The Call to Worship was, well, the Cha Cha Slide. And I slid. Cha Cha style.
Then we ate pizza.
Then we did the Chicken Dance.
Then, when we sang, “My God’s not dead, He’s surely alive. And He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion!” I thought, “God must really be enjoying this.”
When we sang, “I need You Lord, I need You, every hour I need you,” I thought, “I’ve never heard a more sincere prayer.” The notes didn’t matter (although the notes weren’t bad!).
Brianna, a student from nearby Old Dominion University, spoke from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 about being thankful despite difficult times.
I was worshiping at a wonderful fresh expression of church in Norfolk, Virginia called The Chosen. People in the room call it a “Club,” a “Ministry” and a “Church.”
In true Fresh Expressions style, this was a new form of church. It takes the church Jesus loves closer to where the people Jesus loves actually are. More than a Sunday School class, more than an “activity,” more than a program for people with disabilities…this is church in the full sense of the word.
Many of the worshipers once were part of Capernaum, a Young Life ministry mentally and physically challenged students. When some of the participants in Capernaum aged beyond their student years, and because older people were getting involved, the ministry grew beyond Young Life’s mission. So Grayson Leach and others decided to start a new form of church without age limits.
Leach is the founder of The Chosen. He earns his living as a full-time youth minister and has planted two churches is the past. Their stated mission is this: “We are a group of Christians who believe God’s word is for everyone no matter what disability they may have and that everyone should be able to worship God freely.”
One unique aspect of The Chosen is that they meet different places and at different times. On Mondays, they meet concurrently at Azalea Baptist Church in Norfolk as well as the Church of the Holy Family (Roman Catholic) in Virginia Beach. On Tuesdays, they meet at Covenant United Methodist Church in Chesapeake. On Thursdays, they meet at Woodland Heights Baptist in Chesapeake. They all get together several times during the year for special occasions.
While existing churches allow The Chosen to use their facilities, there is no direct funding for this fresh expression. Grayson said that contributions sometimes “fall out of the sky” from churches. The Church of the Holy Family fully funds the meetings of The Chosen in their facility. Sometimes, support comes from churches they don’t even know.
You can read more about The Chosen at their web site: www.thechosenministry.org. But more than that, if you’re ever in the area, and you want to experience God in a fresh, deeply meaningful way, I highly recommend worshiping with The Chosen!
Just don’t forget your dancing shoes.
Travis Collins is Pastor of First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Alabama, and Director of Mission Advancement for Fresh Expressions US. He holds a PhD in Christian Mission and is the author of From the Steeple to the Street and Fresh Expressions of Church.