Church Focus: Worship without rules and religion

PELHAM &8212; Even in the Bible Belt Christians are finding a need for new churches. In April 2006, a group of young Christians founded New Era Ministries in Hoover. Now that group has moved services to Pelham.

Ronnie Rothe, lead pastor, said the ministry is about more than a Sunday worship service.

&8220;I see a whole lot of religion,&8221; Rothe said. &8220;A whole lot of people who say they believe in God and Jesus, but not a whole lot of life transformation.&8221;

The group&8217;s name originated sort of haphazardly. A member was at the bank opening an account for the ministry and realized they didn&8217;t have a name. Rothe said they quickly came up with New Era from two inspirations &8212; Ecclesiastes 3 and &8220;Turn! Turn! Turn!&8221; by The Byrds.

&8220;There is an appointed time for everything … A time to be born, and a time to die … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance …&8221;

Rothe said he hopes people come to the church knowing there is a time for everything and this just might be the time for a new era in their lives.

The church&8217;s services might seem to visitors like a college ministry because more than 60 percent of the membership is under the age of 25.

Krista Holmberg began attending services five months ago. She said young members create an atmosphere that is beneficial to all ages.

&8220;All the young people invite their friends, and it keeps the church thriving,&8221; Holmberg said. &8220;New believers are often young, and it keeps other members fired up because new believers are on fire for Christ.&8221;

Hunter White, worship leader, said the service is attractive because it is free of rules associated with traditional worship.

&8220;We want people to see what living an authentic lifestyle for Christ is all about,&8221; White said. &8220;A lot of the members came looking for a fresh mind-set free of religion. They want more than going to church once a week.&8221;

White said people can expect a contemporary service focused on prayer, praise and relationships. Worship is held Sunday mornings, but other community teams are organized throughout the week, along with service projects and other events.

Worship schedule:

9 a.m. Prayer session

10 a.m. Worship

104 Court Way

Pelham, Ala. 35124

(Off Highway 31 S behind Sherwin Williams)