The Roads Church – located in Norris City, IL and situated in rural Southern Illinois – has a huge heart for people, loves Jesus and wants nothing more than to connect the 300,000 un-churched people – who live in the surrounding 20-county area – to Jesus. The Roads vision is to partner with people in discovering Jesus, Freedom, Purpose, and Fulfillment. With Pastors Chad and Dawn Everett as lead pastors, the weekend and mid-week services offer an opportunity for people to pursue the life-changing power of Jesus through prayer ministry, worship and relevant, Biblical teachings. Beyond regular services, The Roads’ heart for people and Jesus spills over into the local community, the region, the nation and the world through annual outreach events, outreach ministries, and missions.
The Roads Church really began in 1984, when a faithful group of 10-12 people who hungered after God, met regularly for prayer – leading them to start a church. Originally meeting in the Senior Citizens building in Norris City, IL, before purchasing land at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 45, and meeting in a pole barn. Pastor Leo Hall was the first Pastor – establishing the foundations of The Roads, he held the position for 22 years. In March 2006, Pastor Hall and the The Roads’ leadership invited Pastors Chad and Dawn Everett to take over as Lead Pastor. From the small beginnings of the original group of people meeting in a pole barn – to today – with an average Sunday morning service of 675 people in the main sanctuary and overflow sanctuary, and 218 children in the The Roads Kidz classes, in a building of about 40,000 square feet – The Roads is making room as they continue to reach and invite more people to “Discovering Life” along with them.
None of what The Roads does on a week-to-week basis would be possible without strong leadership, a clearly defined structure and a dedicated group of people sold out for the vision. Under the leadership of Pastors Chad and Dawn, and Executive Pastor Kyle Fisher – the Staff and Lead Team oversees the day-to-day operation of the church and supports the Dream Team. The Dream Team is The Roads’ volunteer team structure that currently consists of 18 teams (i.e. prayer, pastoral care, cafe, worship, food pantry, ushers etc.) with 428 people serving on the teams – it is the driving force allowing The Roads to do what they do – in their services, in the community and the nations.
Additionally, The Roads has a finance team that oversees the finances and provision of the facilities needed by the church, as well as provide counsel to Pastor Everett regarding major financial decisions and commitments.
As The Roads has grown, they saw the growing need to stay connected in small settings to build and maintain relationships with one another. The Roads started their Connect Groups in 2014. It is a small group model that allows people to meet weekly in homes and share common interests with a spiritual component to their meeting time. Over the past three years, it has become part of the culture of The Roads, and currently is running 31 Connect Groups with 40 leaders and 253 people participating throughout the region.
The Roads has a growing youth ministry and children’s ministry. ROCK Youth is The Roads’ youth ministry with an average of 82 students (ranging from 6th grade to college) – meeting weekly on Wednesday nights. The service is all about youth experiencing the power and presence of GOD, by pointing them in Discovering Jesus, Freedom, Purpose & Fulfillment, and it’s also where they will meet adults that love connecting with youth, and building meaningful relationships so they can encourage youth in their everyday life.
ROCK Youth is under new leadership. Pastors Chris & Kristin Pollard began in August 2016. With fresh vision, they are committed to providing an atmosphere for youth that equips and empowers them to grow in a deeper, intimate relationship with Jesus. With a mission to raise up a generation that will want to have a relationship with Jesus and desire to make HIM known to others.
With an average of 112 children every Wednesday night, and 218 children every Sunday morning – The Roads Kidz classes are broken down into age-specific classes that allow the children to Discover Jesus (The Nest: 1 year, Lil’ Sprouts: 2-3 years, Treehouse: 4 years – 1st grade and Kidz Lab: 2nd – 5th grade). Unique to Wednesday evenings is the The Roads Kidz bus that began in 2012, which picks up and drops off about 30 Norris City children at their homes. The bus ministry has served over 120 Norris City families over the last five years.
Because The Roads loves people and giving hope to those who find themselves in a tough situation – whether temporary or long-term – their food and clothing pantry is open the first three weekends of each month. The pantry has been open for over 25 years. In 2016, they served 3,919 families and 10,579 people. From January 2017 to present they have served 1,089 families and 2,955 people. They currently serve about 273 families per month. The Roads pantry has 60 Dream Team volunteers serving on five teams every month.
In addition to providing food through their pantry, The Roads began Eden’s Harvest as a ministry to produce food for the region. Eden’s Harvest has two hydroponic greenhouses, row gardens, and a market/food processing building, providing the community and its food pantry with fresh produce and honey. The ministry would eventually like to: feed meals when a crisis occurs, educate the community about healthy living, eating and gardening.
The Roads offers several events throughout the year to give back to the community and be an example of God’s love for people. They host an annual Pack-U-Back-To-School program offering school-aged children a backpack with all their school supplies and a fresh haircut – with a fun-filled day planned with snacks and giveaways. In 2016, The Roads gave away 400 backpacks filled with school supplies.
In 2017, The Roads is hosting its 11th year of Freedom Rock, and it’s all about showing the community generosity and love. Every year on Memorial Day weekend, they give everything away for FREE – food, games, music and entertainment, inflatables, zip line and a car show. It’s the people that make up The Roads that pour their resources of time and finances to create the day – purchasing all the food, preparing the food and serving the food. They have never been able to measure the number of people who attend but are able to measure amounts of food. In 2016 there were a total of 20 food booths. Some of what they gave away: 300 lbs. of catfish, 1,532 servings of ribs, 600 loaded baked potatoes, 2,100 desserts, 2,050 lemon shake-ups, 1,200 hamburgers, 2,000 pork loin sandwiches. There are 17 food booths planned for 2017.
In addition to the people who walk through the doors to attend a service at The Roads – there is a reach beyond through their CD ministry. Each of Pastor Everett’s sermons are part of a sermon series, which range from four to eight weeks on average. The sermons are recorded and the series CDs are packaged, and available for free. The Roads mails many of the series out, to include a unique opportunity reaching the trucking industry. The CDs are also available at the Norris City location to pick up. The ministry started back in 2009. Just this year, they began recording the number of CD series they give away. In the first quarter of 2017, they gave away 973 series of 44 titles.
The Roads has, even more, reach with their message through their online presence: Facebook fans: 2,335, Instagram followers: 703, Twitter followers: 364, YouTube Channel subscribers: 446, Podcast plays (1st Qtr. 2017): 760 and Website users (1st Qtr. 2017): 1,688.
The Roads is reaching the world by partnering with and supporting several international missions, including ministries in Thailand, Kenya, India, and Israel. Mission’s teams prepare to go on trips throughout the year.
In addition to teams going on mission’s trips, The Roads’ Gifts Without Borders program offers giving opportunities throughout the year to help fund specific needs of the mission’s partners. In 2017, they have several national mission’s trips planned along with the international trips, to include the St. Louis Dream Center and a youth trip with the Alabama Rural Ministry.
Today, as The Roads desires to reach more people they are continuing to develop and establish the culture of The Roads, built on strong core values, understanding that core values not only establishes a healthy church organization and healthy people, but they also impact an entire community. The Roads desires at its core: to be in God’s presence, build His kingdom, live generously, live with honor and integrity, pursue excellence, take nothing for granted, do life together, stay humble and teachable, have big faith, and live from and for His purpose.