Unconventional Worship Service Helps Smith County Church Grow - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/19/06-Tyler

Unconventional Worship Service Helps Smith County Church Grow

Members of Lane's Chapel United Methodist Church broke ground on a new sanctuary this afternoon . The 1,000 member church is planning for growth, building a new sanctuary, which will seat about 1,200 people.

It's a bold move considering the millions of people who are leaving traditional, Protestant denominations for more Evangelical churches. KLTV 7 News spoke with the pastor and members of the congregation who say the reason they're growing is because they're embracing change rather than resisting it.

The music is contemporary.  From the pulpit, Brother Lou Thomas talks about intercessory prayer and miraculous healing.  "They came down to the front, and I anointed them with oil, and a community of our congregation laid hands on them," said Thomas.

It's a far cry from the traditional services so many Methodists are used to.  But for this church, it seems to be working. The 1,000 member church has new families, like Sam and Vicki Knox, joining almost every week.

"This is a nice mix of contemporary, yet it's not so far out there that people who come from the traditional, conservative side cannot relate," said Vicki.

Chad Adcock, 24, just joined the church this summer.  "Myself and my friends are looking for the more upbeat, have-fun-at-church, instead of the 'put-you-to-sleep' slow music," said Chad.

With all of the growth, Lane's Chapel United Methodist is defying a denominational trend.  In the past five years, more than 2 million people have left the United Methodist Church.

Edith Parrot, the oldest member of the congregation, remembers when Brother Lou first came to the church. She says there were only seven members, and not a single child among them. She says while she misses some of the more traditional elements of worship, she's happy to see so many people in church each week.

"He [Lou] has been a fantastic minister for us," said Edith.

Lane's Chapel United Methodist is located near rapidly-expanding towns like Flint, Gresham, and Bullard. Brother Lou hopes that his church's unconventional worship style will draw people in who may not have come to church otherwise.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting. lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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