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There’s still “Plenty of Room” in the Church Family in Iowa City

If one word could describe the Iowa City church congregation, perhaps it is “diversity”.  Take for example, the various professions of employment of the members. It’s kind of like the butcher, baker and candlestick maker as the old nursery rhyme conveys! Professions include organic vegetable farming, accounting, elementary education, physician, dietary services, construction, financial planners, etc. Additionally, three families home school their children while others learned their 3R’s in public or Christian schools. Three couples are primarily retired, but keep quite busy with many family, church, and personal activities.  

These are just a few glimpses into the blend of people that comprise the church family in Iowa City. While they all have different walks of life, they worship and fellowship as the “family of God” each Sunday and Wednesday evening.  Despite the miles that separate, they have close and caring relationships, share a strong faith and above all, a love for the Lord. The brethren and friends wholeheartedly invite you to visit to get to know them better or if you feel led by the Lord to consider moving to the area to assist with the work in the vineyard of North Liberty and the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids corridor. 

Church Evolves through College Campus Services and Purchase of Building 

While only one student is currently enrolled at a nearby Kirkwood Community College, the Iowa City Apostolic Christian Church originated in 1964 through monthly evening services held on the University of Iowa campus.  Ministers from the Oakville and Burlington churches primarily supported these services. Due to growth and the need to better accommodate the areas where the 19 members were living (some in Cedar Rapids), a small mortuary chapel was purchased in the town of North Liberty, Iowa, which is located north of Iowa City. Renovations were done to the building with funding assistance from the brotherhood. Over the years, the church’s attendance has fluctuated, but currently 24 members and a considerable number of friends provide the normal Sunday worship attendance ranging from 20 to 45. Bro. Joe Gerst started serving in the ministry on November 5, 1978, the first Sunday in the new church. He later became the Ordained Deacon and Bro. Jim Butikofer was added into the ministry in 2001. Brother Jon Schmidgall of the Oakville-Mediapolis church (located 65 miles south) has oversight responsibilities.  

Wednesday Evening Services Varied to Accommodate Travel 

Diverse (or varied) is also what describes Wednesday evening services and makes the church a bit unique. Because of the travel time involved for many families, events that might occur on other nights in congregations where church families are clustered, happen on different Wednesday evenings. One evening is dedicated to a “project night” which includes making HarvestCall kits. Others consist of singing, formal worship service and listening to a recorded sermon. Brethren usually share a snack to extend fellowship after mid-week activities.   The church members are also involved in a variety of outreach activities into the community and are looking at ways to expand their reach. Twice each month, they sing in area nursing homes. At Christmas, they maintain a tradition of caroling to nearby widows and retirement home residents. They have recently begun using some of their project nights to do service in the community. These activities and a monthly Sunday potluck also serve as additional fellowship times.

Rewards and Challenges of Small Church Living 

One of the challenges the Iowa City church faces is the large distance between families. While the church is centrally located, the closest family lives about 15 minutes away. Many members live an hour or more away. The church congregation is also small in number. In spite of these challenges, the brethren feel very blessed. Living in a small church has many rewards including feeling like a family and increased opportunities to participate in church duties. Since the variety of the gifts and talents of the brethren in the church are utilized, they understand how important each one is to the whole and how they fit in. With that, they are able to value and truly appreciate each one in the family. Consider a Visit or Move to the Area 

The church sign says “All Welcome”. 

The congregation asks for your prayers that they can continue to grow in unity and love. And, if the Lord wills, to add a few additional members to the congregation to assist with the work in the vineyard to present the gospel message of salvation to the lost in alignment with Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:19:20) and our church’s four Pillar Mission. There truly is “still plenty of room” in the church family of God.

Visiting Iowa City Church

To visit, check the Apostolic Christian Churches and Ministers book for information about service times and directions or go online to www.apostolicchristian.org (click on “Find A Congregation” tab)