There’s a new church coming to town, and I think it’s gonna be a good one.

New Valley Church, led by Waynesboro native Pastor K.J. Washington, will begin holding regular Sunday morning services this morning at its 204 Arch Avenue downtown location. Service starts at 10 a.m., but get there early — I heard they’ll be serving gourmet coffee and pastries!

Why do would a pastor of one church be promoting another church? Isn’t that some sort of conflict of interest? Isn’t there a competition between churches, as each tries to build its own numbers by any means necessary?

Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

In other words, while there are many local congregations that meet every Sunday morning all across the world to worship Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, there is actually only one church. We often refer to this church as the “universal church,” and this church is made up of all of God’s children, all who have received and believed in Jesus Christ.

I am a fan of the local church. I believe God gave us the local church as a gift to help us grow, to help us love and to help us help others. This is not saying that every local church is a good one, because, unfortunately, there are plenty of Sunday morning gatherings of people that don’t meet the criteria for a New Testament church. Plenty do, however, and for each one of those, I am thankful.

God has given the church to build up His children, bless those who are not yet His children and to glorify Himself. His children (as defined by John 1:12-13) are built up as we gather regularly, pray for one another, instruct each other in the Bible and live together in community.

Those on the outside are blessed as the church helps meet physical needs in the community (historically, most hospitals, food banks and shelters were started by churches) while it also meets spiritual needs by pointing people to their only hope for eternal salvation in Christ alone.

God is honored and glorified when the church functions as it should, as a beacon of light and as a collective of worshippers who submit their lives to Him in grateful obedience. I say, there’s always more room for a church like that!

We don’t need any more churches that change the meaning of Scripture to fit the culture instead of helping the culture change according to Scripture. We don’t need any more churches that grow in number by telling everyone they are fine just the way they are instead of growing people deeper by showing them that they are sinners in need of radical change.

We don’t need any more churches that work tirelessly on social justice issues, but fail to address society’s greater need, repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation. We have plenty of those churches in the area and we don’t need any more of them.

On the other hand, there will always be the need for more churches that love people enough to help them both physically and spiritually. There will always be the need for more churches that believe working towards righting social injustice is important, but recognize that there is a great hope for mankind in Jesus, even when social injustices still exist.

There will always be the need for more churches that believe the Bible is the completely true and is still helpful today as the final authority in the Christian’s life, not just one of many helpful guides that contains some good advice that maybe we should sometimes consider.

When visiting New Valley Church’s website, the church’s mission is stated as, “New Valley Church exists to worship God by seeing as many people as possible transformed by the Gospel.”

That’s my church’s mission too, and should be the mission for all New Testament churches. No, there’s no competition here at all; all local churches that exist to proclaim the Gospel of salvation and transformed lives in Jesus Christ alone are on the same team!

So, head on down to New Valley this morning (or any other Bible-teacher, Jesus-preaching, People-reaching churches) — I bet Pastor K.J. will be tickled to find out you came because you read about him in the paper!

Mark Wingfield, pastor of First Baptist Church in Grottoes, is a columnist for The News Virginian. His column is published Sundays.

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