By Lasca Randels
WARSAW — Imagine walking into a church carrying a sign announcing your deepest secret for everyone to read … the thing you’re most ashamed of.
According to Jarod Osborne, Kosciusko County Jail chaplain and pastor of Pathway Church in Warsaw, this is the barrier causing many people who struggle with doubts, pain or addictions to avoid church.
“The thoughts running through their mind are ‘If I introduce myself to people, they’re going to know the worst, most horrible, shameful thing about my past and I won’t be accepted,’” Osborne said.
He’s hoping to reach those who don’t believe that church is an option for them with the upcoming launch of a dramatically different type of worship gathering known as 1.1.Six
The service gets its name from the Bible verse in Romans 1:16 (New International Version: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
While working with inmates at the jail, Osborne said he has met lots of people who are spiritually hungry but who feel uncomfortable going to church or don’t believe they would be welcome there.
Osborne’s goal is to help those feel they could never walk into a church or who feel they would never be welcome in a God-centric setting.
“We want to help them feel like they can walk in and be welcome. We want to see people come in and maybe you know them from Fellowship Mission because they’re homeless, from Combined Community Services because they’re struggling financially, an Addiction Recovery site because they’re a heroin addict,” Osborne said.
“We want it to be different enough that the people coming are feeling like ‘This really is for me. I’ve got a facial tattoo but man, the person I was greeted by at the door has more tattoos than I do so I’m welcome here.’ It’s not about that, but it is about them coming to Jesus so we want them to feel welcome to do so.”
Osborne has been in the Warsaw area for six years and is at the jail weekly in his role as chaplain. He said conversations with inmates have brought an awareness to him that there is a large gap for many people between where they are and walking with God. They feel that church is not a place that is open to them.
“The truth is that anybody in our community would be welcome to walk into any church any Sunday morning and nine times out of 10, they would be loved and accepted, whether they felt it or not,” Osborne said. “But for many, when they walk into a church, the voices in their head are saying, ‘They know the deepest, darkest, horrible stuff. You’re not welcome here.’”
Osborne said rather than live music, the new service will be video-driven … and the music will be Hip-Hop-based.
“It won’t be what you’re used to seeing and hearing in your church,” Osborne said. “Let me just be honest with you, it’ll be the kind of service that 90 percent of my church would walk in and go ‘What are you doing? I’m not coming to this service.’ My response to that would be “Good, we don’t want you to because if you’re comfortable in it and you’ve been coming to church forever, this probably means it’s not reaching the people who are not attending church.’”
Osborne said his intent is to design a service for people who are not familiar with church and who may have a criminal background and/or drug history.
“All the things about the service are designed for that person. So if somebody who goes to church on a regular basis comes in and they’re like ‘I don’t like the music,’ I just want to say, “Good. I wouldn’t expect you to like this music. There are a hundred other churches in town where you’ll love the music. Go there. It’s okay.’ Or if they say they don’t like the message and it just didn’t speak to them, that’s okay. We’re talking to this person because they don’t have that message coming to them anywhere in their life,” Osborne said. “There are a lot of those people in our community.”
The launch of the 1.1.Six service is 11:30 a.m. Aug. 22.
There will be a children’s ministry during the Aug. 22 church service as well as a food truck, dunk tank and inflatables to celebrate the launch of the new service. Pathway Church is located at 2402 W. Old Road 30, Warsaw.
A baptism date is scheduled for Oct. 3.
More information may be found on the church’s website.