Love generously. That’s the goal and mission of Christ the King Presbyterian Church. This idea is one that Pastor Ed Dunnington hopes will permeate the lives of those who attend the church. Christ the King Church has gone through quite a transformation from its early days in 2006: from meeting at individual’s homes to then meeting at North Cross School and now buying their very own piece of land; the church has grown and is expected to grow more in the next few years.
It was June 2005, when Ed Dunnington got the call to plant a church in Roanoke, Virginia. Ed was skeptical at first, but very quickly got excited about the Roanoke Valley. Since that time, the church’s congregation has grown. Daniel Vos, the communications Coordinator for CTK said, “By God’s grace, the church has continued to grow. But now, the church has come to the point where we want to pursue the opportunity God has given us.”
In April 2012, CTK was presented with such an opportunity when they purchased the land off of Electric Road near Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church. “The goal was always to have a church in Southwest County. The projected building will provide a solid presence in this area, and allow the Church to reach out into other communities through satellite church planting,” Pastor Ed Dunnington said. According to Justin Davies, the Head of the Building Committee, “the land holds us accountable to our vision of church planting because we can only build so much. We can never become a mega church because our sanctuary will be maxed out at 450 people.”
For now, the congregation will continue meeting at North Cross School as it continues to grow and expand its ministry. As necessary funds are received, a multi-phased Church building is planned for the property on Electric Road. The intention is to have a facility that will allow worship for approximately 450 people, including classrooms, administrative offices, and a fellowship hall. The fellowship hall or multi-purpose room is being designed with higher ceilings and impact resistant materials as well as an open floor plan in order to be used for many different types of occasions. In particular, Justin Davies says, “Part of the design is to have large usable areas; where we can host community events, for example have the ability for disaster relief, etc. As we were designing it we asked ourselves, how can we best meet the immediate needs of our congregation and serve the community?”
This past September, the congregation of CTK had their celebration Sunday… the 5th anniversary of their becoming an organized church. They set up a tent on the property, had catered food, games for the kids and a worship service outside. According to Pastor Ed, this “helped to get everyone in the congregation to see that this is our land now, to help us all start thinking and asking questions: Lord what do you want us to do with this land.” Part of the answer, according to Ed, lies in in the Church’s Love Generously pamphlet. This pamphlet, written by the church, helps to spell out their mission, which in part, is seeking to understand generosity through Christ. In other words, what does generosity really mean to them. Ed explained, “God has been very generous to us, not just in this land but as human beings. How can we learn to live and love more generously. As part of that, a building is important. We are really living out of a suitcase right now, which is a great way to serve. However, a building will really allow us to have a home base, help show hospitality to the community around us and to serve Roanoke and South West Roanoke better.”
CTK has already demonstrated their desire to serve the community even before they struck ground at the building site. Because the site is behind a quiet neighborhood, several people expressed concern towards allowing the church to have access to their land through Bridle Lane. The Head of the Building Committee, Justin Davies felt very strongly that he wanted to demonstrate the idea of loving generously to the neighbors. He was willing to wait years to build a relationship with the neighbors first and therefore; decided not to put the Church access through Bridle Lane. However, after waiting several months, one of the neighbors who had vocalized the greatest opposition to using Bridle Lane, called Justin and withdrew her complaint. According to Justin, “the whole time, it was very important to incorporate the neighbors. After all, we are in their backyards. We wanted them to be a part of the process, right down to the design, parking, etc. … they had to have a part in it.” Now that the Bridle Lane issue is resolved, Ed Dunnington says, “The real challenge now is, what does it look like to really love our neighbors here now. Part of our commitment is that we want to be a church in this community and for this community.” Pastor Ed feels very strongly in a connection between their desire to love generously and the generosity of Christ. He said, “The great reality that, ‘though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that we by his poverty might become rich,’ (2 Cor. 8:9) is what we are passionate about. This is the heartbeat of who we are and what we are doing. We want more men, women and children in the Roanoke Valley to experience that generosity personally through faith in Christ. We also want to share that with our community for its’ flourishing.”
With the plans drawn, and the funds being raised by the church congregation, it will not be too long now before the land is ready to be prepared for the ground breaking. When it is, CTK will certainly be showing more of their desire to love generously towards their own congregation and towards the community as a whole.
You can read more about Christ the King Church on their website: http://www.ctkroanoke.org/