PLAINS TWP. — Derek Zielinski, a 30-year-old tattoo artist, likes to ask his clients, “How’s your faith?”
On Monday, Zielinski, of Wilkes-Barre, was helping prepare the newest site of the Parker Hill Community Church for its first service on Easter Sunday.
“I guess most people don’t expect their tattoo artist to talk about Christianity,” Zielinski said. “But I do a lot of religious symbolism, so I ask. I suggest they check out our church.”
Parker Hill Community Church is a non-denominational church with campuses in Clarks Summit and Dickson City. More than 2,000 people have been attending services in those locations and church leaders hope to expand that number with its newest location — 9,000 square feet at 667 N. River St., above the River Street Jazz Cafe.
Mark Fitch, Parker Hill’s executive pastor for campuses, said Wayne Morgan will serve as pastor of the Wilkes-Barre site. He said Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m. with separate session for adults, middle and high school-age members and infant to fifth-grade members.
“People ask about our dress code, and I tell them wear whatever clothes you have,” Zielinski said. “Everything is very casual.”
Zielinski, Fitch and Morgan were busy trying to get everything in order for Sunday. Only one area will be ready for Easter, so all ages will attend the same service Sunday.
“It’s a very welcoming atmosphere,” Zielinski said. “Faith is just about believing in the Creator and having God in your life.”
Morgan said every Sunday will be a family event. He said the service will be held and there’s always time for socialization. Fitch said Parker Hill has members of all ages.
“We’re hoping to create a movement where people follow God and help other people along the way,” Morgan said.
Fitch said Mark Stuenzi is the lead pastor and his sermon is heard by all adult members. He said Morgan is responsible for care.
“I’ll be doing the greeting and welcoming,” Morgan said. “I’m responsible for maintaining good relationships with our members.”
Fundraising is done the old fashioned way — through Sunday collections.
“We call it a free-will offering,” Fitch said. “There are no dues or mandatory fees.”
Fitch said the weekly messages are from the Bible. He said there are 11 pastors in the Parker Hill Community Church and they collaborate on the weekly messages.
“The new Wilkes-Barre location is an important step in Parker Hill’s multi-site strategy,” Fitch said. “This involves putting campuses throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania so that people attending Parker Hill are able to worship close to the community where they live.”
Fitch said a multisite church is simply one church meeting in multiple locations that shares a common vision, budget,
doctrine, leadership and staff. He said by having multiple sites and one message, all members get the same teachings.
He said this prevents people from having to choose which campus to attend based on a particular teaching pastor.
“It’s more likely that friends and family will accept an invitation to attend a church that is in their own community,” he said. “Since everyone has the same teaching experience each weekend, people don’t build their attendance patterns around a particular person or teaching style.”