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Changes At Church Receive National Notice

By Staff | Aug 19, 2009

“Small towns and small congregations are a launch pad for new stuff,” explained Dave Roberts, pastor of New Martinsville’s Presbyterian Church on 59 Benjamin Drive.

Roberts has been doing notable changes in his church sermons, which has gotten the church national recognition by the Presbyterian denomination.

According to Roberts, he started out doing the sermons with a picture on an easel and from there it went to a projector with a screen. They now have a screen permanently mounted in the sanctuary on which videos can now be integrated within the sermons. They are also doing sections of “acting out” the sermons.

He stressed that this involves the whole congregation-including the decision of the mounted screen in the church. “They are moving things forward, they are having a say in it,” added Roberts explaining the process.

He has noted that much younger couples are coming to the church and he is baptizing new attendees.

The executive director of the Presbyterian Media Mission was invited by Revered Roberts to come to the church to experience this different way of reaching out to people.

This is how the New Martinsville Presbyterian Church got on the national Presbyterian Web site-having two articles posted there.

In one of the articles from the month of July, on the Presbyterian Media Mission Web site, it explained the different ways Roberts involves the congregation.

In one Sunday service. he asked members, if able, to go out outside the church with garbage bags, gloves, and sticks to collect and clean up garbage on the church property and surrounding neighborhood. They were provided 20-30 minutes to complete the task. Those unable to participate remained in the church to pray and sing songs of creation.

As folks returned, Roberts took the trash and began fashioning them in the front of the church for all to see the sort of a design he was working on creating.

Then they realized he was forming a cross. This sent the message that God doesn’t make junk. This moved the congregation into seeing the possibility of more experimental types of worship of God in the future of the church.

“I just want to move them, not shock them,” explained Roberts, telling of the different ways to reach people in the church. He uses the message of hope and says the city of New Martinsville can be found as he uses creativity and imagination to contribute to the world.

“Next week I am using a song from Nickelback (current rock band) in my sermon,” Roberts noted cheerfully recently. As to sermon time during church, “I’m definitely not seeing any heads nodding going to sleep,” he explained.

Those interested in more information may call the church at (304) 455-6787. Service is Sunday mornings at 10:45 a.m.