by Earl H. West, Jr.

MARLBORO, N.J., (BNc) – The second in a series of monthly “preview” worship services for a new congregation was held on June 11 at the Holmdel, N.J., Community Center. Individuals from as many as five area churches have set plans to form a new congregation, formally starting weekly services in Sept., 2011.

At the first monthly preview worship service, held May 8, 35 prospective members were in attendance. At the second worship service, held on June 11, 62 were in attendance.

Church minister Carl Williamson said “…we are forming this new congregation primarily as a means of reaching people who are not currently being reached by any existing churches of Christ.” At both preview services, individuals who had never before heard of the church of Christ were in attendance.

Williamson has been deeply involved in leading the Brunswick church in North Brunswick, N.J., for the last 8 years, supported largely by the Cloverdale church in Searcy, Ark. As the North Brunswick congregation has grown and matured, the need and resources to plant again has emerged 30 miles east.

The prospective new congregation, dubbed the Gateway church of Christ, targets an official launch date of Sept. 11, 2011 in the Gateway region of New Jersey, 20 miles south of New York City. At that time, worship services will commence weekly. Currently, weekly Bible classes are held in the homes of members and visitors.

On the official launch date, prospective members and church leaders expect the church to be fully formed with qualified elders and deacons, with Carl Williamson acting as the lead evangelist. Mark Zielinski, the youth evangelist at the Freehold, N.J., congregation will take on the role of associate evangelist for the new congregation.

As the congregation has no immediate plans for building or purchasing property, all resources are being focused on the work of evangelism. Families moving into the area can review the church web site for daily updates.