It’s been a long road to establishing this church plant in Leesburg, Virginia.
Christ Community Lutheran Church is growing out of a Christian school called Leesburg Open Arms Child Development Center (LOA). The child development center is a mission outpost for the new church, and finally in 2019 the congregation is breaking ground on a new building for worship and education.
“The teachers and administration have done a wonderful job over the last decade of making Jesus a priority within LOA,” says Garet Ellis, pastor at Christ Community Lutheran. “But they have not always felt supported within that work from the church at large.”
Shaping Grassroots Missionaries
LOA works with almost two hundred students ages 6 weeks to 12 years, helping them build foundational classroom skills, enriching their education with art and sports activities, and teaching them how much God loves them.
“I am working to develop our administrator team to be missionaries to the community, the teaching staff to be missionaries to their classrooms, and the students to be missionaries to their homes and community,” Pastor Ellis says.
Pastor Ellis encourages the staff through weekly chapel services, training on Christian curriculum, staff Bible studies, and prayer and support for staff and families at LOA. And the teachers integrate faith into lessons through classroom Bible time and music classes with Christian songs to instill that anyone can be a missionary wherever God has placed them.
Easing Teachers’ Burdens with Biblical Resources
In the midst of starting a new congregation, organizing plans for a new building, and the daily chaos that is a classroom of young children, the school didn’t want teaching students about Jesus to fall to the wayside. So they reached out to CGO for help getting Bibles into each classroom to make it easier for teachers to work God’s Word into lessons every day.
The package arrived right around Christmas. “The director and I hand-delivered the Bibles after chapel to all of the teachers,” Pastor Ellis says. “You could see the joy on their faces and hear it in their words.”
These Bibles provide much-needed support for teachers, but most important, they are having an impact on the students. In the kindergarten class, for example, students are asking their teacher if they can read one of the Bibles during their free time!
Planting Seeds of the Gospel
Through their service to the children, the staff shows families God’s love in order to draw them into the cycle of worship and service. With a focus on faith education and through this servant leadership, LOA is preparing even very young children to be missionaries in their community.
Pastor Ellis says, “In this planting model, we are blessing people through acts of love and service, planting the seeds of the Gospel, and equipping and empowering people to do the same in their vocational and missional living.”
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