A new church is opening in Delano, but it won’t have a steeple or anything else that looks like a traditional place of worship.
For now, the District Church will operate out of Franklin Elementary School at 214 S. Elizabeth St.
“We’re going right in the heart of Delano,” says Travis Roberts, who will be lead pastor.
His brother, Brady, will be community pastor.
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Travis Roberts has been the discipleship pastor at Riverlawn Christian Church.
“They’re a big part of sending us, as we say,” he says. “This wasn’t just something that I thought, man, let’s go do this all by ourselves.”
He says he and the congregation at Riverlawn “see a need in Wichita for churches to be outward focusing” in the community.
There’s a team of about 50 people from Riverlawn, the now-closed Westide Christian Church and a few other places helping start the nondenominational Christian church.
Services will start Oct. 15 and will be every Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon in the school.
Roberts says he’ll have a trailer and will unload and load equipment each week.
“We’re going to be mobile.”
There are pros and cons of not having a permanent space, he says. That includes all the loading.
“That can become a real arduous task.”
However, Roberts says, “You’re not saddling the church with a ton of expenses.”
He says that’s money that can be invested back into the community, “which is a huge plus.”
Whether the church decides on permanent space in the future depends.
Roberts says the question is, “How can we be the best church for and in Delano?”
He and his brother are moving to the neighborhood.
“It’s really important to us to stay close to that community,” Roberts says.
He says the church will work behind the scenes with businesses, nonprofits and colleges in the area.
“That’s what we get really passionate about doing,” Roberts says. “We’re Christians living our lives so the community can see us. … We want to be that example.”
He says the church’s mission statement is: “We’re inviting everyone to the greatest story of all time.”
Roberts says the church’s two-year goal is for an average of 200 people every Sunday.
He says there will be various church meetings, which he calls huddles, in public places and people’s homes around Delano between Sunday services.
What he calls the Delano district is part of the inspiration for the District Church name.
“There’s a whole neighborhood of people there we feel really called to,” Roberts says.
Also, he says, “The word district is an area in a city or town that is unique or distinct because of a particular characteristic.”
Roberts says he thinks Delano fits that with its unique shops and restaurants.
“We want to champion what’s going on in Wichita and what’s going on in the neighborhood.”