Waymaker Church: Local Forest church helps people connect with Jesus through missions

Building bridges to help people connect with Jesus is something that Waymaker.Church has aimed to do since the beginning. Waymaker is what lead pastor Jon Dupin referred to as a restart church, or a church branching from the original, that began in February 1999 in Campbell County. 

“We started about 10 minutes outside of Lynchburg in an old country church in Rustburg, Virginia,” Dupin said.

Eventually the church leaders sold the building in Rustburg and constructed another building closer to Lynchburg. At one point the church had two different locations: one on English Tavern Road and one located in Jefferson Forest High School. In 2011, they decided to close the English Tavern Road location and move the entire church to Jefferson Forest High School. 

Photo by Hannah Jones

Dupin has served in the church from the very beginning. He was a graduate student at Liberty University and a member of the original church in 1999 when the lead pastor approached him. He asked Dupin if he would mind filling in as an interim pastor while the church searched for a new lead pastor.

“I guess I’ve been an interim pastor for 25 years,” Dupin said.

With two services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., Waymaker has a regular attendance of about 1,500 people at its current location on Hooper Road in Forest.

The church has various ministry programs including small groups, teaching groups, young adult groups and groups for college students. Waymaker also offers volunteer opportunities, such as helping with the children’s ministry, serving with middle schoolers, becoming greeters and many more.

“We think of those as discipleship environments,” Dupin said.

According to the church’s website, Waymaker leads several local and international outreach programs. Some of the local programs are For Lynchburg, which was created to serve the Lynchburg community; and Acts 6,  which is an initiative designed to support the needs of others that Waymaker can meet. Along with its own programs, Waymaker partners with CarePortal, Impact Circles and Park View Missions, all local ministries dedicated to helping others. The church’s global outreach programs are focused on bringing the gospel to the nations.

Photo provided

Waymaker is also planning 2024 outreach trips to Kenya, the Dominican Republic and Sri Lanka. Not only is it planning these outreach trips, but one of Waymaker’s goals and new initiatives for 2024 is “Deep and Wide.” Dupin explained that the plan for this new initiative is to plant 25 churches in 25 years and to send out goers.

“(Goers are) people who will go out to unreached people groups and establish missionary roots,” Dupin said.

After serving with Waymaker for 25 years with his wife, Dupin has learned many things as the lead pastor, but one thing stood out to him over the years. The Lord taught him how crucial it is to stay faithful and connected to God’s church, God’s people, God’s word and the Holy Spirit. God has shown him that these things were all he needed. 

“Those are the tools that he’s given us to accomplish the assignment that we have,” Dupin said. “To finish the race, as Paul says.” 

For more information about Waymaker.Church, visit their website.

Santos is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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