Teens and young adults gather together at the Walnut Theater in Brazil for the Reel Worship service on Sunday morning.
By DIANE DIERKS
Have you ever been to a church where they use 18-inch sub woofers? It's a regular occurrence at the Reel Worship service, at the Walnut Theater in Brazil on Sunday mornings.
Teens and young adults gather together to take part in an alternative non-denominational service where "experiential and interactive components creatively are entwined to make each worship experience different and vital for the young person who wants to have a true encounter with God," said Chris Gregg.
Gregg has been the student minister at the First Christian Church in Brazil for 19 years and understands the need for a different kind of ministry to reach out to today's kids. The idea for the Reel Worship service began in the summer of 2005 when Gregg and other staff members attended a conference at Willow Creek church in Barrington, Ill., to learn about trends in student ministry.
After returning home, Gregg contacted Mark and Gayla Thiemann, owners of the Walnut Theater, who were very excited about the idea and offered the theater for use on Sunday mornings. The purpose is to attract young people who might not step through the doors of a traditional church building.
Gregg and other church members went to work and adapted the Walnut Theater space to meet the needs of a weekly church service. They remodeled the upstairs of the theater and now have over 1,400 square feet of additional meeting space. According to Gregg, the name "Reel Worship", was chosen as a reference to the theater, but also as a connotation of the need for today's youth to have a "real" relationship with God.
The first Reel Worship service assembled on Sept. 18, 2005, and since then, the congregation has grown to 60-90 regular attendees.
"This is like a rock or alternative service we are patterning after an emerging church service," said Gregg.
The congregation meets in the theater for the main worship service and then students break into groups and meet upstairs for post service discussions.
The group returns to the First Christian Church once a month for family Sunday where students are encouraged to sit with their families during the service. Although the Reel Worship service uses traditional rock instruments and a praise band, Gregg said it is important to have an appreciation for all styles of music and to keep in mind the main purpose.
What do students think of the alternative style of worship?
Northview student, Kaley Huffman, said, "I like coming to this church because they put it in a kid's perspective with a relaxed environment -- I don't have to dress up. When I go to the main church, I don't always understand it, but here, they know exactly what to say to make me pay attention."
Reel Worship meets on Sundays at 8:45 a.m. and transportation is provided to and from the First Christian Church in Brazil. For more information contact Student Minister Chris Gregg by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 446-2214, ext. 13.