IT WAS DURING THE SUMMER OF 1989. That’s when the idea started to take root, as several families gathered in a living room to discuss the possibility of planting a new church in western Fairfax County. Both old and new friends were willing to imagine what could be.
Originally, we had a desire to submit ourselves to the Scripture and to apply it relevantly to our lives. We wanted our faith to make a difference. We wanted to do much more than talk about Christianity: we wanted to live it. We also were motivated by the belief that every Christian is responsible and gifted to minister for Jesus Christ. We wanted leaders who would equip us for ministry. We never wanted to be a spectator church. We also prayed that human traditions would never become as important to us as biblical absolutes. All of us had seen too many churches paralyzed by worn-out methods and sacred cows. We had seen too much “playing church”, and we wanted to try a different approach. So we were determined to never stop asking the question, “Why are we doing what we are doing?”
During those early days, with Acts 2:41-47 as our biblical boundary, we questioned everything. None of us wanted our church to run according to business as usual. We re-asked every question we could think of: Should we join a denomination? Should we pass the collection plate during the worship service? Should we wear ties? How will we make decisions and grant authority? What kind of church will our unchurched friends attend? We did not merely want to start a new church: we wanted to start a fresh church.
So on August 3, 1989, six families said “yes,” and Community Bible Church was born. We held our first worship service on September 17, 1989 in the AFCEA Building with about 40 people attending. It seemed like kids were everywhere. So from that first Sunday on, children have been a priority around here. The book of Acts was our first study, because we wanted to pattern our church as closely as possible around the Early Church.
Gone are the days of holding Vacation Bible School in someone’s backyard, and gone is youthful idealism. Yet today, our goals are clearer than they have ever been. God has placed a passion in our hearts. Helping people connect with God, that’s what it’s all about. There is no thrill in higher attendance and all the rest unless people are coming to Christ! Furthermore, it is our passion to see people experience life change through Jesus Christ. That includes all of us. If we are not growing in Christ, being transformed into His likeness, then what a waste of time. If these two things are not happening, then we are guilty of the worst crime of all – playing church.
This brief history is not inserted to praise the past. Far from it. It is included to point us to the future. Our prayer, if you decide to join our church, is that you would come alongside us and pick up this vision. We are God’s church and we are God’s people, wanting to do God’s work in God’s world.