By Michael D. Doyle
For The Herald Bulletin
Anderson’s Main Street Church of God has been around for nearly one hundred years. Lately, the congregation has been reinvigorated with new members and a spirit of outreach, proving that you can indeed “teach an old church new tricks.” Pastor Don Billey has been at the church for nine years and is proud of the changes he has seen in that time.
“I’ve had so many people come up and tell me this isn’t their grandparents’ church, and they mean it in a good way,” he said. “We’ve tried to keep up with the technology. We’re using things like Facebook and email to help spread our message. There are a lot of exciting things going on for us right now.”
The traditional service has also been updated, with the formation of a worship band and non-traditional musical instruments being used during the service.
“Even something like having drums in our service was kind of a big deal,” Billey said. “This church had never seen anything like that before. When you have a 95-year-old church you tend to have 95-year-old traditions and bringing in new ideas can be an adjustment for people.”
The small church depends heavily on tithes from its congregation and fundraising events to finance its missions. Fortunately, Billey said,
having a small church means you also have small expenses. Billey estimates that one specific annual fundraiser keeps the church’s youth ministry going for about 11 months.
“We don’t have a lot of big benefactors,” he said. “We do have a very giving congregation and we’re blessed with that. We challenge people to be serious about their giving so we won’t need to have so many bake sales or chicken noodle dinners to keep things going.”
Billey said the church has targeted a younger audience in recent years which has provided a boost to the church - people in their late 20’s and early 30’s with young children.
“A lot of our younger members are people that were raised in church and for whatever reason drifted away, but now they have children and they want those kids to grow up in church. It’s exciting to see,” he said.