October 11, 2018 | San Jose, Costa Rica | Edith Guix/IAD News Staff
A new worship center in San Jose, Costa Rica, is becoming a center of influence thanks to a committed group of Seventh-day Adventists who are striving to reach city dwellers across the capital city. Known as “LoveHouse,” the center was formed by a group of church members in the south central church region and opened its doors for worship on Friday evenings and Saturdays eight months ago. Affiliated with the church’s South Central Conference, the center began offering a number of classes and activities last month.
The concept of LoveHouse is about satisfying the needs of people in innovative ways with contemporary style meeting sessions of spiritual growth on Fridays and Saturdays, which has become a unique and new project in Costa Rica, LoveHouse leaders said.
“The philosophy of LoveHouse is designed and based in the method of Christ, seeking to be a bridge to the heart of people who can gradually join the group of Adventist believers,” said Barbie Ramírez, one of the board members at LoveHouse.
“Many may hesitate to go into a church simply because it’s a church, but at LoveHouse they can find something that they need,” said Ramírez.
Kevin León, who is also a board member of LoveHouse, said the center is meant to reach persons without any religious roots, who at some point went to church, or have visited a church very sporadically, left the Adventist church or do not belong to any church denomination.
“There are persons that may be hurting or are resentful because of a bad experience, some may not be used to congregating or may have prejudices about religion,” said León. “We try to use a neutral, friendly and understandable language for those who are not familiar with terms and the church culture. We are basically in evangelistic campaign mode every week.”
The worship programs consist of a Bible study based on the Sabbath School quarterly, a sermon, prayer, testimony time and praise music on both Friday and Sabbaths, organizers said.
The three-story rented facility welcomes more than 150 every weekend and draws dozens of middle and upper-class professionals during the week to its music classes and practice sessions, exercise classes, family counseling, bible studies, and more.
District Pastor Victor Burgos, who oversees the LoveHouse group, said that the worship center functions as a three-fold ministry: as a worship center with a dynamic and attractive liturgy, a preaching center to reach professionals ages 25-45, and as an urban center of influence in service to the community.
“As an urban center of influence it will develop a community of professionals who will serve and make a great impact in any community needy of orientation and training to combat extreme poverty,” said Burgos.
The center is applying for its status as an urban center of influence through the proper channels, starting with its regional union, the Inter-American Division and the General Conference, he said.
It’s been nearly two years since the small group grew into what is LoveHouse today, organizers said. To grow the group, funds were donated by the small group members and continues to seek out ways to grow as arrangements are being pursued to be part of the Urban Cities of Influence program led by Adventist world church, said Marcos Milliner, treasurer of LoveHouse.
“We have seen a steady exponential growth since a group of eight members began to meet in the living room of a home, then moved to a small warehouse, a multi-purpose room at the South Central Conference to where we are now with 150 persons,” said Wesley León, one of the founders and group board members.
Six persons have been baptized and another eight are studying the Bible to get baptized soon, added Wesley León.
LoveHouse members are looking forward to expanding their impact to the community, a vision they keep focused on.
“LoveHouse will make its facility available to the community for events, conferences, business meetings, talks, and workshops. It will also become a cultural and artistic center, a school of music, language school, cooking school, health and nutrition center and location for healthy lifestyle expos,” said Edson McField, member and one of the original founders of LoveHouse.
The plan is to also offer spiritual counseling by Adventist pastors, complemented by psychological attention, counsel in the legal, business, and financial areas, added McField.
According to McField, an after school program will begin at LoveHouse facility that will include music and language classes, and more.
It’s about LoveHouse expanding its impact pursuing by authentic and passionate worship, pointing to the gift of salvation in Jesus, and sharing God’s love to everyone that comes through the doors, LoveHouse leaders said.
LoveHouse is overseen by the South Central Costa Rica Conference which is comprised of 81 churches in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The facility has a main auditorium that can fit 250 people, eight rooms and offices, a kitchen and fellowship hall.
To learn more about LoveHouse and its project needs, visit lovehousecr on Facebook