Every church is made by the people within its walls, which is what makes each one so special. The District Community Campus of the Beltsville Adventist Church is no different. The Washington, DC, campus is a church plant created by the Beltsville Church family that launched in the spring of 2022 in order to connect with the surrounding community. They are a part of the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and based out of the Capital Memorial Adventist Church building, where they meet in the afternoons after the members of Capital Memorial have their service.
A new church plant is always good. It provides for new ways of thinking, new voices being heard, and increased relevancy. By nature, they start of small, and this is an important time to establish the culture, the feel, of the new church, which will guide and influence its future. Governance arrangements are also put in place - thought needs to be given as to whether the traditional governance arrangements in the Adventist church will serve the church plant well, or stymie the development of something new.
One observation I make, emphasised by the pictures included in the article, is that the new church plant harks back to the traditional method of doing church. The premises speak of tradition. Money invested in buildings, not people. People doing church in a flash church like building, not in a “come as you are” “community friendly” type of facility. A building still using pews, reinforcing a sense of inflexibility. These factors all have a place - but have the leaders reflected on the messaging being delivered, and is this in line with their objectives.
All power to Joanne and her team. Let’s maximise the opportunity.
I love this new series on visiting congregations. Local churches are the essence of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. This is where mission takes place, this is where theology is formed, this is where culture is created, this is where creativity happens.
I like this series but am a little disappointed that the two churches so far are “variations on a theme”, very much like the pre-pandemic churches. Hopefully some of the other churches visited will highlight the opportunities that have come out of the pandemic.