Breakthrough: Local pastor remains obedient to God’s call and shares church-planting story

A physical therapy student. God’s call. Obedience. That’s what it took to start Breakthrough Church, which is currently outgrowing its location at La Vida Coffee + Market even after recently adding a second service. Breakthrough Church was born out of a small house church founded by the Rev. Andrew Lennon after God called him to switch his degree to ministry.

Although he grew up as a missionary kid, Lennon never expected to return to the ministry as a full-time pastor and church planter. Instead, Lennon wanted to follow in the footsteps of his other family members and pursue a degree in physical therapy. 

About halfway through his physical therapy major, God convicted him. 

“The Lord was like, ‘Andrew, what if I didn’t call you to that?’ And I was like, ‘Wait, what?’” Lennon said. “And he spoke to me very clearly. He was like, ‘Andrew, I want you to be a pastor and plant churches.’”

At first, Lennon was skeptical, so he asked God to confirm it in his word, by the Holy Spirit and through a friend. That very same week, God did all three for Lennon, so at God’s command, he changed his major and started pursuing ministry.

Photo by Kelley Atkinson

After coming home to Lynchburg from an internship in Las Vegas where his passion for ministry increased, Lennon felt called by God to start a house church in Lynchburg. God told him the specific week it should begin, and when the location the church was planning to meet fell through a few days before, he didn’t know what to do.

“The whole journey was made up of little moments of obedience and moments of ‘God, this makes no sense, … but I’m going to trust that you’re good and where you’re leading us is going to be good,’” Lennon said.

The Friday before the church was meant to open, he reached out to a 24-hour prayer room and told them his vision to start a church in two days. The owner of the prayer room explained that earlier that week, God had told her that a man of God would ask to start a house church there. She told him that they could use the basement for however long they needed.

The church began with a few passionate college students but quickly grew as its members shared the gospel at Walmart and on the streets and invited homeless people to join them. Eventually, the church outgrew the basement and had to move to a new location and then another; each location had its own story of faith, prayer and God’s miraculous works. The church finally settled at La Vida, where it is currently located.

Photo by Kelley Atkinson

“It was such a beautiful faith journey. … We look back and … this wasn’t something that we just mustered in our own ability, our own charisma, our own resources, our own finances. It was … God,” Lennon said.

Today, Breakthrough Church still focuses on reaching out to unbelievers and committing to the power of prayer it was founded upon. The church is devoted to maintaining its focus on family, with several house groups and evangelism opportunities offered weekly. Lennon encourages any Liberty University students looking to join Breakthrough to first stop and pray about it and then be obedient to however God answers.

“There’s this kind of mentality (that) we’ve just got to shop around, find what fits our preferences, find what worship fits our style. … But it’s actually much more simple. It’s ‘Is God calling me here? Yes or no?’”

Lennon brought up Psalm 127:1, which says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain,” to emphasize that God is the one who founded the church and is the one breathing life into it. The rest is just remaining obedient to his command. 

Freund is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on X

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