Welcome to BeFree Dover!
At BeFree Church in Dover, NH, our purpose is to help one another respond to the invitation of Jesus on our lives to love God, love others, and make disciples. If you're curious about Jesus or you're not currently connected to another church community, come join us!
From the Blog
WHEN AND WHERE:
Sundays at 10am
One Washington Center in downtown Dover
One Washington St, Ste. 108
Dover, NH 03820
Parking is available in the parking lot just past the mill entrances on the left and also on the street in front of the mill.
Gathered and Scattered Life Together
BeFree views our life as a church as one that is both “gathered” and “scattered.” Our gathered life together centers around our weekly worship gathering where we uphold the values of worship, friendship, and mission in a corporate setting. Our scattered life happens throughout the week as smaller groups of people meet in Community Groups (CG’s) in order to uphold these same values of worship, friendship, and mission in a smaller, more intimate context. We seek to grow and go together throughout the week in CG’s, and gather to worship, encourage, and be equipped with our entire Church body in our weekly worship gathering.
Importance of Community Groups
We believe that CG’s are the primary environment for discipleship in our church community. While our weekly worship gatherings serve to encourage us through corporate worship and encouragement, we believe that the smaller size and more intentional venue of CG’s allow for greater growth in the Gospel and in engaging our community in mission. Community Groups ideally function as mini-churches living out the core practices of a community of disciples.
Key Values of Community Groups
The key values of worship, friendship, and mission that define our church are also the key values of community groups.
We desire to worship God together through reading and studying God’s Word, praying, and celebrating spiritual transformation and victories.
We desire to know each other and be known by each other, transparently sharing the joys and burdens of life in community.
We desire to engage non-believers around us through our community, inviting them to share our life alongside us.
Joining a Community Group
If you are interested in joining a CG, we are working on developing intentional and relational pathways for that process. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on joining or forming a Community Group.
DIG - Children Delighting in God
DIG at BeFree is a children’s ministry serving kids ages infant through middle school. Here at BeFree we believe God speaks to children about His redemptive story and they can respond to Him individually and within a community.
What do children do in DIG?
In recent decades, children’s ministry has become increasingly louder and more action-packed in an effort to grab the attention of today’s youth. We’ve heard startling statistics about large percentages of young adults leaving the church, and many churches have reacted by borrowing from the entertainment culture in hopes of being “relevant” and “engaging,” making church “fun” to stem the tide of attrition.
We at BeFree Dover have the same desire to disciple children toward lifelong relationships with God. But we’ve chosen to pursue that mission in a counter-cultural way, out of the conviction that children of all ages are capable of experiencing meaningful encounters with God.
In DIG, we aim to create an atmosphere for meeting with God, carving out space in our harried world for quiet and stillness, so children can listen to God himself speaking to them, and grow to recognize the voice of their Shepherd.
Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May, in their book Listening to Children on the Spiritual Journey, explain:
The following are distinctives of the reflective engagement method we practice in DIG:
1. Atmosphere of Worship
In preschool through elementary school, our classroom schedules imitate the Order of Worship repeated weekly in the regular service.
- We welcome children; we introduce ourselves; we come to know and be known.
- We sing praises.
- We quiet ourselves in this special place so we can listen to God.
- We hear God’s voice through his Word.
- We respond as individuals (using art materials).
- We share in community what God has taught us.
- We pray.
- We break bread with our snack (or join the service for communion).
- We avoid games and one-size-fits-all crafts because we want the focus to be on God’s Story and our individual places in it. We don’t want kids to rush through any part of worship to get to the “fun stuff."
2. God's Story
Central to our worship with children is God’s story, as revealed in scripture. God’s story teaches children what God has revealed to humanity about his character and his redemptive purposes. It also shows them that they are a part of God’s Great Story. The Holy Spirit is the real teacher here as the Word of God speaks.
3. Wondering Responses and Sharing
After God’s Word is read, we invite wondering questions about the story. This practice communicates to children that they can actively engage with the story AND with God! They’re not just a passive audience. Teachers and children alike share what the story stirs in their hearts. As we listen to children, we’re given a window into their encounters with God. As they share their reflections, they participate in Spirit-led community with one another. No one is forced to share, but they are acknowledged and affirmed as they do.
4.Listening and Reflecting
Our quiet time of private reflection in DIG gives children an opportunity to listen to the still, small voice of God, as they work out their response to him using art materials. This practice is a realistic reflection of what our relationships with God are actually like outside of the weekly church gathering (see 1 Kings 19:11-12). We listen to God, and we respond to him.
Jesus demonstrates in the Gospels a counter-cultural way of being with children. When his disciples bickered over who would be the greatest in his kingdom, he said,
The reflective engagement method assumes that we have something to teach one another – adults and children alike. Some of our finest teachers in the DIG program are older adults whose wisdom and humility have guided them toward children’s ministry. As these adults lead worship in their DIG classrooms, they show respect for the children, and children respond in especially rich ways when they sense that they are a valued part of God’s kingdom.
Parents, I invite you to come worship with us some Sunday and experience spiritual fellowship with children!
Interview with Gina Henker explains the kind of environment DIG seeks to cultivate and how genuinely satisfying it is for her to worship with some of the youngest disciples at BeFree.
Gina grew up in New Hampshire and graduated with a BA in English from Cedarville University and an MA in English from the University of Louisville. She taught high school and college English until she suspended her career to raise her three children, Louisa, Thomas, and Camilla.
In 2011, her family joined BeFree Dover and she began volunteering in DIG. There she witnessed the beauty of DIG’s reflective engagement approach to children’s ministry, and God developed her passion for the spiritual formation of children. In 2016, she came on as the Children's Ministry Director.
To learn more about DIG, click here to check out and subscribe to our blog:
Student ministry at BeFree is grounded in the desire to develop disciples who love God supremely, love others sacrificially, and reach out and make disciples themselves as an overflow of their love for God and others.
The discipleship of our middle school and high school students begins in the home, continues in the existing structure of the local church, takes expression in student-specific ministries, and overflows in mission to those students who are outside the church in our local schools. These circles of discipleship (the home, the church, student-specific ministry, and mission) and the philosophy behind them are detailed here.
High School Student-Specific Ministries:
Young Life: We partner with Young Life, an outreach to unchurched high school students, here in Dover. Young Life Club meets weekly on Monday nights at 7:30 PM, usually in the Dover BeFree Conference Room. Contact Bjorn Anderson (email@example.com) or for more info, visit https://seacoast.younglife.org/Pages/default.aspx
High School Community Group/Discipleship: We also encourage high school students to gather regularly for a time of discipleship and fellowship in a Community Group or small group times of discipleship. The High School Community Group is currently meeting on Sunday nights. For more info, contact Andrew & Cristy Tripp (firstname.lastname@example.org).
**We intentionally do not offer a Sunday morning class for high school students as they are encouraged to engage corporately with our church body in our Worship Gathering.**
Middle School Student-Specific Ministries:
DIG Classes: We offer specific DIG classes during our Worship Gatherings for 5/6 Grades and also for 7/8 Grades. These classes meet 3 weeks out of every month, with students spending the 4th week, engaging in the entire Worship Gathering with their family.
**Middle school DIG classes break during the Summer and resume after Labor Day.**
Wyld Life: Wyld Life is the middle school branch of Young Life and is beginning in Dover this winter. A wonderful team of leaders will be gathering middle school students 1-2 times each month on Friday nights for times of adventure and fun as well as Wyld Life Club events. For more information on Wyld Life please contact Bjorn Anderson (email@example.com)
Jamie grew up in Maine and New Hampshire. He graduated from UNH in 1998 with a B.A. in History. Immediately after graduating, he worked for several years in the financial and technology industries. All along, though, he felt led by God to pursue local church ministry.
After completing his Master of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Jamie moved to Dover in 2006 with his wife, Kiley, and their two children for the purpose of developing BeFree Church in Dover.
Bjorn grew up in the greater Boston area and graduated from the College of William & Mary in Virginia in 1998 with a B.A. in History. After teaching U.S. History in Georgia for a year, Bjorn joined Young Life staff in 1999, working in Virginia and Exeter, NH. Along with his wife, Abby, and their two boys, Soren and Nils, Bjorn moved to Dover in 2009 to re-start the Young Life ministry there. Bjorn currently works for Young Life as a staff trainer and new area developer.
The Anderson family joined Be Free shortly after moving to Dover and Bjorn began working as the Pastor of Community Groups in October 2012.
CHILDREN'S MINISTRY DIRECTOR
Gina grew up in New Hampshire and graduated with a BA in English from Cedarville University and an MA in English from the University of Louisville. She taught high school and college English until she suspended her career to raise her three children, Louisa, Thomas, and Camilla. In 2011, her family joined BeFree Dover and she began volunteering in DIG. There she witnessed the beauty of DIG’s reflective engagement approach to children’s ministry, and God developed her passion for the spiritual formation of children. In 2016, she came on as the Children's Ministry Director.
AJ was born and raised in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts. After transferring from Lehigh University, he graduated from UNH in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science—but only after having placed his faith in Christ at the end of his junior year.
In 2015, AJ followed God’s leading to enroll at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he is currently a full-time student in the Master of Divinity program. He decided to stay in NH and commute to GC in order to remain a part of BeFree Dover and continue his full-time job at a financial advisory firm in Portsmouth. He enjoys all racquet sports, philosophy, theology, and good conversation.
Joel grew up on the NH seacoast. He graduated from UNH with a B.A. in English and attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he completed his Master of Divinity. Afterwards, he worked for a year at an orphanage in Ukraine with his wife Katy.
Joel and Katy returned to Dover and began attending BeFree in 2013. Since then, their family has grown to four with the addition of two daughters. Joel became the Pastoral Assistant in 2016. Outside of BeFree, Joel is an entrepreneur running Joy Lane Farm, a natural products startup.