What's unique about Kaw Prairie?
Kaw Prairie may feel unique to many of first time visitors, and in one sense, we are! But we’re actually one of thousands of exciting, creative Kingdom-focused churches worldwide that are passionately committed to sharing the age-old love of God and the timeless truths of Christian faith in a way that impacts and transforms people in their lives today. No matter where you are on your spiritual and relationship journey, if you're humble enough to take a serious look at yourself and trusting enough to believe God's vision for your life is clearer than yours, you'll find life starts to make a lot more sense -- and looks a whole lot bigger -- than you could have ever asked for or imagined!
What should I wear?
Please come as you are. Casual clothes are the norm at Kaw Prairie—whether its Friday Casual, Saturday denim, or weekend UnderArmour. If it's a bad-hair day, no worries, either -- ball caps and hoodies are fine, too. So save the suit and tie for downtown -- or for weddings. God doesn't judge books by their covers, and neither do we.
How long will the service last?
Sunday morning services typically last 75 minutes, with children & families together for the first 30, then kids leaving for an age-appropriate Kingdom Kids program for 45 minutes while teenagers & adults experience the main message and closing song set.
What will services be like?
We offer identical contemporary worships with ancient echoes at both 9:00am and 10:45am. Children through grade 5 remain with their parents for our opening worship set and Holy Communion, then depart during the adult announcement time for their own dynamic, interactive 45-minute children’s program called Kingdom Kids—while older youth and adults enjoy the adult message and closing worship set. No offering plates are passed, so that Christ-followers at Kaw Prairie can offer their tithes and other gifts to God “in secret” (Matthew 6:4) using the special jars in the lobby, free from any perception of peer-pressure.
Will I get singled out in any way when I visit?
At Kaw Prairie, you'll never be put on the spot, singled-out, or embarrassed. (Okay, you might be embarrassed for Pastor Dan, but never by him). You won't be asked to participate in an offering, either. You don't have to sign anything or register your attendance in any way (unless you place your child in our children's ministry - for your child's security, we'll need to get some basic information). Our hope is that you'll let the service be God’s hand reaching out to you and that you'll know we're here for you if you want to connect.
You feel kind of non-denominational, but you're not, are you?
If by non-denominational you mean we have high-energy contemporary worship with in-depth biblical teaching for the adults and a dynamic ministry for children, too, then yes, we see what you mean! But actually, many denominational churches have those same qualities, too. Our K7 neighbor Westside Family Church, for instance, belongs to the Southern Baptist Convention--and their worship is much like ours. For our part, Kaw Prairie is affiliated with several strains of Protestantism: Presbyterian, Lutheran, and the non-denominational Willow Creek Association. See, though Kaw Prairie may feel ‘casual on the outside’ like many non-denominational churches, we are also theologically and Biblically ‘serious on the inside,' or passionate for Jesus, like the best denominational ones, too. The truth is, while we may be contemporary in our music and multi-media, we're ancient in our love of the sacraments, the eternal truths of the Christian faith, and the historical expressions of orthodox faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Put simply, we may be 'casual on the outside,' but we're 'serious on the inside,' too. And our mission is simple and Christ-centered: to change lives with Jesus’ love--connecting others to Christ, cultivating hearts like Christ, and celebrating life in Christ!
Can women serve as leaders or pastors?
Yes, indeed--at Kaw Prairie, spiritually gifted women can and do serve as elders and, if ordained, as pastors. Typically there are 2-3 women on our 6-member Vision Team (i.e., Council, Session, Elder Board), and while we don't currently have any female pastors on staff, we will be open to that when the time comes. See, we take the Bible seriously as God's Word, but believe that the life and teachings of Jesus are the most God-honoring lenses for interpreting those scriptures. So while there are a few context-heavy prohibitions by St. Paul against the leadership of women in the church, there is far more scriptural evidence from both Paul and Jesus that the leadership and teaching gifts of women are to be valued highly in the church.
I see a big PlayLand in the frontage window-- can anyone come in and play there?
Well, anyone who's a kid! (PD & German are on their 2nd warning to stay off the playset...) The playland is open whenever the building is-- except during worship & Kingdom Kids on Sundays (we don't want the competition) or when a family's rented it for a private birthday party (see below). If your children (12 and under) want to play there, all we ask is that they not be sick and that they wear socks. You're welcome to hang out in the coffeeshop area--when it's staffed and when it's not--surf the free WiFi, chat with friends, or watch the little ones scurry around like hamsters in a Habitrail.
Can I rent the PlayLand for a birthday party?
Yes, and it's not very much money. In fact, we just want to make the fun space available for as many kids to enjoy it as possible. Heaven knows it makes it easier to get KP kids to come to church with their parents midweek for Bible studies & meetings! Email our facilities manager to reserve the PlayLand with an appropriate-sized classroom for other games & cake, too.
How'd such a young church like Kaw Prairie get a building so fast?
Ah, clearly you know something about church planting. Besides being one of the most spiritually exciting and emotionally invigorating things Jesus-followers can do, it is terribly expensive and a lot of work. The only reason Kaw Prairie is so far along in its growth (thriving and in its own building after less than 5 years) is because of God's undeserved blessing, and Kaw Prairiers tremendous financial sacrifice and pioneer-level energy. You can read more about the details under our History, but rest assured we know how much we've been blessed. And we also know that to whom much is given will much be expected...
Where'd the name Kaw Prairie come from?
It's a great question, and one that we hear a lot, given that Kaw Prairie has hundreds of people from out-of-state who've looked for a vibrant faith community to put down roots. See, the Kaw is the local name for the Kansas River. It's an English rendering of the French Caunc (khawnk) or Kanza, which were attempts by the early French settlers at capturing the original tribal Sioux name Aca (meaning south-wind). The Kaw were gifted buffalo hunters who faced bitter adversity during their successive, forced relocations in the 1800's from Kansas to Oklahoma--much like when the militarily outmatched Jews were forcibly relocated to Babylon during their years of exile in Old Testament times. The Holy Spirit led us to a name for the church anchored in both the natural beauty of our area and in the rhythm of both heartbreak and accomplishment that unfolded here. The hearty and risk-ready EuroAmerican settlers, like the brave and resilient Native Americans before them, gave everything they had to settle a wilderness and to make an impact for generations to come. Those early pioneers are much like Kaw Prairiers today: hearty, slightly counter-cultural people--who long for the adventure and significance of a life following Jesus.
Does your pastor have any theological training?
Great question. Depending on their faith tradition or theological background, different pastors have different educational backgrounds--and different churches or denominations have different expectations. Both denominations with which Kaw Prairie is affiliated require their ordained pastors not only to have a Bachelors degree, but also a Masters in Divinity--a 4-year professional degree (3 years of Bible, theological, and ministerial classes and a one-year pastoral internship). Kaw Prairiers know that the Holy Spirit works through all believers to build His Kingdom in incredible ways--and so we certainly don't think academic or professional qualifications are necessary to do meaningful ministry. But we are blessed to have several theologically trained staffers: Pastor Dan McKnight (Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, M.Div.; Certificate of Completion, Beeson Institute of Pastoral Leadership, Asbury Seminary), Worship Director German Portillo (BA in Biblical Ministry, Warner-Southern University), as well as Operations Manager Dick Frohardt. We are equally blessed to have many gifted leaders from the marketplace, as well.
How big is Kaw Prairie?
Kaw Prairie's worshiping about 600 people/week (fall 2012), but we don't think primarily about numbers. We think about impact: how can we at Kaw Prairie change lives with Jesus' love? Come visit this Sunday--and find out!