We reserve the right to welcome anybody.
- We have brown people and pink people. We have blue collars and white collars. We even have red voters and blue voters.
- We have tots who get lost on their way up the aisle for the Children’s Sermon, and we have veterans of World War II.
- We have people who can play a flute or an oboe along with our hand-carved Baroque pipe organ, and we have other people who’d rather strum guitars along with a set of glittery silver drums.
- We have people who always wear a coat and tie, and we have people who always wear a tee shirt and blue jeans.
- We have people who love the King James Translation of the Bible from 1611, and we have people who’d rather read The Message version of the Bible from 2005.
- We have people who’ve been part of NorthChurch since God made mud, and we have people who’d never heard of North Church until a month ago.
How come there are so few people at NorthChurch?
Our problem really isn’t too few people — it’s just too many pews. But we know that can look disheartening to visitors, so please let us explain…. Back in the early 1950s, NorthChurch had well over a thousand members, and those people put up our big education building right before everybody in the City of Cincinnati started moving to the suburbs in the post-war housing boom. To tell you the truth, it took our church a few decades to come to terms with that population shift, but in the past 20 years, through the leadership of our current pastor Erwin Goedicke, God has fashioned a new North Church that’s very much alive and well as an outpost of the Kingdom of God in the central city. We don’t have enough people to fill all the pews we’ve inherited, but that gives us the privilege of sharing our oversized facilities in the name of Jesus with all kinds of friends such as AA groups, the Northside Farmers’ Market, and sometimes even the Catacoustic Consort. We actually share our whole building with the World Outreach Christian Church. Not long ago, one of the local neighborhood groups mentioned North Church in its newsletter, and they called us “the Rock of Northside.” So we just don’t think of ourselves as having “so few people.”
Are visitors allowed to take communion at NorthChurch?
Whenever we approach the communion table, we always announce that it isn’t a Presbyterian table, and it isn’t even a Protestant table. It’s the Lord’s table, and we welcome everybody who the Lord himself would invite to his table. If you’ve accepted Jesus, you can take communion at North Church. And while we’re on the subject, there are two other aspects of our celebration of communion that might make a difference for you. First, we believe the Bible teaches that the bread and wine are signs of the real presence and power of Christ, but they don’t actually become the body or blood of Jesus. Secondly, our “wine” isn’t wine — it’s grape juice. We don’t want communion to be a problem for anybody who’s struggled with alcohol.
Do you expect visitors to put money in the offering?
Giving an offering to God is an act of worship, and we invite everybody to participate in it. But at the same time, if giving an offering wouldn’t be meaningful (or affordable) for you, we certainly don’t expect you to “pay admission” to visit our church. Just ignore the ushers when they come by with the offering plates. You won’t be the only one; lots of us put in a check once a month when we get paid, and we just let the offering plates go by on the other three Sundays.
What if I’m handicapped?
We’ve done everything we can think of to make sure we don’t exclude people with disabilities. (See our Accessibility Solutions.) But if there’s anything else we could do to make it possible for you to spend time with us and time with Jesus, we’re open to just about anything. For example, we have one member who needs to keep her feet up when she’s seated, so we have a patio-type lounge chair just for her, right in our sanctuary.
What if I just don’t want to be noticed?
We promise: If you visit us, we won’t make you stand up and introduce yourself, or wear a stupid visitor’s ribbon, or anything like that. We won’t put you on the spot, although if you give us a chance, we would like to welcome you one-on-one. And we should add this: We know that sometimes people can get wounded in Christian churches, and sometimes those people just need another church where they can hide out for a while. NorthChurch has been that place of healing for any number of wounded Christians over the years. If you ever want to join our congregation, we’ll literally welcome you with open arms — but if you don’t, we won’t badger you to sign on any dotted lines. We know what it’s like when, for whatever reason, you just need to let God “hide you in his shelter in the day of trouble” (Psalm 27:5).