by Laura S. Tinnel
PURCELLVILLE, Va. (BNc) – The church of Christ in Purcellville, VA met Sunday evening, November 15, to kick off its new evangelism effort in Loudoun County, VA.
The town of Purcellville, population 5137, is located 52 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., near the West Virginia border, in an area considered to be a mission field.
Loudoun is the fastest growing county in Virginia and the fourth fastest growing county in the United States. It grew 71% from the period of 2000 to 2008. It has approximately 290,000 residents. Purcellville is one of 26 cities and towns in the county.
There are very few congregations of the church in the county, and all are less than 100in size. This affords relatively few workers for a rapidly growing harvest.
Jerry Wright, recently appointed evangelism deacon, brought a lesson Sunday eveningto the congregants on the topic of evangelism, reminding members that while there are different types of soil, we cannot know whether the seed will take root or not. We simply must spread the seed. He then led the organizational meeting after services. Approximately 35-40 members and children attended the meeting.
Wright oversaw the recent building of the congregation’s new meeting place, which took over six years from purchase of land to occupancy. “While this congregation put a lot of time and resources into this building, it’s just a tool to use in evangelism. Evangelism is the real work of the church, and I’m really excited about this,” said Wright.
A two-prong methodology was proposed for reaching the lost in the Purcellville and surrounding communities. The first area focused on broadcasting to reach out to a wide range of people to open doors. Traditional methods such as TV, radio, newspaper advertisements, and direct mailings were discussed. The general consensus was that the Internet would be more effective and less costly than these older methods.
Corporations have long since recognized the value of an Internet presence and Internet-based advertising. “This [outreach effort] is not too different from direct marketing in the business world,” said Tammie Calys, member and Vice President of Sales for a regional IT company. Calys suggested the use of webinars, which have proven an effective tool in direct sales.
Wright also proposed several direct one-on-one interaction approaches. Ideas discussed included hospital and nursing home visitations and conducting Bible studies in the Loudoun County regional jail.
Hosting an open food pantry was also discussed, as there are many needy in the community given the current economic climate. “Our school has a food pantry. It’s been emptied four times this year already, and they are asking for anyone else who can help,” said Cindy McClelland, member and local school teacher.
Wright called for all members to volunteer in any areas in which they would be interested in helping. He plans on short monthly meetings to discuss progress and any issues that might come up.
The Purcellville congregation consists of about 35 adults and 30 teens and young children. It is served by three elders and four deacons but does not have a full time pulpit preacher. Five men of the congregation and visiting speakers from the church in Martinsburg, WV share the responsibility of bringing lessons at each Sunday service.
The congregation has the only permanent meeting facility of the Lord’s body in the county. It is presently self-supporting but is seeking short-term assistance to bring in a full time preacher to assist in its local evangelism efforts in the rapidly growing community. The congregation has a goal of growing to the point of needing no external assistance within five years. Anyone interested in supporting this mission work is asked to contact the congregation’s elders.
For further information, visit the congregation’s website at www.PurcellvilleCoC.org.
Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.