Archive for the Church Visits Category

A New Beginning for Crossings Church

Posted in Church Planting, Church Visits on October 11, 2012 by Waypoint Church Partners

Crossings brought downtown Roanoke alive last Sunday morning. Volunteers began arriving before 7:30 and by 9 had transformed the large lobby of 16 West into an friendly, warm setting for worship. 130 people eventually filled the chairs, enjoyed excellent coffee and got to experience the first service of a new church designed to reach those who are living in the downtown Roanoke area and those who are coming to serve the city in unique ways.

The church, led by Josh Parrish had a strong first service with lots of folks filling out connect cards and hanging talking about the church and meeting each other long after the last music ended. The newly hired Creative Arts Pastor, Daniel Baranowski, was on hand and will begin leading the church worship and creative efforts starting this Sunday, October 14.

Crossings meets at 10 on Church Street in the 16 West building. They have a full range of children’s programs, secure nursery and lots of folks to take great care of your kids. There is plenty of free parking on Sundays downtown in any of the municipal parking garages.

Check them out at

The New Church Era

Posted in Church Visits on October 21, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners
author: Harry Gill, Director of Church Relations
Today I worshipped in a church that had no stained glass, organ music or a formal benediction.  There were policemen in the hall, but not to restore order, just to help with the traffic.  There was a lot of traffic.  The guys in the parking lot waved at me and guided me to a parking spot.  Two ladies shivering in the cold, held the door for me with a smile.  A guy inside, wearing a red polo shirt shook my hand and welcomed me.
From the hallway I could hear the music start.  Probably could have heard it out in the road; it was 93 decibels by actual measure.  In the hallway it was like mass confusion but everyone seemed to know just what to do and the signs around the place gave me as a visitor a certain comfort level.
Inside the high school auditorium, several folks asked if I needed them to find a seat for me as the place was nearly filled. Then it started!  Three songs I didn’t know; that is they weren’t “The Old Rugged Cross”  or “Rock of Ages.”  But then the pastor, as he was called, gave a great explanation of what the Lord’s Supper was all about, and then it was passed through the congregation.
The sermon had a neat way of presenting the profound Gospel truths in a manner that was challenging but not offensive, (except for the brownie story.)  The six hundred of us were impressed by the logic of the message that explained that we know much more of the Word of God than we practice.  The plea was to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
When it was all over, I stayed for the second service to see if they could give me that great experience again, and they did.  WOW! Practical! Biblical! Sensible! Casual! but Tasteful!  Thank you,  Journey of Midlothian.

West Park Church of Christ

Posted in Church Visits on September 28, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Dave Hileman, Executive Director

Yesterday I was able to attend a service at West Park Church of Christ in Portsmouth on my way to share one of the VEF programs, Converge, with a growing church, Towne South, near Elizabeth City, NC.

West Park is a vibrant congregation who have grown and grown while wedged into a tiny sliver of property in the midst of the city. What struck me the most this Sunday morning was the passion as he preached and the diligent preparation that went before he ever began to speak that was evident in Keith Lewis’ sermon. You know immediately that this man is steeped in his text and delivers a complex message with hardly a glance at his notes in a most engaging manner. West Park has creatively addressed their property issues several times over the years and evolved their worship services but what drives their growth, in my opinion, is the focus on and and the clear proclamation of the Word of God.

West Park was also instrumental as a partner with the VEF in the forming of Celebration Christian Church.

If you are ever in the area West Park would be a great place to share in a worship service. Check them out at

Every Story Has a Beginning

Posted in Church Planting, Church Visits, Prayer Request, Thank You on September 12, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Dave Hileman, Executive Director

261 people gathered for the first public worship service at Discovery Christian Church in Bristol at the YMCA on Sunday, September 11. While the excitement of the day was clear, “it seems like Christmas morning,”  the preparations and prayers underway since early Spring were evident in how well everything went and especially how comfortable both staff and volunteers were with the myriad of tasks needed for an excellent opening day (and beyond!).

The Y is just a couple of blocks from State Street in the heart of downtown Bristol and has great parking. And once you left your car, you were greeted at the door, inside, at the top of the stairs (or elevator) and again entering the worship area. Good signs and smiling faces directed people to the right places: check in for children’s area or the nursery, a hot cup of coffee or the Connection Point. The band did a very good job, graphics were sharp and the room was buzzing as more and more chairs had to be set up as the worship service began. Tony Marr did a masterful job with the beginning of a series on Acts, Every Story has a Beginning, the continuing of God’s story; he tied it all into our stories as well.

As of September 11, 2011 in Bristol there is an exciting new place to encounter Jesus, grow in faith and service and touch the lives of many people in the area living far from God.

Please join them some Sunday at 10. For directions and information check out Discovery’s web site at: or on Facebook at

More Pictures:

Roanoke Valley’s Best Kept Secret

Posted in Church Planting, Church Visits on July 27, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

Nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a twenty minute drive north of Roanoke, VA is a close-knit community of believers meeting in an unusual and unexpectedly beautiful place.

Crossings Christian Church began less than three years ago, and was not born of a messy church split but instead a vision of hope, to see new life and growth in this mountainous, growing region of the Commonwealth. They meet in a stunning space that seems to simply rise up out of the hills – The Greenfield Education Center in Daleville, VA. The building, primarily meant for fancy business meetings and special events, is Crossings home.

Originally founded by minister Beaver Terry, the reigns were recently handed over to Josh Parrish, a member of Crossings since day one. As soon as he heard about the launch of Crossings Church back in September of 2008, he knew he wanted to be a part of something new and different. He began teaching the church’s Bible 101 and 201 classes, a new members class, and preached a few times a year. When Beaver Terry felt God’s call to leave Crossings for another ministry opportunity, Josh seemed like the obvious choice to take his place. He formerly applied for the position along with other applicants, and in January 2011 Josh became the Senior Minister at Crossings Christian Church.

But that’s not the only exciting change that has come to Crossings recently. Johnson University graduate (formerly Johnson Bible College) joined the ministry staff at Crossings in March 2011. Having just finished an internship at a church plant in Las Vegas, Nevada, Allen Snell was hired as the Worship and Creative Arts Director for Crossings.

Allen is a man passionate about storytelling – in all it’s forms. He has experience in preaching and youth ministry, but is especially excited right now to stretch members at Crossings with worship, music, and other forms of creativity. Allen even has his own YouTube channel (BarrelofJesus), which is a eclectic mix of Allen (and guests) playing worship songs and pop hits.

Josh and Allen make a passionate team, ready to reach those without Christ in the area. If you are from or just passing through the Roanoke Valley, you really should stop by and see what they are all about. I, personally, expect that greatest things this community of believers has to offer are yet to come.

author: Rachel Price, VEF Director of Media

A Promise in the Sky

Posted in Church Visits on June 1, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Harry Gill, Director of Church Relations

May I tell you a fascinating story? Its about a little congregation in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley called the Raphine Christian Church. It is located about 2 miles from the village of Greenville
This congregation began several years ago in an abandoned A M E church building.  They reached the community and grew to the point they moved into a building at the current location.  Since October of 1976, John and Mari Ward and their family provided leadership for the congregation until three years ago on the Sunday before Memorial day.  That day the church was completely destroyed by fire.  (Now for the part that I find fascinating!)
On the very day of the fire, a rainbow appeared in the Valley and seemed to culminate at the burned out church building.  The little congregation vowed to rebuild  with the encouragement of John and Mari and continued services at the area community building.  After three years, a new building was erected on the grounds where the old one burned.  A week or two ago, before the first service was held, a double RAINBOW appeared to end right at the steeple of this lovely new building.
May 29, 2011, three years to the day, the first service was held in the new building.  I had the privilege of bringing a message of encouragement from the example in Scripture of Nehemiah.  But somehow it was anti-climatic – The excitement of the day and the tears of joy shed more than christened this beautiful building.
One last thought lest you think they are New Age-y, they interpreted the rainbow sign as from God to continue preaching the undiluted Gospel of the New Testament Church so that men and women, boys and girls can find the Salvation that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I seem to remember another time when God sent a Rainbow.

Oakland Christian Church Visit

Posted in Church Visits on January 7, 2011 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Dave Hileman, VEF Executive Director

Cindy and I shared in the worship at Oakland Christian Church the first Sunday of the new year. The church is located a few miles south of Kenbridge in a beautiful rural setting. While the congregation is few in number they were warm and welcoming and we felt right at home.

Varsity Christian Church

Posted in Church Planting, Church Visits, Worship on October 22, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Rachel Price, Director of Media Communications

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina there is a movement growing.

Chapel Hill is one of the wealthiest cities in North Carolina, and perhaps most well known as being home to a major university, the University of North Carolina. However, only about 8% of the population attends church on a Sunday morning, and Chad Simpkins is determined to do something about that.

There are many obstacles, no doubt about it. But that’s not stopping Chad from doing everything he can to share the Gospel with his new community. He moved with his wife and three young children to Chapel Hill this past year and has been focused on developing relationships with his neighbors and in his surrounding community ever since.

On October 10, 2010 (10/10/10) at 10am, Varsity Christian Church held its first preview service at the Timberlyne 6 Theatre in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This was the first of several preview services in the coming months.

Preview services are designed to let the community see what the church is going to look like once it is fully launched this coming January 2011. This way, the lead pastor can spend the majority of his time developing relationships instead of on planning upcoming services. This “soft launch” is more community focused and especially in unchurched areas helps insure that the full launch will be a success.

Varsity Christian Church’s next preview service will be November 7th, 2010 at 10am (Get Directions). If you are in the area, please support the VEF’s newest church plant by attending.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina there is a movement growing. And we want to be a part of it.

“Interactive Eucharist” at Common Ground

Posted in Church Planting, Church Visits, Travel, Worship on August 16, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Tim Cole, Director of Church Planting

I recently got to visit Common Ground Christian Church, one of our church plants in Fredericksburg, VA led by Gregg Jennings. CGCC made a big move a couple of months ago from the High School in the suburbs where they’ve been meeting for the past couple of years to the auditorium of the historic First Christian Church near downtown. First Christian was founded before the Civil War!

This move will allow them to be much closer to the action for all the community related service they do and to more aggressively reach out to the students at Mary Washington University right across the street. Common Ground’s worship and atmosphere has always been appealing to college students, now they’ll be able to actually walk to church!
Because of the traditional worship service of the host church in the morning, CGCC’s worship service is now at 4pm every Sunday afternoon, followed by “First Supper”, a fellowship meal in the basement each week. Their practice picks up on a recent trend in some circles toward reclaiming the Eucharist as an actual meal to be shared by the Body of Christ, not just the simple elements of communion. I think it’s a great idea. We all know that anytime you can combine worship with homemade noodle salad that has to be a good thing!

We enjoyed the modern worship, the no-nonsense teaching from the Book of 1st Peter, the fellowship meal, but most of all the huge proportion of young children that spilled out of their classrooms to join us as we ate together as a “family.”

Check out for more info.

Commonality and Uniqueness

Posted in Church Visits, Travel on February 2, 2010 by Waypoint Church Partners

author: Dave Hileman

I have been to worship at four very distinct venues this January. A traditional but casual service, a contemporary service, a dynamic live service with video preaching and, on the snowed in last Sunday of January, a live web cast service. Each one a significant blessing and each a unique locale, from a worship building to a YMCA to a theatre to my living room and each one a different feel. But in common, the Word was preached, communion served (DIY at Hileman’s), music sung and prayers shared. It is amazing how the central tenents of our faith endure regardless of the setting. Make sure you find your way to gather in worship this Sunday and rejoice in our commonality and our uniqueness.