A new church is taking root in Ringgold. Origin Church is non-denominational with a “no perfect people allowed mentality,” says pastor Shane Craven.

Origin church is different because it strives to help those who believe they don’t belong in church or who have left a church. It is, Craven said, an “upbeat, highly-relational, transparent, authentic and safe environment where people can discover God’s potential for their lives.

“Our laser focus is to create an environment where people who don’t go would not only come, but they would want to come back,” Craven said.

The first church service will be Sunday, April 5 at the Ringgold Depot.

According to executive pastor Jeff Gonzalez, the “disconnected are not impressed with so-called Christians today.”

“In the world’s eyes, many Christians are considered hypocritical, judgmental, unloving, uncompassionate and prideful,” Gonzalez said.

The church is working with three organizations called Growing Healthy Churches, Developing Churches Network, and the Tennessee Baptist Convention. These organizations are dedicated to helping new churches grow and planting new churches wherever they are needed.

According to Craven, about 87 percent of the people in this area are not attending church.

“We felt like there needed to be a different kind of church,” he said.

Craven said building or buying a church building is not “on our radar now.”

“Part of our vision is staying portable,” he said.

Origin Church will hold its first service Sunday, April 5, at 10:30 a.m. at Ringgold Depot. For more information, visit the church’s website at http://originchurch.tv. The church has links on its website to its Facebook and MySpace pages.

Without the cost of a mortgage, the church will have more money to give to the community, he said.

A worship service at Origin will be different than the tradition services. Craven plans to use “a lot of media, lights and sound” in their services, including a funny video clip and even secular music that relates to the theme of the message.

But Craven said in spite of the differences, his church is “a Bible-based, truth-giving church.”

He said he wanted to make the services as appealing as possible for youth, which is the group that churches have a tough time retaining.

During Sunday service at the Depot, the church will have worship time as well as family ministry for children and young adults up to 19 years old.

The church's logo: The tree and roots symbolize strong belief and foundations. Since origin means beginning point, Origin church will help people reach the point when their lives begin to come to life. The tree and roots intentionally do not have leaves, which implies that a person will be growing-into real life.

Small group studies will take place during the week at different locations. These groups are similar to the tradition Sunday school groups.

Craven said he believes that “life changes happen in small group settings.”

Asked about the church dress code — if jeans are unacceptable in God’s eyes, Craven and Gonzalez said, “We hope not, or we’re in trouble.”

Origin Church leaders stress that there is no dress code at their church.

“We believe that God cares more about the condition of your heart than your outward appearance,” they said.

Pastor Shane Craven

  • Family: wife Kim and three children

  • Born in Jackson, Miss.; raised in Roswell, Ga.

  • Lead pastor since 1991

  • Pastored churches in Georgia, Tennessee and Florida

Executive pastor Jeff Gonzalez

  • Family: wife Sonya and four children

  • In ministry since 1995

  • Pastored churches in Ohio and Tennessee

Student minister Chip Clark

  • Family: wife Sarah, with baby due in May

  • Married in May 2008

  • Christian for 14 years



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