CLEARFIELD — What better place for a spiritual workout than a gymnasium?
That's the feeling you get when you attend the newest campus of Alpine Church, where members meet in a gym.
While the Clearfield gymnasium is a temporary spot while the Syracuse congregation works on a future building, the message it lends to the teachings is real: Serving God requires an actual workout.
“The main reason you are on the earth is so you can know God and help other people to know God,” said Dave Michelson, one of Alpine Church's teaching pastors, as he spoke to the congregation.
Alpine Church — with an annual Easter attendance of 4,000 — has a large enough following to require seven sites serving nine congregations in 15 services each Sunday.
Leaders say the emphasis is to stay away from traditional church practices and focus instead on serving God through offering a helping hand to those in need.
A nondenominational congregation, Alpine Church does not take roll or require membership, making followers difficult to track.
But the impacts of the church's teachings are traceable.
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During a recent missions week, participants purchased and packed meals and school supplies for hundreds of local people and children in Mexico, completely prepared an apartment for an incoming refugee family and packed 289,872 meals for Feed My Starving Children.
The 1,730 volunteers helped raise $84,000 for their service and renovated the Alpine Outreach Center.
At the first service of 2018, those who attended church in a rented gym at “The Hangout” in Clearfield were asked to flex their spiritual muscles this year and do more.
“God will put people in a project so they can grow closer to God and to each other — kind of like starting another campus,” Michelson said in his sermon.
Those who attended said they enjoy the freedom the church affords them to lift their spiritual weights without membership obligations.
“I really enjoy the pastor’s word,” said Maria Blevins, 58, of Clinton. “After I leave, I feel so peaceful. It just gets me through the week.”
Lyanne Tangog, 19, of Syracuse, said she likes the music that uses modern instruments and the welcoming atmosphere at the church.
“Anybody can come,” she said. “The sermons are easy to understand. If you want to know more about Jesus, they can help you.”
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“We feel like we are part of the whole servant community to build God’s kingdom,” said Mark Jolley, 43, of Clearfield. “It’s a really good church for new believers and even for those who are not believers yet. Come and see what God is all about.”
Founding pastor Bryan Dwyer said the only focus of the church is the simple message of Jesus.
“Our focus isn't on doing good works or being a good person; that's the outflow,” Dwyer said. “Our sermons are very practical and they are practical because we root them in the timeless message of Jesus in the Bible.”
The church started with a meeting in Dwyer’s South Ogden backyard in 2001 with just more than a dozen people, he said.
Soon, the growing congregation was meeting in a gym at Central Davis Junior High in Clearfield, Dwyer said.
The steady growth has followed a “multiplication” model of launching a new location when a location grows to three services.
A Layton campus had grown to three services when the Syracuse congregation launched Christmas Eve, Dwyer said.
The Syracuse campus of Alpine Church meets Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at “The Hangout,” located at 848 W. 1600 South, Suite 102, in Clearfield.
For information, visit the church’s website at AlpineChurch.org or call the church at 801-392-8000.