Living His Mission:
VILLAGE CHURCH AT MIDLOTHIAN
by Steve Gentry, Lead Pastor of Village Church at Midlothian
THEN JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES, ‘IF ANYONE WANTS TO COME WITH ME, HE MUST DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.’ – MATTHEW 16:24 (HCSB)
In 2008, a team of nine moved to Midlothian, VA to plant a church with a focus on worshiping Jesus and living His mission. In September 2009, Village Church began holding public services. Their mission was to worship God by helping as many people as possible become fully devoted followers of Jesus. By God’s grace, the church has grown to hundreds gathered weekly for corporate worship and in groups that meet in homes, restaurants, and coffee shops throughout the week.
The people of Village Church are exhorted to live within two tensions. The first is that they are pushed outside of the walls of the church to live for Jesus in the community. The second is that they are encouraged to be a part of the culture of discipleship within the church. The Sunday worship experience and group gatherings are meant to offer environments to equip Christians to go live the mission and be connected to discipleship within the church.
To reach the culture while staying rooted in the local church, there must also be an example of Gospel partnerships with other churches. Church planting is not about breaking molds as much as it is about extending a legacy. Before Village Church began meeting publicly, it partnered with the SBC of Virginia, Grove Avenue Baptist Church (Richmond, VA), and Parkway Baptist Church (Moseley, VA).
Through the SBCV, Village Church had the support of an entire family of churches committed to the integrity and proclamation of the Gospel. This Gospel partnership served as an encouragement to the church and a reminder that they could accomplish more through cooperation than alone. Village’s partner churches provided much-needed support, including mentoring, fellowship, financial resources, and support from church members.
“This was a team effort,” explains Village Church lead pastor Steve Gentry. “The mentoring and relationships provided were vital to the strategy and growth of Village Church. In every step, we knew that we were never alone in every season.”
These partnerships have helped the church further its vision by building relationships and partnering with other churches as much as possible.
Since its inception, Village Church has changed locations four times. The first few years were spent in a portable setting, beginning in an elementary school cafetorium then expanding to a middle school auditorium. After leasing and renovating an aging, abandoned church building, Village Church purchased a full-time facility in the heart of Chesterfield County. The theme of cooperating with other churches was seen in this purchase, as it involved three different churches purchasing different facilities in order for the move to work.
In May 2015, Village opened its new facility to plant roots deep within the population of Midlothian in an era where many churches are forced to move out of population centers to buy land.
“Staying within the population was non-negotiable. We wanted to stay where the people were to live up to our mission statement of ‘as many people as possible,’” shares Pastor Steve. The partnership with the SBC of Virginia proved valuable during this purchase, as the advice and network established aided the church in navigating these waters. “Without the partnerships and relationships within the SBCV, we would not have been able to plant roots within our area in this way to commit to this community over the long haul.”
A VISION FOR MULTIPLICATION
With a DNA of partnership from the beginning, Village Church has always sought to be a multiplying church. They are involved in international missions and also partner with church planters in the US. Village has helped start six new churches so far through financial, relational, and logistical support.
“Our vision for the mission of Jesus must be larger than what we can do ourselves. Partnering with new church plants enables us to reach people with the Gospel all over Virginia and beyond,” explains executive pastor Nate Schlomann.
Village is committed to forming a culture of multiplication. From its vision of partnership to its plans to send out teams from within the church to start new churches in Richmond and beyond, they are fashioning their mission to make disciples of Jesus.
“Multiplication is accelerated through forming Gospel partnerships that work together towards that end,” says Pastor Steve. As Village continues to reach Midlothian, its work is multiplying far beyond.