Piqua: The Mayberry Enigma

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This is a guest blog by Larry Meiring, Piqua native and Spirit Life Community member.

Over the past year, I’ve invited dozens of friends and relatives to my church, Spirit Life Church in Piqua. With a mere 20% success rate, I soon began to question my own influence with those I’m close to. After brief cogitation I quickly determined this a laughable impossibility. With such a spirit-moving service week after week, I began wondering why people don’t, or perhaps just WON’T go to church anymore?

Pastor VanHoose said it best a few weeks ago: “I’ve never seen a region with so many churches, so spiritually handicapped.” A resounding Amen to that brother! In an effort to understand the situation I attended several churches in the area, asked around, and have unearthed some valid reasons that people won’t attend church. My findings reveal a sharp rebuke to the current influence of local Christian assemblies in the Miami Valley.

First and foremost, this community is condemned—their past church experiences were filled with messages of fire and brimstone—the classic pentecostal message: “Keep on sinnin’ and the gate of hell will split wide open!” They were reminded week after week if they continue ______ing (fill in the blank) and you’re going to bake in the lake of fire for all eternity! This is plainly a poor way to entice nonbelievers to follow Jesus, yet congregations have been sitting through sermons like this for decades and I can’t for the life of me understand why a church goer would put up with this weekly berating. The message is obsolete, stale and repellant!

Secondly, corporate worship for most parishoners in this area has bored them to tears—they spring out of service as soon as their last consecrations are made. The lifeless, spiritless churches in this region may have perfected the 48 minute service, but the Holy Spirit hasn’t changed a single life there ever! These are the congregations that go with the building, pastor after ineffective pastor.

Lastly, religious people in this region infect the nonbeliever with spiritually transmitted diseases. A desperate person whose life is in turmoil and is seeking God for answers happens into a church full of religious folk who usher them in and mold them into their image of what holiness looks like. They allow no room for spiritual individuality or outside-the-box thinking. Devoid of joy, absolutely! These congregations will have you doing religious calisthenics your entire life, as good as dirty rags offered to God the Bible says.

My family attends Spirit Life Church in Piqua. Pastor Ken Van Hoose educates us how to walk in grace and righteousness. It addresses and peels off layer after layer of self-condemnation we’ve been hindered with seemingly forever. Like the apostle Paul he teaches freedom, a message so badly needed in this region.

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Ken is the pastor of Spirit Life Church. Visit the Spirit Life Church website to learn more about Ps. Ken and listen to his messages online.

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