Updated: Aug 15
Basic Church Information
Church Website: https://autumnridgechurch.org/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AutumnRidgeChurch
Address: 3611 Salem Rd. SW, Rochester, MN 55902
Financial Transparency: No
Answered Questionnaire: No
Preaching Style: Topical
Online Services: https://autumnridgechurch.org/messages/
Affiliations: Celebrate Recovery
I attempted contacting pastor Rick Henderson (formerly the campus pastor of SMCC Draper) multiple times with no response. Thankfully, Autumn Ridge's website is very informative. Below is the information we were able to find ourselves.
1. What is your church's official position on tithing?
On the Who We Are page under Our Beliefs and Christian Conduct, it states (emphasis mine):
"We believe all Christians should live for the glory of God and the well being of others, their conduct should be blameless before the world, they should be faithful stewards of their possessions, and they should seek to realize for themselves and others the full stature of maturity in Christ."
Additionally, in the church's Statement of Faith under Stewardship, it states the following:
"How we spend our time and money is also important to God. Continual, willful poor stewardship of financial and time resources can include activities like gambling or excessive gaming.
The Bible says that all of us have sinned and fallen short, and perhaps something here has hit close to home. None of these life problems are a salvation issue if you are in Christ. However, they are an obedience issue. If you are involved with something the Bible speaks out against, allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of that sin and then ask the Holy Spirit to free you from that sin in your life. To approach baptism or membership while these issues control your life is to have an upside down view of obedience. Instead, let the pastors, elders and other shepherds at Autumn Ridge help you take positive steps to grow in your obedience to God’s commands. This process is never complete in ANY of us but persistent and known sin needs to be confronted."
Lastly, on the church's Membership page, one of the steps toward membership is "Support Your Church." When you hover over this step, it tells you to read the Give Page. This doesn't look like a direct requirement to pay tithes. We'll have to do further research to find the answer for sure.
2. Does your church have official memberships, and if so, does it include a membership agreement or contract?
This church does have official memberships, as their website shows. Their Memberships page also shows a numbered cycle that one must go through in order to become a member. See it here: https://autumnridgechurch.org/membership/
To see their membership agreement, you have to read their "10 Keys to Healthy Relationships" Document: https://autumnridgechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/10-Keys-to-Healthy-Relationships.pdf
3. Is your church financially transparent or accountable to either the local church, a third party (such as the ECFA), or the universal church/public?
There is nothing on the website to suggest that this church is held accountable by any kind of third party organization, but they do have a post on their "News" page that explains how they "...want to be as transparent as possible." (https://autumnridgechurch.org/pastor-rick-love-and-financial-update-july-2020/)
They go on to list some basics of their offering amounts, income, and budgeting, but still, refrain from listing specifics such as how the offerings are distributed within their budget, or how much is going to each of the ministries and organizations that they support.
4. Which denomination does your church align with, if any at all?
Facebook lists them as Evangelical/Non-denominational.
5. Is the church's pastor available for questions or comments regarding the church's doctrines or policies?
Not to a watchdog ministry like Check My Church. Whether he is available to his congregates or potential congregates remains to be seen.
6. Is your church tolerant and accepting of differing non-essential doctrinal views, such as differences in eschatology or ecclesiology?
On their Who We Are page under "Our Guiding Principles", it says:
"Unity in doctrinal essentials and freedom in non-essentials"
7. Does your church require its members to be baptized?
It appears they do. Here is their page on baptism: https://autumnridgechurch.org/baptism-2020/
8. Please describe what a typical service and/or meeting looks like at your church.
Here is what their Plan a Visit page tells us:
"...Feel free to come as you are; at Autumn Ridge you will find people from all walks of life, dressed very casually to suits. Most wear more casual clothing. When you arrive, greeters will direct you to our children’s welcome desk if you wish children to participate in Sunday School activities. Feel free to grab a cup of coffee or tea in one of our lobby areas. An usher will be happy to offer you any assistance as you get settled for a service."
9. How many people do you have on staff at your church, both paid and volunteer?
They have 10 pastors and 34 people on the supporting staff. Volunteer staff have "(Volunteer)" beside their name: https://autumnridgechurch.org/leadership/
10. What is your/the pastor's educational background?
We know this from our previous questioning of Pastor Rick when he was at SMCC, but the information is not shared on the church's website or pastor's Facebook.
M.A. Theology, concentration in philosophy and ethics
1 summer term at Oxford University
Various leadership conferences and training
11. How does the church discipline its members with sin? Does the church have a discipline policy or official protocol?
Their "10 Keys to Healthy Relationships" Document gives several "keys" to keep relationships healthy within the church, which seems to serve as their policy on "sin discipline," which is simply to follow biblical guidance in handling relationships with others. (https://autumnridgechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/10-Keys-to-Healthy-Relationships.pdf)
12. How is the pastor compensated (income, bonuses, benefits, etc...) and how is that compensation established (Ex: board of elders, church vote, etc..)?
We are not given this information on the site. In fact, it appears this church doesn't have a board of elders. If they do, it's not shown on the website. This would be something for Pastor Rick to consider sharing in his weekly financial post in the Church News.
13. What is the size of your congregation and any space or buildings used for church services or meetings:
This church is freaking ginormous. Sorry, I had to get some kind of humor into this post. The robotic objectivity of it is mind-numbingly tedious. Anyway, their Facebook Page shows over 3,500 likes and 3,700 followers. If I have to estimate I would say they probably have around 1,000 regular attendees/members.
I've been unable to find exact sizes on their building(s?), but a picture is worth a thousand words