About four months ago, a handful of Tooele County residents who had noticed similarities between Biblical prophecies and current events in the Middle East, began to meet in their homes for Bible study sessions.
“And then we started singing, and people started hearing about us,” said Keith Utz, a Stansbury resident who was among the founding members. Before long, he said, the Bible study group had grown organically into a small congregation of about 20 members, and began to look for a permanent place to meet.
The group has met officially for the last several weeks now, calling themselves the Berean Full Gospel Church.
The name is intended to reflect the church’s mission, Utz said. “Berean” was the name of a group of Jews who make an appearance in the book of John. According to John’s account, these Jews converted to Christianity after diligently studying the writings of Paul and comparing them to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Utz said.
“Full Gospel” reflects their desire to shape their meetings and beliefs around the full truth of the gospel — studying and accepting all that they find in the Bible, and not picking and choosing what to keep or discard.
“We don’t really see the kind of theocracy described in the Bible in any of today’s modern churches,” Utz said, so they decided to form their own.
The church is led entirely by volunteers from within the congregation, said Utz, who is himself an elder within the group. Though not necessarily opposed to hiring a pastor, he said the church doesn’t have any plans to bring in any full-time staff.
Likewise, he said they don’t see themselves purchasing any kind of church building in the future. Rather, they plan to continue meeting in the space they currently rent from Phil’s Glass in Tooele.
This model allows the church to free more of its funds for charitable work, Utz said. The congregation has currently pledged to donate $2 to local and foreign charities for every $1 it spends on itself.
“We feel we’re called to meet the need — and the need is tangible,” he said.
But Utz said he does believe there are spiritual needs within the Tooele community. Many locals could expand their knowledge of Biblical topics with additional training and in-depth study, he said. Additionally, he believes there are many citizens who seek the answers to pressing spiritual questions.
“We think there are a lot of people who are asking questions — like, ‘why does God let bad things happen to people that don’t deserve it,’” Utz said. “Those are the kinds of questions that are hard to get answers to. But we’re not afraid to find out. We’re not afraid to answer those questions.”
The Berean Full Gospel Church meets every Sunday at 10 a.m. at Phil’s Glass. They start their service with 45 minutes of singing — starting with hymns of praise and moving into more worship songs toward the end — and then dive into an in-depth Bible study that lasts for about an hour.
They do provide refreshments and have a special song time for children. All who wish to attend are welcome. Phil’s Glass is located at 635 N. Main, Tooele.