Church Named ‘Heritage’ Looks Forward to a Blessed Past
By Carl Stagner
“At Heritage Church of God we try to be the church of your fondest memories.” These words greet the visitor to the online home of Heritage Church of God, a thriving congregation in Maumee, Ohio. Without proper context, this goal of the church may confuse some—especially peers in the ministry. But the words that follow offer insight into this portion of the church’s vision.
“[Heritage seeks to be] the church where you dedicated your life to Christ, where you were baptized, and where you met your best friends. We allow the Spirit of God to lead us into the good paths.” The church that Robert Fry pastors is reaching a niche of the culture that still longs for a truth that is not watered down and a family that is as genuine as it is active and alive. Heritage Church of God is a place where memories of the life-changing kind are made!
“It seems everyone has a church they remember that was the best of the best,” Fry explains, “and where the fellowship and friendship was wonderful. It was the place where you gave your life to the Lord, the place where you were baptized, the place where you were married and where you dedicated your children. The place where you play softball, golf, and prayed for and visited the sick.”
A mission statement, vision, and goals do not alone satisfy Heritage Church of God. This congregation is doing whatever it can to make their church the place where you were saved and sanctified. On Wednesday evenings, the church now serves a meal to meet a very practical need. “I saw that kids were eating McDonald’s as they walked in the door on Wednesday night,” Fry recalls. “I saw families arrive late because the mothers needed to cook something quickly before church. So I personally started cooking hot dogs and making KoolAid on Wednesday nights. Then one of our retired men asked if he could help; it was nothing fancy, but more and more men started helping; they wanted to do it right. I was doing less every week.” Today the Wednesday evening dinner ministry is run by a proud group of guys who call themselves Men in the Kitchen. Each week during the season, these men prepare a meal for 130 guests.
Holding church services on days other than Sunday is becoming a popular outreach for people who have to miss church for work. Pastor Robert Fry had been dreaming of the chance to offer a midweek worship service for several years, but it had always been impractical. When a local radio station on which the church broadcast Fry’s sermons asked if they could air the program every day, at no extra cost to the church, a window of opportunity opened.
Thursday Church at Heritage offers the same format as Sunday morning but now reaches a new audience who is already familiar with Fry from the radio. “We are just in church on Thursday to do what we do on the radio, and that is to feed and evangelize our community. We average over eighty on Thursday.” Fry adds that he believes the church’s Thursday worship attendance may ultimately surpass that of Sunday morning.
The gospel is clearly preached at Heritage Church of God. The doctrine of the reformation movement is emphasized. Making memories is celebrated. And the church is seeking every opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission.