door of hope

frequently asked questions

Are you a part of a denomination?

Please refer to our Roots page. We are a part of the V3 Movement of churches.  We have received coaching via the V3 learning cohort and continue to network with other V3 leaders who are committed to grassroots disciple-making movements.  Many networks are creating space for partnerships that don’t require an exclusive denominational identity. We find this refreshing and continue to learn through informal partnership with Missio Alliance, the Tampa Underground Network and 3dM Movements.  


Are you a church or a small group?


We’ve found that the terms small group & church mean different things to different people.  We’re experimenting with some language that emphasizes the sent-ness of God’s people. We believe the forms and structures are flexible, so long as they shape our lives to be a spiritual family who continue in the words, works and ways of Jesus Christ.


We aspire to be “a congregational network of micro-church communities”, which is a fancy way of saying that if God multiplies some healthy micro-churches, we’d love to gather them on occasion without losing the healthy rhythms of micro-church life together. We expect this to take time and patience (because we cannot hurry discipleship).  


We believe the essence of church is Worship, Community and Mission - hinging on discipleship and leadership. We teach this as the core building blocks of life together in micros.


Who are the pastors / leaders?


Fred Kirstein currently oversees the formative days of the first micro in Door of Hope. However, we emphasize team leadership in micros structured around the diversity of the equipper gifts found in Ephesians 4 (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher). We believe leadership teams are essential to the long term health of a micro. 


Members of our current leadership team (hyperlink to Door of Hope leadership page) bring a variety of backgrounds to Door of Hope. Most of us are from a campus ministry context. Some have worked in the non-profit and professional world. Some have formal seminary degrees / pastoral experience, some do not. We are ordinary people committed to using our God-given gifts and resources to cultivate a faithful and reproducible way of life together in Christ.


If I don’t live in the neighborhood, can I come?


Yes! In our earliest days, we are modeling a way of life committed to the good of the places where we live, work and play.  While many members of our core team live in the Old Town neighborhood of Champaign, IL, we hope we can be a reproducible model of community that spreads beyond our neighborhood. 


What should I expect if I visit a micro? 


Most of our gatherings take place in family homes, or public spaces.  Most of the homes in our neighborhood host about 15 to 25 people comfortably. People linger, kids melt down occasionally, sometimes the dog barks in the middle of a discussion. Our musical worship is simple but sincere. There will probably be food;,we believe the table is a pivotal space - as it was for Christ - for worship, community and mission.  we believe the table is a pivitol space for Christian community and mission. we don’t do many things without food.


We think what we’re doing is the normal stuff of healthy relationships! We’re recovering what it looks like to relate to each other face to face - to share meals and time together without a lot of programming or prerequisites. We are a safe place to share honestly, to celebrate, to doubt, and to grow. We talk about the scriptures regularly, but you do not have to come from any kind of church or religious background to participate in Door of Hope. 


The best way to get a feel for things is to talk with someone in Door of Hope. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have if you fill out the contact form. (We won’t spam you.)

What about kids? 


Please refer to our Kids page. We believe safety, education and fun are crucial for the children in any faith community. But thoughtful lessons and background checks are just the beginning.  We believe the best long-term thing we can do for our kids’ spiritual health is to include them in the authentic relationships of an extended family on mission.


Every micro has freedom to create patterns to engage with children according to the needs of their community. A micro with lots of kids will look different than a micro with no kids. But we will encourage a posture of thoughtful engagement with children whenever possible for every committed member of a micro.  


Do you have anything for U of I or Parkland students?


Most of us come from a campus ministry background. College students looking for a family of believers to grow with are more than welcome!  We have a group of recent U of I grads and Parkland students who are exploring issues of justice, race and faith together. Shoot us a note via the contact form if you’d like to know more.


Do you serve the poor or volunteer anywhere?


Our founding micro is committed to seeing and serving the needs of vulnerable children in CU.  We believe God’s heart for justice is an essential part of what it means to follow Jesus. We continue to learn what it means to come alongside the vulnerable as a lifestyle.


Some of us volunteer with Feeding our Kids (responding to food insecurity in public schools), and CU 1-to-1 Mentors. We are exploring a more direct partnership and training through the ministry of Safe Families to become a network of families committed to temporary hosting of at-risk kids in CU. 


We believe trauma education and relational support networks are essential to viable foster care, respite care and adoptive homes. We believe micro-churches are uniquely situated to provide this kind of supportive and informed network.


Every micro is encouraged to discern a missional focus they intend to commit themselves to. Vulnerable children and families is one form of mission we feel called to.  What breaks your heart? Where do you long to see the good news of God’s kingdom fleshed out in tangible ways?


How do you handle finances? 


Please refer to our Generosity page. Members of Door of Hope give freely toward the work of the kingdom. We have approached our financial framework with a great deal of thoughtfulness.  In the day to day, a few administrative servants maintain a basic financial framework and tools to ensure integrity and transparency in Door of Hope’s financial life (e.g. a budget, proper record keeping, receipting, etc.).