Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
404 N. Federal Street, Mason City
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
MASON CITY — Those attending services at Rhythm Church in Mason City won’t find many of the traditional adornments seen in some churches.
But then, few have probably found pastors negotiating balance beams — real balance beams, not the metaphoric kind — during their sermons.
There are few things that are standard about Rhythm Church, which will begin its regular services on Sept. 12 at its home at 404 N. Federal Ave., in the northwest corner of the former Decker Sports building.
Pastor Nathan Gann was the first to say he wasn’t sure delivering a message atop the thin beam — which made a point about risk-taking — was the safest thing he ever did, after a “preview” service on Aug. 29.
But taking risks is what the church, and Gann, are about.
True connections can only be forged with risk and reaching out, he said. Reaching out is at the heart of Rhythm Church.
“The way of Jesus Christ cannot be lived alone. In relationships, honest, loving relationships, community is where transformation happens,” he told the group of 100 who attended the Aug. 29 service.
Service to community is a main tenet. The church has already raised funds that purchased scores of backpacks for children served by Life-Line Resources.
Worship space is large and open, with plenty of area for its praise group, led by worship and arts director Thad Seydel. Guitarists Michelle Seydel and Chuck Humeston, singer Liz Montgomery, ministry co-leader and singer Elizabeth Gann and drummer Kevin Hook sounded like a Christian rock band.
Worshippers swayed and clapped with music pumping from speakers (drummer Hook labored inside a Plexiglas booth to soften the sound) and technology played a big part in the service, from screens that carried Scripture to video used to illustrate sermon points.
The experience was “uplifting,” said Susan Schroder of Mason City following the 75-minute service. “It’s amazing, freeing.”
“Nathan speaks to your heart,” agreed Danielle Borrelli, also of Mason City. “He’s real.”
Four preview services held over the summer, instructing on the church’s core values, brought more people with each service, Gann said.
He said he has been surprised by the diversity of ages of those who have attended, “which we have been happy to see.
And, we have seen a lot of families.”
The church is associated with Convergence Worldwide, a faith- and mission-based group that has 1,200 churches in the U.S.
For more on Rhythm Church, go to: www.rhythmchurch.com.
MASON CITY — Rhythm Church, 404 N. Federal Ave., has a lot to celebrate on Sunday.
The church will be enjoying its third anniversary and the addition of a third church service.
“We’re excited,” said Pastor Nathan Gann.
Gann and his wife, Elizabeth, a Forest City native, started the church three years ago after moving to Mason City.
“You really don’t know what to expect,” he said about starting a church.
Rhythm Church started off with 70-100 members and one service at 6 p.m. Sundays in hopes of attracting young people.
About a year and a half ago, a 10 a.m. service was added. It includes 150-160 adults and their families, and 300-350 people between the two services.
“We’re running out of classroom space for all of the kids coming,” Gann said about the morning service, adding that about one-fourth of its congregation is children grade four and younger.
That has prompted the addition of a second morning service starting Sunday. Church services will now be at 9 and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
While Gann said he’s happy about more people attending Rhythm Church, he said it isn’t all about the numbers.
“People are generally excited to be here,” he said.
Gann said it’s important that people are excited to attend church so they can get most out of it.
Part of that excitement is being involved in the community.
“People will look at their community differently,” Gann said. “Instead of just thinking of it as place to live and work, they think ‘I can make a difference.’”
Rhythm Church is involved in the community through Rock the Block, providing backpacks and school supplies for 50 children each year, providing Thanksgiving groceries for 30-50 families and buying Christmas presents for children.
Gann thinks these things along with Rhythm Church’s non-traditional and welcoming atmosphere have attracted people.
He said Jesus was often seen with outcasts and “there’s something about that that’s contagious. Our church should reflect that contagious holiness.”
“I’m not perfect and no one is, and here’s a place where you can be yourself and everyone is welcomed,” Gann added.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, November of 2013
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