Our history speaks very clearly as to who we are as a church. Our church is a part of a denomination with a rich heritage as you will see. Below you will find information about our denominational ties as well as how the Open Door Church itself came into existence.
John Wesley was born in 1703 to Samuel and Suzanna Wesley. Samuel was a minister in the Church of England and Suzanna was a well-educated Godly woman greatly influenced by the Puritan movement. John Wesley grew up receiving the best education available. He attended Oxford College where he studied for the ministry. In 1728 he was ordained a Presbyter in the Church of England. Despite all of these things Wesley did not feel confident in knowing his salvation was secure. Wesley became very methodical in serving the poor, visiting the imprisoned, fasting and praying, and studying the Scriptures. The name Methodist became synonymous with Wesley because of his methodical approve in seeking the serve the Lord. Despite his efforts and lifestyle Wesley continued to struggle with his assurance of salvation.
Finally on May 24, 1738 Wesley noticed a gathering of people meeting together to worship. While walking by he heard the preacher reading from Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans. As he stopped to listen his heart was warmed as he was reminded that salvation is not be works but by faith in Christ alone. Describing the moment Wesley wrote, “… while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
This was a life changing moment for John Wesley. With enthusiasm he went with renewed vigor and preached to those in the fields, to those in the coal mines, to those imprisoned, and to those who were poor and outcast. Wesley quickly received an incredible following. And it was here that these new believers became known as Methodists.
As stated earlier it was in 1860 that the Free Methodist Church was established. A minister of the Methodist Church by the name of B.T. Roberts was concerned with the direction that the Methodist Church was heading. During those years there was much discrimination against the poor as well as African Americans. The rich were able to “buy pews,” which simply meant during church services the wealthy were allowed the best seat near the front, while the poor were forced to sit in the back. In many of these same churches black people were made to stand in the back or even to listen from outside the church.
B.T. Roberts was adamant that such discrimination and favoritism was unbiblical and displeasing to God. And because the leadership of the Methodist Church not only refused to listen to him but took his church and his license as a minister away, Roberts along with several other likeminded pastors came together and started a new church. The name Free Methodists were given to them because of their belief that all people regardless of color, wealth, or status should be free to worship God equally without hindrance.
More information about our denominations history may be found by following these links: http://fmcusa.org/historical/
“The most effective way to reach new people for Jesus is to plant churches.” This reality was a major motivation for starting a new church in Noblesville. “Here am I, send me,” is the call from the Scriptures in Isaiah. After securing support from Wabash Conference and working with Anderson Wesley FMC and arranging half-time employment, David and Jennifer Nicholson moved to Noblesville with their two children, Josh and Hannah, in July of 1989. There was no congregation, no church building, and no housing until they secured a home on N. 10th Street. The work had begun. God had opened the door!
The first year was invested in recruiting a small group of faithful Christ followers. These wonderful people would be the basis of the new congregation. David and Jennifer knelt at the couch in their living room just before the first Bible study, not knowing if anyone would come. They asked for the Lord to guide and bless. He graciously did so. God had opened the door!
Multiple methods where employed to expand the base. Public meetings were held at the Noblesville Public Library. David interviewed a number of public officials, getting acquainted and asking what needs they felt could be met by a new church. This same survey approach was used in door to door canvassing. God continued to open the door!
Just a month before launching our first public worship service, we began a phone campaign. We contacted every home in the city that had a phone by making some 20,000 dial ups. We had help from over 50 people representing 17 churches. God was gracious in the process…and in the result. God opened the door!
Our first Sunday service was on September 9, 1990. We had rented the lower level of the First Christian Church, which had become the newly-remodeled Adler Building at 136 S. 9th Street. What a beautiful day! We had numerous out of town guests and over 100 in attendance. In the weeks ahead, the attendance settled into an average in the 50s. God had truly opened the door!
In the years to follow, we rented/shared facilities with the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Highway 19. We purchased nine acres at the corner of 206th Street and Riverwood Avenue for a future building location. We celebrated Resurrection Day Sunrise Services on the property even before construction began. Before long, we were able to construct a beautiful facility for the praise of God and to send people out to the mission field. God continued to open the door!
We recently reviewed some pictures from those first few weeks. What a blessing! What a joy! God used some of His people to start a beautiful new work for His glory. Truly, a new door was opened for people to become Christ followers!