New and small beginnings can lead to big impacts. That was the message shared at the first Harmony service of the Root River Community Church on Sunday, January 29. The congregation, which had originated in Rushford with a small group in 1995, has now expanded its ministry to Harmony.
The church is currently operating from the former Nativity Catholic Church, but purchased land in July 2022, where the congregation plans to build a new worship center in the coming years.
The worship service on January 29, centered around the theme of small beginnings can lead to big impact, which describes the journey of this church well, said lead pastor Mike Osterbauer.
“God is at work here,” he added. “God is celebrating what is going on here today.”
Osterbauer acknowledged all those who had worked so hard to bring God’s word to the Harmony area, in all ways. Many individuals have been leading this journey by building a relationship with the Harmony community, planning a new church, purchasing land and finding a temporary location where their ministry can grow while their building project takes on its own path.
“New and small beginnings lead to huge impacts,” he said.
The church had “humble beginnings” Osterbauer continued to explain, with a small group holding meetings in the Mill Street Mall. “We are standing here today because of what they started in 1995.”
He asked those in the sanctuary on January 29 in Harmony to envision the church 100 years from now and imagine how this new beginning will grow. “The Lord rejoices in what is being done here today,” he reiterated.
The next part of Osterbauer’s message focused on having a “plumb line” as the church moves forward. To enlighten those who did not know what a plumb line was, Osterbauer took out a visual aid to help describe the tool. He said the line is used to find the depth of water or determine the vertical line of an upright surface, making sure walls and foundations were straight. Using an example of when he was assisting in the construction of a building, it was necessary to make sure walls and rafters were perfectly straight, to create a strong foundation capable of withstanding heavy snow or high winds.
He held up his Bible and said, “This is my plumb line.”
Referencing Hebrews 4:12, Osterbauer continued, “For the word of God is alive and active.”
As progress is made in building the church and expanding the ministry, everyone since those first elders in 1995 has used the Bible as a plumb line to build a solid foundation. Each decision was gauged by answering the question, “Does this fall in line with the word of God?”
Elder Jim Severtson shared a personal story about finding his “plumb line” when he gave his heart to God in 1995. “When I surrendered, He was the clear in my mess,” he said. “It was the beginning of something new.”
Now, as he looks forward to building a new church with his fellow members, he knows the work is being built on a solid foundation.
“It is a new time. It is a new day. It is a small thing that will grow,” Severtson added.
Osterbauer agreed, “The Lord will build this church and,” holding up his Bible, “this is the only way to build the house.”
The Root River Community Church is currently holding Sunday worship at 9 a.m. in its Rushford location and 10 a.m. in Harmony. Throughout the service, enjoy contemporary worship music and applicable teaching from the Bible. Fellowship with coffee is offered following each service. Children’s church and nursery are offered during worship at both locations where kids can hear their own Bible teaching.
The church also hosts several Bible studies and discussions throughout each month. The Harmony location also has worship night on the fourth Sunday of the month at 5:30 p.m. A family potluck is also offered at noon every second Sunday in Harmony.
Osterbauer serves as the lead pastor, but the leadership team also includes Josh Pedde, the ministry director in Rushford; Kim Pedde, children’s director in Rushford; Ammon Gingerich, Harmony location director; Katlyn Evans, children’s director in Harmony; and elders, Larry Johnson, Jim Severtson and Dwayne Ostrem.
Finally, Osterbauer reiterated a sentiment he had shared several times through the morning, and which is proudly posted on the church’s website, “We are nowhere near a perfect church, but it is a good one!”
For more information on the church and its services, Bible studies and other events, visit rootriver.org.