“We’re just here to love,” he said. “I’m reaching people that other people look over.”
The focus of Vineyard, he said, is to reach people who don’t feel comfortable in other churches. The dress code is casual, and people feel free to bring their coffee and donuts into the service. Most of the members are in the 30-45 age range.
Pam Starkey, a founder of the Danville campus, said about 50 percent of the people at the services are unchurched or fallen away. “That’s what it’s about — continuing the ministry of Jesus.”
The Danville campus was started about four years ago by Pam and Dennis Starkey in the former Lakeside Funeral Chapel building. The group moved to the site of the former Nelson’s Pool.
The other campuses are Sullivan, Paxton and Charleston in addition to Urbana and Danville. In May, nine people are going to Valparaiso, Ind., to grow a church.
No matter what kind of technology is used, Sorrell said, the bottom line is: “We want to draw people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
A sign of faith
Motorists driving on Bowman Avenue can’t help but notice the tall sign that flashes messages.
The sign is one way that the New Life Church of Faith, 1419 N. Bowman Ave., reaches out to the community.
The church does have a website — http://www.newlifechurchoffaith.org — and a Facebook page. But the digital billboard is another tool.
Tabatha Forrest, administrative assistant, is responsible for putting messages onto the 24-hour screen. A message will be visible for 1 to 1½ seconds, which goes quickly — but a motorist coming from the curve near Voorhees can still get the whole message, she said.
Forrest posts messages from scriptures or gives practical tips, as well as promoting the various services and events going on. One practical-application message, for example, notes there are more than 1,700 jobs available in Danville; call your local employment agencies. However, that’s followed by: “Smoke marijuana? No jobs.”