The word multiplying would not describe the average church during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet Impact Church in Centreville, VA saw that the power of a pandemic is no match for the multiplying power of the Gospel.
In January of 2012, church planter Brandon Hembree began praying and sharing the Gospel and asking God to start a multiplying church in Northern Virginia. “Ultimately,” said Hembree, “we wanted to multiply disciples that would form groups, and groups that would multiply more groups, and eventually form a church that would multiply more churches.”
God answered prayer as people came to know the Lord and were discipled. The Impact Church family was knitted together with a vision of multiplying disciples, groups, and churches for the glory of God. Hembree explained, “Throughout the years, we have seen disciples and groups multiplied to span through five cities in two countries. But we were still praying for God to use us to start more churches from within Impact Church.”
One of the leaders God brought to join Impact Church was Hembree’s friend, Terry Kim. In 2018, Kim and his wife, Jamie, stepped out in faith, leaving the comfort zone of their Korean-American church, to join this young, multi-cultural church plant. Hembree and Kim’s friendship grew deeper, and their hearts were connected even more when Kim was installed as an elder at Impact. They served closely together and even traveled the world to share the Gospel. The two friends have shared victories and struggles and have given each other permission to hold the other accountable to follow Jesus wholeheartedly. Hembree affirmed, “I know Terry. I know his strengths and flaws. I see the power of God in his life in such a real way.”
In late 2019, God began to reveal to Hembree that, although he was the founding pastor, it was Hembree who should launch out and plant a new church from within Impact Church. Then COVID-19 came. Impact continued to see lives changed through baptisms and church growth. The church family embraced the call of God to multiply His Church by sending the Hembree family to plant a new church.
Hembree explained, “Everything at Impact is great. There is no reason ‘on paper’ to be leaving. There’s only one reason we would leave to do this…Jesus is alive! And He is worth losing all value in this life to see His name made famous among all nations.”
As Hembree and his wife, Ellen, prayed over what God was doing in their lives, they wondered, “Who will lead Impact when we leave?” But, Hembree shared, God revealed the answer. “Terry was certainly a person that I could hand leadership over to with no reservation or hesitations because I know his relationship with God, and I trust him with our vision.”
In October of 2020, Impact Church voted unanimously to call Terry Kim to be its next lead pastor. In November of 2020, under the leadership of Pastor Kim, Impact Church commissioned the Hembree family to plant a new church in Fredericksburg, VA.
Over the next 10 years, Fredericksburg is forecasted to experience over 70% growth. According to the Virginia Department of Transportation, Fredericksburg and Stafford are the two fastest-growing communities in Virginia. This is attributed to the fact that the Metro Washington, DC area continues to push south along the I-95 corridor.
Pastor Kim stated, “I don’t celebrate the pandemic; however, I do praise the Lord that amidst the craziness of this season, it has brought to light two things: the increased urgency for the Gospel and God showing that He cannot be stopped by a pandemic. What better way to fill in the need for the Gospel and act as a testimony for God’s faithfulness in a pandemic than to plant a church?”
Other churches have also come on board to partner with Impact Church to plant Impact FXBG. “We are excited to be a part of what God is doing through Impact FXBG,” said Pastor Adam Blosser of Goshen Baptist Church in Spotsylvania. “We want to see the Kingdom of God advance in Fredericksburg and beyond.”
“When I started Impact Church eight years ago,” said Hembree, “I never imagined I would be the one sent out to multiply. However, God made it abundantly clear to not just me but our whole church. I am not planting Impact FXBG…our church is planting Impact FXBG. Fredericksburg needs Gospel-centered churches right now. The opportunity to reach influencers from our nation’s capital and state capital is exciting and a vision only God can accomplish.” ■
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