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To the undiscerning eye, the service looked like any other. The Campus Praise Band was accompanied by a choir in leading the crowd in worship. As the lights went up, finding a single seat vacant in Thomas Road Baptist Church’s large sanctuary was difficult. But to look on the faces of the people in those seats, fixed on Liberty University Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore’s teaching, it was evident that this was not another service.
Thomas Road Baptist Church’s new evening service, TR SIX:THIRTY, held for the first time, Aug. 28, marked the start of a new church era for Liberty and in the Lynchburg community.
“I think that tonight’s service was a great introduction to what they want it to be,” sophomore Jason Nichols said. “They want us to be part of it, not just a church meeting but a community event every day.”
Although some have thought of TR SIX:THIRTY as a relocated and renamed version of Campus Church, Moore sees this new church meeting as something much greater.
“The vision of TR SIX:THIRTY is to get college students, 20-somethings, 30-somethings in this region back to the church and for the church to be what it is meant to be for the body of Christ,” Moore said. “When we made the decision last fall to move and essentially close down and significantly rebrand Campus Church, it was all about getting people back to being connected to the local church.”
In addition to the 6:30 p.m. service that will take place each Sunday in Thomas Road’s sanctuary, young adults will lead and take part in small group Bible studies, Sunday school classes and service projects throughout the community.
“Campus Church has been great. It’s helped thousands of people deepen their faith. It’s served its purpose. But the downside of Campus Church is that we weren’t in a church, we were in a basketball arena,” Moore said. “We didn’t have Sunday school classes or small groups. We didn’t have many service opportunities and so it was just a service. We started thinking ‘how can we get the students reconnected to the local church?’”
Moore explained that an important part of that was taking church back out of Liberty’s Vines Center and holding it in a location that was more inviting to the outside community.
“I think that tonight exceeded my expectations with the energy, responsiveness and the diversity,” Moore said. “There were many people there that weren’t college students.”
TRSIX:THIRTY’s Teaching Pastors Jonathan Falwell, Moore and Ben Gutierrez hope that students and young people around Lynchburg and the surrounding community take hold of this opportunity of ministry and fellowship as a church.
“We aren’t doing this as a fad. This is a church,” Moore said. “We are just facilitators. The people are the church.”
According to Moore, TR SIX:THIRTY is looking for young adults to act as leaders in this new church movement. Leaders are needed for small groups, to help with parking, greeting and an assortment of other duties.
“The church needs to be owned by the people, not the pastor, and this is not a Liberty thing,” Moore said. “We are empowering them to be the body of Christ, so hopefully they do it.”
To find out more information on how to get involved, visit tr630.com or call 434-239-9281.