Real Church for Real People
Pastor Ashley Barker shares in her own words about life as the pastor of Real Life Community of Faith in Morristown Ohio and spiritual leadership in the context of everyday life and community.
Real Life Community of Faith is a United Methodist new church start that began over six years ago in a rural community in south eastern Ohio. The idea for this new church came from a United Methodist woman pastor who saw a need for "a church for people who didn't like church." After much prayer, it was decided to begin the church in the elementary school in the community. This decision was also made due to the fact that a school could be seen as a neutral location for the unchurched.
The church started with 15 members and has grown to 150 - 175. This is a decent number considering we live in a rural area where the population is decreasing by 10% each year. The church is very outreach focused. Our mission is to make fully devoted followers of Christ of unchurched and de-churched people of Belmont County and surrounding areas through authentic relationships, culturally relevant worship, and service to others. In addition to our Sunday morning services (we have a full band, use technology) we do a lot of community projects, including our new initiative - a community garden on the school grounds. This is a partnership with the school, with community members, and surrounding churches. We look forward to what this garden will bring the area.
What is your vision for the future of your ministry? I envision our church having much more community involvement than we have now. I would love to partner with local organizations to open a community center as our area is in desperate need of one. I also envision us growing out of our current location or getting creative in how we worship at our current space. I want to also provide more interactive worship services - using experiential messages, and hands on learning.
For more information about Real Life Community of Faith, visit www.ForRealLife.com.