Who are the Living Water Family Church?
We are a small denomination that was started in Germany in 1708. They wanted to have a deeply personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which showed itself in daily living. Like the other Anabaptists of the time, they practiced adult baptism. Due to persecution, they moved to Pennsylvania and the church spread from there. The heaviest concentration of churches is in PA, Maryland, Virginia, spreading west through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, all the way to California. We number about 130,000 in size, with about 1000 churches. This makes for a small denomination where everyone has a voice. Our headquarters are in Chicago, Illinois. We support a seminary in Indiana, and six colleges, spread all over the US.
In church circles, we are widely known for our practical ways of carrying out the gospel…we started Heifer Project, which delivers healthy animals to other countries. The animal is free, with the provision that the first offspring be given away. Our volunteer service (BVS) became a model for the Peace Corps. We developed SERRV, which encourages artisanship is other countries, by passing a larger part of the profit to the artists. Those are just some examples.
What do we believe?
We believe in a personal relationship with the living Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Bible. We have no creeds, or doctrinal statements to which one must ascribe (not that we would deny the Apostolic creed). We just believe that a creed cannot capture all the fullness of the Bible, so we say, “No creed but the New Testament.” We also believe in “no force in religion”, which means you are free to explore your way into faith, rather than feeling pressure to buy in. We believe that the New Testament fulfills and completes our understanding of God. We are known as one of the historic peace churches, having practiced active pacifism as a way of life since our beginning. We also carry out the Scripture of John 13, which instructs us to wash one another’s feet. Many have come to watch our observance of this, or have participated and have found it to be a deeply moving worship experience. The Brethren are generally classified simply as one of the Protestant churches. We are NOT associated with the cult called The Brethren.
What is Living Water Family Church?
Our membership is about 150, small enough to be flexible and large enough to accomplish quite a bit. Our age ranges from the 80’s to babies. Our worship is a mix of its very own, and not formal. We use old hymns, contemporary choruses, drama, a sermon, children’s story, puppets, some art and interaction to keep our worship alive. Our pastor strives to fulfill these three goals: That you will encounter Christ somehow, that you will learn something, and that you will laugh.
Our administration consists of a board, and many task teams. The final decision is always in the congregational business meeting, in which every member has a voice and a vote. We try to make it both easy and fulfilling to volunteer in our activities.
Our personality? We place a high value on a genuine faith that is not just agreement with a belief, but a life change. Our goal is to be authentic in everything, to not hide disagreements, for example, to be open about our imperfections. We give everyone the freedom to fail and try again. We strive to be a caring family, and especially enjoy the strengths that a wide variety of age groups give to us. Fun is a big value, we all hate to be bored, and we think that the Spirit of God brings joy.
What special age group programs do you have?
We offer nursery care and junior church for pre-schoolers. The Junior High have monthly activities. The youth meet weekly for Bible study, and have many fun and serious activities. We have a nice sized group of college and twenties, who have some activities. Our seasoned citizens are included in our life and not put out to pasture! We offer classes for all ages, some by age categories, with many adult class opportunities.
What other questions do you have?
Post them to our site and we will add that information, if possible, to this page.