a church that met in a barn in Anderson, Indiana
(I don’t remember the name of it)


Worship, Hippie Style (1980-1982, 1983-1984)

I went to the "Full Gospel" charismatic church God's Freewill Tabernacle my first two years of college.  For reasons I described on my page about that church, I became disillusioned with the full-scale charismatic experience, though I still liked many elements of it.  So I went to another church my next two years of college.  (It is possible I may have also stopped going to God's Freewill Tabernacle simply because I didn't have a ride there anymore, but at any rate, I was ready to go elsewhere by this point.)

I have no idea how I found out about this church, and I have no recollection of how I got there.  I didn't have a car (except for the 1983-84 schoolyear), so I had to get a ride with someone, but I don't remember who.  And this was one of my favorite churches I've ever attended, yet I don't even remember the name of it.  Strange.

Anyway, this church met in a remodeled barn.  The setup was different from any other church I've ever attended.  All the chairs were put in an oval shape, around the perimeter of the room.  There were two or three rows of chairs in this oval shape.  At each end of the oval, there was a microphone.  There was a wide space in the middle of the floor.  At one end of the room, behind one of the microphones, was a stage where the band played.

The church service was on Sunday evenings and lasted 3 hours, but it did not seem long at all.  I had always liked evening church services better than morning ones, so this church’s meeting time was a plus for me. 

We spent a lot of time worshiping with music.  During the worship time, people would often go into the middle of the floor and dance jubilantly.  Also any time during the worship time, if anyone had something to say, they would go up to one of the microphones and speak (such as between songs).  Sometimes people would share a Scripture that was meaningful to them; others would share a testimony; and perhaps some even offered some kind of prophetic kind of word, but this I can't remember for sure.

This church was perfect for me.  It had the elements of the charismatic movement that I liked -- jubilant music, free worship--which here even included dancing!--speaking in tongues, etc., but it did not have the excesses of the movement I experienced at God's Freewill Tabernacle--the dramatic visions and prophecies, the big emphasis on miracles, or the positive confession garbage.

One little yet to me important thing that I liked about this church was that they did not take an offering.  I hate it when churches take offerings.  At this church, they just had a box where you put your offering.  Why can't all churches do that?

I don't remember any particular sermons at this church, or even who the pastor was.  Maybe it wasn't just one person who preached; it was a very decentralized setup.  I do remember there were some wonderful songs that I learned at this church.  The band once recorded a cassette of their songs, which helped the songs endure for me.  Maybe someday I can get one of them into digital form and put it up here.  The song I remember liking most from this church was "You Shall Go Out With Joy," with the chorus including the words, "And the trees of the field clap their hands"--this was taken from a book in the Old Testament.  Others I liked were "The Lord Your God Is In Your Midst" and "Awake, O Israel."  But I liked nearly every song they sang there.


This church was a special church for me.  I've never been able to find a church like it since.  Perhaps partly it's because it was a kind of hippie-style of worship, and by now that way of expression has gone out of fashion.  But perhaps also it's because few churches would dare to be so decentralized, where so much freedom is given to the congregation to just go up to the microphone and say whatever.  I particularly miss not having the dance space in the center of the room.  It was a great church, and if I had lived in Anderson longer, I'm sure I would have continued going there.

(I wrote and posted this on February 13, 2011.)

Churches I’ve Visited is a sub-website of J Lee Harshbarger’s personal website.  To visit other sub-websites, click the links below.

All about music!  My Annual Music Awards, my music Hall Of Fame, and other writings about music and musicians I like are found here.../Music_Central/Welcome.html
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What does it mean to follow God?  What should the church be like?../Pondering_God_And_Church/Statement_Of_My_Religious_Beliefs.html

A list of all the churches I’ve attended, plus full stories about some of them. Churches,_Part_1.html


Stories about churches I’ve visited,_Part_2.html
The “Home” section: my front page, the descriptions for each of my sub-websites, and the descriptions of all the places where I hang out on the web.../Bananaleaf_Central/Front_Page.html

IMPORTANT NOTE: As with all churches in this section, please remember the following points:

1.All descriptions of the churches reflect my own observations and interpretations at the time I attended; these descriptions are not intended to be objective. The main purpose of these writings is to reflect on the effect churches had on my spiritual journey, thus the focus is my experiences at the churches and not an objective reporting of the churches themselves.

2.Keep in mind that churches, like any organizations, change over time. The descriptions I list describe the churches at the time I attended, but the church could have changed immensely since that time, for better or for worse. These writings are not for the purpose of helping one decide whether the church is one they should or should not choose; the church may be completely different by now.

3.Any criticisms put forth in any of my writings on the churches are not meant to be objective criticisms to be answered by the church, but rather, they are merely my opinions of the church at the time I attended there, and how those experiences and my opinions of them shaped my spiritual journey.