A new non denominational, Christian praise and worship service is coming to Jacksonville, and just as the title suggests, all are invited to attend The Invitation. Kevin Hembrough, of rural Jacksonville, is serving as chairman of this new service, but according to him, he is simply following God’s orders.
Hembrough, who is a member of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, serves as a lay speaker within the United Methodist Church. As a lay speaker he is trained to lead worship services in the absence of a church’s regular pastor. Hembrough frequently travels to various other United Methodist Churches and attends Christian based seminars.
One such event that Hembrough, along with his wife Mary Hembrough, attended last year was a discipleship weekend, held in Dyersburg, Tennessee. The conference, which was sponsored by Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, focused on ways to increase church attendance. During the weekend Hembrough learned about various programs designed for individuals who do not belong to a church.
Once Hembrough returned home from the Tennessee, he felt inspired by God to put into practice all he had learned from the conference. He quickly grabbed a notebook and began writing down plans for a new praise and worship service in Jacksonville, aimed to reach those who are not currently attending a church.
“For years my prayer has been for people who aren’t going to church. I think I’m a poster child for a person who can come up with all the reasons in the world as to why not to go to church, because I used them for years,” said Hembrough.
Hembrough wanted The Invitation to be a non denominational service; however, he felt that it needed to be held in a sanctuary. With the criteria narrowed down, the Liberty Church, located on the grounds of the Prairie Land Heritage Museum Institute in Jacksonville, was an ideal location.
Liberty Church, which was originally located west of Jacksonville, was transported to its current location more than 20 years ago. The church, which dates back to the 1800’s, currently holds worship services on the first Sunday of each month, however, the Prairie Land Heritage Museum Institute’s Board of Directors was interested in utilizing the church more. Thus the board agreed to allow Liberty Church to serve as the home for The Invitation.
The new service, which will be held weekly on Thursdays at 7:00 PM beginning June 12th, will be completely led by volunteers, and feature contemporary music. The Invitation will operate under the mission to reach people who are not regularly attending church, to introduce them to the person of Jesus Christ through scripture, testimony, message and song, and to encourage membership in a local church.
“This is not a church, nor is this a new church. It is a supplement to the church, much like a vitamin would be a supplement compared to prescribed medicine. The main thing is to introduce people who are not regularly attending church to Jesus Christ and encourage them into a regular congregation,” explained Hembrough.
For more information about The Invitation or to assist with the new service, individuals are invited to contact Hembrough at 217-742-5613.