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Ohio Simple Church Groups Gather at Camp Meeting

Story by Visitor Staff

Every Saturday morning for the last year, Jeanette Pelton and her husband, Dan, get ready for church. But instead of getting in the car and driving to the nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church in their Mount Vernon, Ohio, town, they simply open up their home and invite others to have church with them. The Peltons lead one of three Simple Churches in the Ohio Conference, and each week they host between 10-15 attendees. 

The Simple Church structure is a throwback to how the early Christian church started—with meetings in members’ homes. When the Ohio Conference voted to incorporate simple churches into its governance structure in September 2009, conference leaders wanted to keep those attending home churches connected to a local conference. So they decided to tap into the Simple Church Network (simplechurchathome.com), which was already endorsed by the North American Division and coordinated by Milton Adams.

While at the Ohio Conference Camp Meeting last month, the core leaders of the three Ohio groups recently gathered at the Pelton home to share ideas, victories, fellowship and food.

Representatives from the three groups shared stories and ideas of how to grow individual groups and planned to meet quarterly. They also inventoried themselves and decided to capitalize on their professional skills, which included carpentry, nursing, therapy and marketing, to strengthen the Ohio Simple Church network and its community outreach.

“God is so good,” Jeanette said. “He is leading this work. We are encouraged, and we will go on growing and spreading the gospel house to house and heart to heart until the Lord comes back to take us to His house.”

The Peltons and their daughter, Fawn Spencer, started their group last August after meeting with Adams and completing the Simple Church online training course.

Now between 35 to 50 percent of the Mount Vernon Simple church is made up of the unchurched. “Simple Church is where your everyday life is the mission trip. We are frontline missionaries,” Jeanette said.

As frontline missionaries, these groups place practical ministry front-and-center. “We were the only church who assisted our local children’s services [department] with Christmas for the foster kids in our county,” Dan said. “We replaced Christmas presents for a family whose [house] had been burglarized. We paid an electric bill for a family. We helped at a domestic violence shelter.”

The Pataskala group provides transportation for people who have none. They are also helping the single mothers who attend their group meetings.

The New Carlisle group members have been giving Bible studies and encouraging friends and family members to host a Simple Church.

Simple Church members have noticed that this kind of ministry has a magnetizing effect and has attracted even more people to their groups. Meeting in homes immediately puts visitors who would not attend a traditional church at ease, Simple Church leaders report. With the growth these churches are seeing, they are hoping to soon double the number of these types of churches in Ohio.

To learn more about this movement, visit SimpleChurchAtHome.org, email miltonadams@adamsonline.org or call (407) 745-1805.