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June 18, 2013

Why Another Presbyterian Church in Crozet?

Knowing that Crozet has been well served by two historic Presbyterian churches (Tabor and Lebanon)  and knowing that another Presbyterian church is also staring (Crozet Village Church), why do we need another Presbyterian Church?

Though this question is short, the answer could be rather long.  There are many facets to our response. (Originally we documented 9 points in this answer but we will limit ourselves to 5.)

  1. First, we must remember that more churches - not less churches - are actually better for a community. Can you imagine a town or city that would say, "Man! I wish we had fewer churches here. People are being taught to love God and neighbor.  They are also serving the widow, orphan and poor. Ugh! We need less of that."? No way! Instead, more churches means more seats for more people to hear about the Loving One who changes us to love and serve our communty. It means more assistance to more people. Studies show that morals and morale in a community are better if there are faith based institutions growing in that community. Thus, more churches will help the future of Crozet, not hurt it.
  2. Second, we must remember that Crozet is still going to triple in size (comparing the Master Plan's final projected population of 18,000 to the 2010 Census which registered the Crozet population at 5,565.) Perhaps we need to triple the amount of churches in Crozet as well - especially when one considers that so many Crozetians say they like our small town feel.  Without new churches starting, we might soon look like typical suburban America with large megachurches. By starting more churches, we will enable moderate size churches to flourish.
  3. Third, in asking this question many assume that a new church will steal from or do violence to the older churches. This is not our desire. We are praying for every church in Crozet to flourish. And we must remember that - though it seems counterintuitive - studies have shown that starting new churches actually revitalizes older churches. As Tim Keller states, "The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else - not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing megachurches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes - will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting." (Go here for Keller's full talk which gives further explanation.)
  4. Next, if one does assume that a new church will steal from or do violence to older churches, may we suggest that this assumption arises more from our capitalistic or consumeristic assumptions than it arises from Biblical assumptions.  Consumerism tempts us to say, "Be better than others. Outdo competitors!" The Bible says, "Love everyone. Pray that  everyone thrives. Recognize the unique gifting of the other." We are brothers and sisters with all of those who confess the true faith. We are pleased to see the unique communities God is building in the other churches in Crozet. And, as we already stated, we are asking the Lord to help all of the churches in Crozet flourish. In addition, we are praying that other churches spring up in the years to come.
  5. And if one is concerned that we are all Presbyterian, then remember that this is simply a way of describing our structure for church government and some of the things we see scripture emphasizing. We are all "mere Christians."

Let us conclude with an illustration. One of our churches recently started a daughter church less than one mile from its campus. Why? Because they believed in the above principles so strongly that they wanted to offer more seats and a new vibrant fellowship for those who have yet to come in. It may seem counterintuative... but they are seeing it work. May we see God bless too!

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