Here is a list of questions we often get from people who visit our community. Some of them are asked more often by those who aren’t accustomed to attending a church gathering, and others by those that are. Either way, this is a good place to start. Let us know if these don’t answer your questions or lead to more.
What is your basic mission? What are you trying to do?
Our mission, goals, or whatever you want to call it, can be summed up in three simple words: Invest, Invite and Inspire. We invest in one another’s spiritual growth, but also the spiritual growth of those we live and work around everyday. We invite those that haven’t become followers of Jesus to do so, and to accept his forgiveness and begin to lead a life like he led. Then we inspire one another to change the world. We aren’t just here to soak up all the God stuff we can and then wait until heaven for the good stuff to start. Jesus actually taught quite clearly that he saw great beauty among the brokenness in our world now and he wants us to be heavily involved in drawing attention to what God is doing today. We are constantly sending each other out into the world to be witnesses to the risen Messiah. Sometimes this works out as a church ministry, but more often than not, this looks like each of us seeking to live out the mission of Jesus in our families, neighborhoods, work places, towns, cities and world.
Shouldn’t the order be invite, invest and inspire?
We get this question fairly frequently. And the way many churches approach this issue, it should be that way. But we have seen that many of those who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah and have begun to follow him have done so through a process of questioning their own beliefs and through questioning and learning about what the Bible teaches. We also see the “invite” as being more than just an invitation to initiate a relationship with Jesus, as central as that is. As I have looked back on my walk with Christ, there have been times I wasn’t really following him. I was sitting and watching others do it for me. So, the challenge to follow Jesus isn’t just for someone who needs to start things up, but also for those of us who already have. In fact, the “inspire one another to change the world” really only makes sense if we see that we are called to invest in the spiritual development of ourselves and those around us and be active followers of Jesus.
Who are you affiliated with?
We are officially affiliated with a network of Churches called the Ecclesia Network. This network serves us in many different ways: we are provided with accountability, coaching, networking, and most importantly, partnership in mission.
Why do you meet in so many places and not just one big church?
For us, there hasn’t ever been a felt need to gather together in a particular kind of place. Over the history of the New Testament church, they have met everywhere from tombs around decaying bodies to magnificent cathedrals. For us, the issue is more about what we are trying to do. Then we look for a space the meets those needs and one that we can afford!
What are the names of the places you meet?
We meet in a large classroom in the Squires Student Center on Sundays at 11:00am. It is a big amphitheater-type classroom on the second floor of Squires and it allows us to get just over 600 people into one space. We love it for that.
Our New Life congregation meets at 10:00am at 130 Jackson St. It is also where a smaller crowd from the Campus Congregation meets at 7:07pm.
What is your model for leadership?
We believe that God has gifted and called all different kinds of leaders but has also called all of us to be deeply involved in the life of the community. We have a team of community leaders and Elders (Pastors) who lead and guide our mission.
What are your beliefs about the Bible and Jesus?
We believe that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God that testifies to the truth that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Messiah for whom the people of Israel were awaiting. As Messiah, Jesus Christ has defeated death through his death, burial and resurrection. We eagerly await the future when God will dwell with His people and all things will be made new (Rev. 21). A a church, we stand together with Christians throughout the world and across the centuries who express their faith through the Apostles and Nicene Creeds.
How is New Life different from the Campus Congregation?
If you were to attend both congregations, you would notice many things that are alike. This is because we are both a part of one church with one mission. This mission is occasionally accomplished differently. The Downtown Congregation is geared toward graduate students, young professionals, families, young and old. The atmosphere of the Sunday gatherings and structure of specific ministries will reflect that. The Campus Congregation is primarily geared toward college students; likewise, the atmosphere and structures will reflect that focus. Though each congregation is geared toward different groups of people, any and everyone is welcome at any of the services.
What is the role of communion in your Sunday Gatherings?
We believe that our life together as a community, joined with the global and historical body of Christ, is shaped by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In partaking in this practice, we follow the words of Jesus and “proclaim his death until he comes.” Communion is Christ’s invitation to be partakers of His life, death, and resurrection.
While there is no explicit command to participate in the Lord’s Supper every time we gather together, we do take the examples we see in the early church as good patterns to follow:
Acts 20:7 reads, “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread…”
Acts 2:42 reads, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
In 1 Corinthians 11:25 Paul writes, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
In our Campus Congregation, we celebrate communion as often as we sense the prompting from the Lord. At times it has been weekly, other times monthly.
What is 130 Jackson?
Overall, we also have many purposes for the 130 Jackson building. For NLCF, we use it for Sunday gatherings (Community Congregation and 7:07pm service), band practices, Engage Groups, meetings, events, etc. We also see the space as a venue we can use to bless and connect with Blacksburg. Everything from Tech classes to hard rock bands, to festivals put on by the Theater Department at Tech, to Beckett plays put on by a local arts group have been held there. We have had a few local artists hang their art on the walls, and have had multiple Christian and non-Christian groups meet there as well. The event calendar for non-NLCF events is at 130 Jackson’s website.
Directions: From Squires, walk down College Ave. toward the downtown area. Take a right onto Draper Rd. (at Souvlaki’s). Right after Bollo’s coffee shop (on your left), take the staircase up toward a building with a green roof. That building is 130 Jackson. Here’s more info.