Some questions you might ask:
Q: What is the name of your church?
A: They claim not to have a name
Q: Do you believe in the Bible?
A: Yes. Follow the New Testament teachings.
Q: What version of the Bible do you use?
A: Predominantly the KJV (some may have other versions they use for reference purposes)
Q: What is the name of the hymnbook you use?
A: Hymns Old & New in English speaking countries, and names that generally translate to this title in non-English speaking countries.
Q: Do you worship in a building or a home?
A: Home – but some meetings are held in buildings.
Q: Where are your headquarters?
A: don’t have any.
Q: Tell me about your ministers.
A: Preach in same-sex pairs (2×2); leave their homes behind permanently, do not marry, stay with converts, are itinerant, supported by voluntary gifts from members.
Q: When and where was your church started?
A: May get one of two answers: (1) Jesus started it–it goes back to the time Jesus sent out the disciples in the NT; (2) sometime around 1900 in Ireland
Q: Who started it? What is the name of your founder?
A: May get one of two answers: (1) Wm Irvine and/or Edward Cooney; or (2) Jesus started it–it goes back to the time Jesus sent out the disciples in the NT.
The following is an example of how questions may be answered: The speaker quoted is a senior brother worker/preacher named Dale Spencer.
“Maybe it was a mistake but every day we would go into this town and we’d have a different car from the friends as we were staying with different friends and would just borrow their car to run into this town and try and see one of the men. So we came in with a blue Ford, one day and a black Chevy the next day and a red Plymouth one day and one day we came in with the school bus, on the Saturday. So what happened was that they sent out a warrant to have us investigated as suspicious-looking characters. I’d hardly blame them. We’d gone around and knocked on doors and invited the people and this was a few days after we had started. Word came to us that the Sheriff had been looking for us for three days.
“My young companion had just started in the work and he got that word so he went over to one of our friends as he’d left a shirt with the lady who had said she would wash it for him. I was looking out the window and I saw my young companion coming up the street and he was really coming. He had that shirt on a hanger and it was sticking straight out behind him. He was running so fast and he came dashing into the house where we were staying and between panting said that the sheriff’s been looking for us for three days. I said: “What have you done now?” “I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t do nothing.” Bless his heart, I knew he hadn’t done anything but he said the sheriff’s been looking for us for three days. So I said, “Well I wonder what we ought to do. Maybe we should go see him.” “Oh no, no, no.” He sure didn’t want to go see the sheriff. Well, I said, “We’d better go see the sheriff.”
“So we did and we went into the sheriff’s office and the girl said: “Oh, are you those two preachers? We’ve been looking for you for three days. I say, “Well here we are and she says, “Well sit down right there.” She sat us down on the bench and got on the phone and it was hardly three minutes and in walked the sheriff.
“I wish you could have seen the sheriff. I am just going to describe him to you briefly. He was a man about six feet six tall, half a foot taller than I am and he was immaculately dressed, you should have seen the man. Immaculately dressed in a tan western suit. I think you all know what a western suit is. A beautiful western suit and he had those cowboy boots on and that gave him another two inches at least and then he had this big white hat. Plus the biggest silver star I ever saw, a big, big thing. Well he comes walking in and he says, “Are you those two preachers?” He looked at me because I was the oldest and I said, “Yes sir, we are preachers.” “Come into my office,” he says and he gets out his clipboard and he gets out his report sheet. He sits down in his swivel chair and he sits us one here and one there. He says: “I have got to investigate you men because you have been reported as suspicious-looking characters and we want to know what you’re up to.”
“So he says, “Your names please,” and he got our names down and then he started asking us questions. He asked us certain questions, and they won’t sound so strange to you when I tell you what they were. He says: “What’s the name of your church?” and he looks straight at me and I say, “Well sir, we don’t have a name to our church.” “No name?” “No sir.” “Where’s your church building?” “Well sir we don’t have a church building.” “No church building?” ” No sir.” “Well, where’s your seminary? Where do you fellows learn how to preach?” I said “Well sir we don’t have any seminary. We just learn in the school of experience.” So he says “Well, where’s your home?” “Sheriff, we don’t have any home as we just live with our friends and move around amongst our friends. We’ve been preaching around here but we don’t have any home.” Well, he says “Where is your headquarters?” I could have told him it is in Heaven but thought that probably didn’t fit too good. So I said, “We don’t have any earthly headquarters, sir.” “Don’t have any headquarters? Well, then who pays your salary?” I said: “We don’t have any salary.” I was just trying to be honest, and he says, “Where’s your car right now?”
“Anyway we weren’t doing too good but anyway the sheriff asked us those questions and all of a sudden he’d come unwound out of that swivel chair and he came over to me that great big man, came marching over to where I was sitting there and he stuck out that great big hand and took my little hand and he shook it and he said, “Boys I am sorry about this. I want you to accept my apologies. There has been a terrible mistake here.” I say, “Hey?” I didn’t know what the mistake was but he said, “I have embarrassed you young men and caused all this embarrassment.” Then he says “I believe you are the true Servants of God,” and he says, “Will you pardon me and will God forgive me?” That big old sheriff you know, and he says, “Boys, that’s all. You can go now, you are excused, but listen, can I tell you one thing? If anybody in this county ever bothers you again, will you come right straight to me?” I say, “Yes sir, we sure will.” So we all had a good smile and we shook hands and we left.
“I did say …”Sheriff, maybe if I could just have five minutes or so of your time, I could tell you about our work and you’d understand what we’re doing.” He said, “Go ahead young man, go ahead.” So I just told him that we both had nice cars once and we sold our cars. We had parents and nice homes, we were living at home and we left our homes. I went with an older man years ago and this young man has just recently gone with me and we have learned in the school of experience what little we know about preaching.” And I said, “All last summer we had meetings in Harmony Hall, two blocks up the street.” He said: “I knew something was going on up there and I wondered what it was.” We’d had meetings there in Harmony Hall for the whole summer. Two blocks up from his police station and had a great mission there. Well, he said “I knew there was something going on up there,” but that is as close as he ever got. Anyway, that’s when he jumped up and said, “There has been a big mistake here and I want you boys to accept my apologies. We had this warrant sworn out and we had to investigate it but you boys go right on with your work,” and he says, “God bless you and you pray for me.”
“Well, Sheriff Rolander wasn’t as bad as he looked. He near scared us to death when he came walking in there. I just thought I would tell you this little story because that illustrates to me that we are like the ‘have not’s’ and the things the world thinks we need to have, we don’t have any of it, and we are just glad we don’t but we have the Lord and we have everything.”
Georgetown, Texas Convention, 2005