Olivet CC in Center Focuses on Welcoming Worship

Olivet Christian Church of Center, MO is a community of believers that established some 145 years ago in this then, bustling town.  Over the years this church has seen many programs, missionary work, choirs, community service and diligent disciples working with passion to build the community of believers in God’s Kingdom.

Over the years, our community of Center, MO has downsized as the world of technology and large industry abound.  Center is a farming community and is a family environment where all lend a hand and work together for the good of the community and one another.  The brisk growth of society and business has caused Center to become a very small town of approximately 508 in population.

Olivet Christian Church continues to be strong over these years of change in its town.  Our church continues to be active in community service, very active CWF whose primary mission service project is raising money for the P.E.T. mobile units, monthly congregational dinners, Thanksgiving Dinner shared with 2nd Christian Church of New London, Easter Sunrise Breakfast following that service, Good Friday Community Worship and Breakfast, and much more.

Our Traditional Worship Service gathers every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. with an average attendance of about 35 – 40 with about 4 – 6 children as we often have visiting grandchildren join us.

As I have pondered our worship styles and a desire to see a way to interest more people in our community to join us for worship, I began dreaming.  Music has always been a very important and intense part of my personal worship joy.  Quiet and gentle worship has always spoken to my heart as well.  My dreaming moved me to create a new Praise and Worship Service that has become “Journey to the Well”. 

This name came to me through prayer reminding me that as a pastor, I am called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and model what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ authentically in my daily living practices. I am called to encourage others to see the goodness of living as a Child of God and pray their desire will grow to engage in that relationship with Jesus Christ.  I am called to help others in their journey to be fed the living waters of Jesus Christ, and thus the name was created.

Initially, I felt challenged in my ministry at Olivet Christian Church to grow our membership.  For a few months, I spent long hours pondering and praying about how I would be able to do this realizing that we are not a population-growing community.  I was not coming up with ideas or confirmation that I was to be focusing on growing numbers along with the new programs that I have begun since beginning my ministry at Olivet.

Recently, God revealed how my Call and this service was to evolve.  I realized that the purpose of my Call to develop this service is to help the flock experience the movement of the Holy Spirit in their lives allowing them to deepen and flourish in their relationship with God.  By offering this design for worship, it is my prayer that those gathered will feel the power of God and the goodness He has to evoke upon them in an even deeper relationship on their faith journey.  As we have this experience in the 9 a.m. service, I felt the call to develop this new design for the flock and start Journey to the Well.

This is a service that incorporates a more contemporary style of music outside of our Disciples Hymnal, and yet not a loud very contemporary band sound.  The music speaks to joyful gathering for worship, quieting to prepare to move closer to God as the Word is shared, centering music as we prepare to go to The Table, and then closing with upbeat and exciting send-off music praising God for all of the glory and goodness that we embrace as His children.

A pedestal stands mid-way down the aisle with a wooden box that has “Our Gifts” painted on it giving folk an opportunity to drop a love offering in the box as their gift to the Kingdom.  There is no formal offering collected during the service.

As folk come forward to receive the Holy Meal by Intinction, a Prayer Box is on the altar allowing folks to leave any specific prayer requests they choose to share quietly, rather than spoken during our Joys and Concerns in the service.

We close this service with a great inspiring song that will move people to be joyful for their life with Christ, feeling His presence within them desiring to go out into all the world and share their testimony with others.  It is hopeful also, that by sending out with joyful music, this will be a format that will carry each one through their week, remembering their worship experience at Journey to the Well.

While attendance may be light, the spirit moves in this place and God’s presence is very strong for all who come.  Where two or more are gathered, we will have worship at Journey to the Well.

We welcome all to come just as you are, to embrace the love of God, share in joyful noise, be still and ponder in prayer and meditation, and be moved to seek a closer walk with our Lord.

Come, and be fed through the Word and Way of Jesus the Christ!  Journey to the Well gathers each Sunday at 11:15 a.m.  We look forward to seeing you and worshipping with you!

Pastor Laura Beth Zeh
Olivet Christian Church
200 N. Foster Street
Center, MO