From Small Beginnings, Church Grows Song, Bible Study Keys to Worship

Article excerpt

As a growing church of more than 20 years, the members of Fountain of Life Church in Lombard find their worship guiding them to develop a deeper knowledge of Jesus as well as to discover their spiritual gifts.

"We're a community that is about knowing and lifting up the name of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Adam Barr, the church's pastor. "We are biblically based, and we hold to historical creeds like other churches. We have a more contemporary style of worship where music is a big part of our service.

This nondenominational church began as a Bible study group in the 1970s when several members of a Christian Reform Church began meeting in each other's homes. Today, the membership has grown to 600 and, while one component of the church is still home-based Bible study and fellowship, there are now several elements that comprise the Fountain of Life Church.

Music makes up about 40 minutes of the 90-minute Sunday worship service. Barr said the services follow a blended style of worship that includes new and old songs.

"I believe singing worship to God comes from the heart," Barr said, explaining why music is integral to the worship services.

Before Sunday worship, the adult members of the congregation can meet at 9:00 a.m. for classes that cover everything from life lessons to gaining deeper spirituality.

Lay people from the congregation lead the classes, and Barr said that they cover topics such as practical applications to family life or finding out more about the Trinity.

While the adults are learning, the children attend Sunday School before they join their parents at the worship service. Then, during the worship service the children leave their parents and go to "kids church," which uses puppets and skits to teach the lessons, Barr said.

Just as the founding members met to study the Bible, the congregation members gather twice a month in small "home groups" to study the Bible, sing, enjoy a meal and generally come together for fellowship. These informal meetings in the comfort of people's homes are where the members form a deeper level of the church, discussing and sharing.

"On Sunday, the congregation gains a knowledge of God," Barr said. "Church is where the connection with Jesus Christ happens. At the home groups, our members become integrated into the larger group of the church."

These options are offered, Barr said, because people approach church differently. Some are looking for small group intimacy and others are attracted to large worship services. …