Quest Church offers alternative to tradition

By Kristen Rains

The Quest Church has dismissed all things traditional to a church, including: a pastor’s traditional long robe, hymnals, and actually having a church.

Every Sunday since October 2004, the Quest United Methodist Church has come together to worship at the Park Inn Hotel, 2408 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana. The pastor, Andy Adams, gives his sermon in jeans, in place of hymnals is an overhead projector, and there is music provided by a band rather than an organ.

These non-traditional aspects to the church are a mechanism used with the hope of appealing to a younger generation, Andy said.

“Post-graduates to mid-30s are a missing segment of population that regularly attends church,” Andy said.

Andy said that in order to appeal to a younger generation, not only is the informal setting an important aspect of the church, but also the topics discussed in his sermons. Topics include: financial advice, how to deal with conflict, sex, and relationships. Amy-Jo Adams, Andy’s wife and administrative assistant to the church, agrees with the importance of relatable issues in her husband’s sermons.

“The church expects something different from Andy,” Amy-Jo said, “They enjoy the shock and the authenticity of the matters that are discussed.”

For the next four Sundays, the church is holding a series entitled, “Sex, Dating, and Marriage.” Approximately 130 community regulars will gather together at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Park Inn Hotel to hear Pastor Andy discuss the topic. Adams said some members of the community are in protest of such things being discussed during a church sermon.

“Some people feel that we are trying to promote sex through religion,” Andy said.

However, this is not what they are trying to do, Andy said. Instead, by discussing things like sex in church, Andy is opening up more opportunities for his audience to really appreciate and relate to the authenticity of what he is saying, as he tries to do with all of his sermons.

As a rebuttal to his critics Andy asks the question, “Is God worth our time if we aren’t going to consider it with the most important part of our lives?”

Amy Lybarger, 24, a regular attendee of the Quest United Methodist Church, was raised within a traditional Methodist church. She said she never really understood the messages presented to her and eventually stopped going. Recently, Lybarger and her husband were attempting to find a church they could both enjoy, so they tried Quest.

“We were blown away!” Lybarger said. “Andy was wearing jeans and a black t-shirt.”

It wasn’t just the informal attire of the pastor that intrigued Lybarger, she also said that she was impressed with the music and the fact that the audience was filled with younger people.

“I was able to stay focused and really understand the message,” Lybarger said.

Andy, however, wanted to make sure that those in the community don’t think the church is only for a younger generation. The attendees are fifty percent twenty somethings and two-thirds forty and under, Andy said. The rest of the attendants range from little kids to much older adults.

Quest has the slogan, “Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open doors.” Andy emphasized that this is important to what they are trying to do.

“Our outlook is that there are no prerequisites for anyone coming in the door whether they claim to be a Christian or not, no matter what lifestyle people lead,” Andy said.