If you are unchurched, dechurched and or feel overchurched, there’s a church founded specifically with you in mind. The Heart of Worship Restoration Center at 5317 N. 3rd Street might just be the place for you.
“I got ordained in 2000 and just that urge to be a ministry to minister to the unchurched, the dechurched and the over-churched. Those that are unchurched don’t know anything about church, so they just want to see Jesus. The dechurched been to church, left church, came back and all they want is Jesus; the overchurched are sick of church and everything and all they want is Jesus,” said Heart of Worship senior pastor the Rev. Kevin. M. Aiken.
“It was just a mission that the Lord has placed me on,” said Aikens who says he was originally a singer, songwriter, producer and had no inkling that someday he’d be behind the pulpit. “I just thought I’d be a minister of music or what have you. I signed to Sony Music as an artist and was just doing music with a lot of known people, but the Lord had a different call on my life,” he said.
Since that time, Aikens had a mission:
“And that is looking to restore the lives of God’s people and to bring them back to a heart of worship because God desires true worshippers and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” Aikens said. “It was just the essence of calling and being commissioned to spread what God has wanted us to spread and that’s the love of God, to reach a people who need restoration.”
But there are a lot of churches throughout the city. What distinguishes the Heart of Worship from others?
“Our distinctive quality is that we are a warm, loving family that knows that family is your first ministry.”
“This is a restoration house. Worship and Word, that is what we are about,” Aikens said .
Walking through the doors of Heart of Worship, one of the first things you notice are the number of youth and young adults in attendance. Although it was a warm, summer day, the youngsters not only turned out to attend service but also seemed to enjoy being there. This is something many other places of worship cannot pull off.
How do they do it?
“First off all, we have an awesome worship team, a really good music ministry. The music has to be popping,” Aitkens said with a laugh. “People want good music.”
Then there is the hospitality.
“If you are hurting on the outside, when you come through those doors, you better be greeted with a warm smile, and not one that’s phony,” he said.
Aitkens described the church as a hospital where people come for healing.
To help with the healing of the guests and members of the community, the church provides ministries for those suffering from substance abuse, One Plate at a Time [OPAT] ministry for those who are in need of food, Gideon 300, a men’s ministry; Women’ In Progress, a women’s ministry and a host of other ministries to address the specific physical and spiritual needs of members and visitors.
Elder Vernetta Burger said the Heart of Worship has transformed her life.
“Its ministries have helped me to navigate the terrain of spiritual growth, faith and restoration and helped to develop me and grow in my relationship with the Lord,” Burger said. “The preaching and teaching of the Word, definitely the love and support that I have had, not just from the people but from the people and certainly my pastor which helped me know that I am not damaged goods, that I am loved and do have purpose.”
Min. Darryl Lloyd and Min. Crystal Lloyd are a husband and wife ministry team who left their former church to join Heart of Worship.
“I was at my church for 19 years when God brought me from that church to here because we felt we needed a change,” said Darryl Lloyd. “When we came here, we found out that everything we needed was right here,” he said.
His wife confirmed this, he said.
“My wife looked at me and said ‘honey, I think this is it, he said.’”
“Pastor has a real heart for worship and restoration, and I loved that, that drew me in,” said Crystal Lloyd. “And I watched the families and I watched the people and he’s [Aikens] not so much for the crowd but he’s for the people and that’s what attracted me.”
James and Keziah Finney are another married couple attracted to the church and said they enjoy their time at Heart of Worship.
“I really enjoy this church. I can tell the pastor is peaking from the Word and he shares the Word first and elaborates off of it,” said Keziah Finney. “I get a lot of meat here and not fat, which is great, and it is rare, and I appreciate how he can connect the scripture to everyday life and make it relevant for the congregation.”
James Finney agrees.
“It’s [the Word] is practical. It’s something that you could wrap your head around when he delivers the truth.”
James said that he had been a part of two smaller churches and from those experiences have come to believe that most people do not want to hear the truth.
“But here, the church is bigger than what I am accustomed to and he’s giving the truth and he’s giving it in a practical way that you can apply to today’s world,” he said.
“And it’s not a churchy atmosphere,” said James. “It’s more like a family-oriented atmosphere like you’re sitting around with the family in a living room on Sunday talking about your week. I get the same feeling that I would get a grandmom’s house.”