Pastor Katie Endicott of Restored Youth Ministries in Christian has been involved in ministry for 10 years: evangelizing at 19 and pastoring at 20. But she is tired of being comfortable and taking church for granted. So last week, she began a new series with her congregation to stir things up. The series, entitled Church Unusual, kicked off last Thursday at 7 p.m. with Secret Church.
Secret church is inspired by a similar program by Pastor David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills. In most normal services at RYM, there is worship followed by a short message. Secret Church is a radical decomposition of the familiarity associated with church.
“Overseas, in many countries, people don’t have the same religious freedom as we do,” Endicott said. “In those countries, they must have church in secret. They will meet in houses or other buildings and have bible study for hours on end because they are so hungry for more of the word of God.”
Endicott says she wanted to have Secret Church services to help bring awareness to those Christians in other countries that are suffering persecution and must meet in secret.
“I wanted our students to understand that the freedom to have church services is not available to everyone,” Endicott said. “We plan on having Secret Church periodically throughout the year, and during this time we will recommit ourselves to the local church and dedicate ourselves to becoming students of the Word.”
Each session of Secret Church involves an in depth Bible study of 10 books of the Bible. RYM provides students with free resources and materials to help them as they pursue a greater understanding of God’s word. During Thursday’s session, participants split into four small groups of five people and conducted an in-depth, teacher lead study of Genesis through 2 Samuel.
As the night began, and Endicott explained the significance of Secret Church to the participants, an air of gratefulness filled the room. During one recounted story, a group of Christians were discovered having Secret Church at one man’s apartment. As punishment, his persecutors found his young daughter, grabbed her and threw her out of the window. She died instantly on impact of hitting the ground.
“And we take coming to church for granted,” Endicott said.
Endicott has a vision for Secret Church that exceeds one Thursday service.
“We will host another Secret Church in September and then another one in November,” Endicott said. “We hope that as we continue, other local churches will join with us.”
Although the idea is inspired by Dr. Platt, Endicott says they are using original materials as they study the word of God.
Secret Church was just one night of a three week “Church Unusual” event in which RYM will be doing different activities every week that are unique and unusual in a church setting.
“Next week we will be doing Pay It Forward Night where we will go into the community and pay it forward,” Endicott said. “We will be bringing groceries to families in need, paying for strangers meals in local restaurants, etc.”
All those interested in participating are encouraged to find RYM on Facebook or in the Apple Store. Church Unusual will continue this Thursday beginning at 7 p.m.
(If your church or ministry is doing anything new or noteworthy, let us know. You can contact Karissa Blackburn by calling or texting 304-784-7329 or on Twitter at @kblackb2)