The Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship (VEF) is a mission of the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ in Virginia and surrounding areas. The VEF provides support and programs to strengthen the work of the church and to plant new congregations in that region. Johnson University and the VEF benefit from both an informal and a formal partnership that enhance the work of the VEF in its mission of “pursuing Kingdom growth.” We appreciate the quality of graduates from Johnson and have placed several as interns, lead planters, and staff in new church plants. Rachel Price, a recent Johnson graduate, serves on the VEF staff as director of media.
Johnson University has been a valued partner in bringing excellent preachers to Virginia for a series of seminars on “The Art of the Sermon.” Bob Russell, Dave Stone, and Cam Huxford, lead seminar speakers, explored variations on the theme of writing and delivering effective messages. As we complete the sermon series next year, we look forward to sharing in the next series designed to enhance the ministry of the local church. The VEF also partnered with Dr. Daniel Overdorf from Johnson in hosting the Preach.WORKSHOP which is designed to give potential ministers an opportunity to explore preaching and ministers a refresher course in the fundamentals.
Planting churches is a critical work of the Virginia Evangelizing Fellowship. In the 1940s and 50s, churches were begun through revivals, and in the late 60s and 70s, new church buildings were erected in a week with hundreds of volunteer workers from across the Commonwealth. Since 1990, VEF has helped pioneer a modern approach that now has wide acceptance across the country. One of the keys to a great church plant is a well-prepared planter with a solid work ethic, a good track record, and a vibrant theological and practical education. VEF planters who pass an assessment process are matched with a community in need of a new congregation. To assist in this challenging work, the VEF provides weekly coaching, project management, payroll and financial services, a local management team, and a gathering of peers who meet on a regular basis to share their joys and struggles. We look to universities like Johnson for highly motivated and well-prepared new planters.
It is in the area of church planting that we enjoy a rich relationship with Johnson University, and we highly value our interaction with students. The VEF staff has had the privilege to address the subject of church planting in chapel on several occasions, and we have been invited into the classroom to teach and answer questions about the specific preparation needed to be used by God to plant a church designed to reach people who live far from God.
We intend to continue to develop methods that allow the VEF and Johnson University to partner in planting great churches by using our respective strengths. We look to Johnson for prepared and motivated students, curriculum that opens their vision to church planting, and ways to connect those students to communities needing new, compelling, engaged congregations to the praise of his glory.