.

This appears at present to be one of the smallest Old Regular Baptist Associations. They are however one of the strongest representatives of the original doctrine, faith and practice of the Old Regular Baptist in modern times. The churches of this association stress the Godhead, Inflability (sic) of the Old and New Testament, Election by Grace, Original Sin, Justification by the Imputed Righteousness of Jesus Christ, sinners being called to Repentance, Eternal Secruity (sic), a properly ordained ministry. Their ministers preach a Travail from Nature to Grace, (there must be a begotting (sic) before there can be a birth.)They believe in a Last Day in which there will be a resurection (sic) of the dead the just and the unjust, the joys of the righteous and the punishment of the wicked will be eternal. They baptize by immersion, take the Lord’s Supper with wine and unleavened bread which is followed by feet washing. Old Regular Baptist are non-instrumental prefering (sic) to line their songs in different meters. The members of this association practice modesty of dress. Sisters belonging to these churches do not cut their hair, brothers do not let their hair grow long. They have no secret orders among their membership. Sovereign Grace Association doesn’t however infringe on any of it’s (sic) Corresponding Associations and leaves them to settle their own matters. Like all Orthodox Old School Baptist they deny Freewillism, Arminism (sic),Gospel Regeneration, Works for Eternal Salvation, Pre and Postmillenalism. While there are young people attending their churches, there is no Sunday Schools, Missionary Societies, ETC.. Sovereign Grace Old Regulars believe the church of today has no right to place something in the church that Christ and the Apostles did not establish; that to do such would be adding to the Word of God. You will find these churches are very open to newcomers/outsiders. Visiting one of these churches is like taking a trip back in time, you will often hear shouting and praising the KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS, old time singing and love being manifested throughout the service, if you long for simple New Testament Worship vist (sic) one of these Old Regular Baptist Churches.

first baptist church forest ohio

First Baptist Church, Forest, Ohio. The church is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. If you are looking for an opportunity to talk to God, he lives at this church. Stop by and listen to what he has to say. On July 1, 2003, Evangelist Don Hardman was holding a revival meeting at First Baptist when God sent the church a message. According to Hardman’s wife Laura:

About halfway into the message, we could hear the thunder and see the lightning through the stained glass windows, During his preaching, when a loud crack of thunder rang out, Don would say, “Yes, Lord, we are listening.” He made reference to the verse God’s voice was like thunder. (Psalms 77:18)

All of a sudden, a lightning bolt hit the church and burnt out the sound system, blowing the light bulbs out of their sockets behind the pulpit. We could smell the burning wires but still did not know we had taken a direct hit. Not once did we lose our electricity, so Don kept preaching on Solomon’s prayer of repentance. About 20 minutes later, a women came running into the church and said, “the church is on fire.”

Evidently, this message from God did not make much of an impression on the church’s pastor. Not long after the lightning incident, the pastor of the church was removed due to sexual misconduct.

victory in the cross ministries findlay ohio

victory in the cross ministries findlay ohio

Victory in the Cross Ministries, Blanchard Avenue, Findlay, Ohio. Regular readers of this blog might remember that I attended Findlay City Schools from eighth through eleventh grades. According to one of the signs in front of the church, the United States was founded on the Word of GodVictory in the Cross is pastored by George H. Jarrell. Here is what the church’s website has to say about Harrell:

 In 1990, I fully rededicated my life to the Lord. Then in 1996 God called me to be a Youth Pastor for the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Lima Ohio, which is Pastor (sic) by my eldest brother.

The Lord opened a door for me in the year of 2000 to be the Pastor for the Gilboa Pentecostal Church of God in Gilboa Ohio. During this time I began to learn the Message of the Cross as taught by Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. As I tuned into Sonlife Broadcasting Network (SBN) I grew in the the (sic) Message of the Cross and God opened up His Word to me as never before.

In the beginning of 2011, through some problems and disagreements I prayfully (sic) left the PCG. With the Leading and Guiding of the Lord I ventured out and began an independant (sic), non-denominational church. We strongly believe in the Pentecostal experience, which is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as Jesus promised the people that they would recieve (sic) Acts 1:8; and the speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance as in Acts 2:4.

amish sign kenton ohio

This sign is in front of an Amish home outside of Kenton, Ohio. Not a church sign, but interesting nonetheless.