I have experienced what, in my mind, is the greatest church in the entire world. Granted, my experience is limited, but the Village Church is the amalgamation of all the best qualities of every church I’ve ever attended. Let me explicate by first describing the church. The building was magnificent. It was large inside, but humble and quaint. The ceilings stretched up forever and the organ pipes in the front of the sanctuary rose to meet them. The room was filled with old wooden pews, and the walls were sprinkled with stained glass windows. Immediately, I was reminded of the coziness and olde tyme décor of my first church, Cherrydale Bible Church in Arlington. Then I noticed all the attendees. They were young, mid-twenties to mid-thirties singles and couples. I noticed maybe two families with children, and didn’t spot a gray hair in the bunch. The demographic was clearly similar to McLean Bible Church’s Frontline services, but a bit older (or more mature), which I prefer. There was a ragtag group of musicians that passed for the praise band (a la the Crosspoint band at Cherrydale Baptist Church). Because everything wasn’t pristine and polished, I got the sense that it was very easy to get involved in the church—that the average layman could find a place in the church’s ministry without much anxiety or effort. This was something I admired about the two churches in Cherrydale. Then came the preaching, which necessarily made me compare the Village Church to the previous Presbyterian (PCA) churches I’ve attended. There was a sense of tradition in the order of the service. The congregational responses, the Old & New Testament scripture reading, and the weekly communion, all reminded me of New Hope Presbyterian—the church in Fairfax I attended during college. But unlike New Hope—and more like Chantilly Presbyterian (the church I currently attend on Sunday mornings)—the style of preaching was more “user-friendly” and applicable, rather than straight theology.
All in all, the Village Church in New York City is my favorite church in the world. If I lived in New York, I would certainly be a member and would be involved with as many aspects of its ministry as I possibly could. Alas, I live in northern Virginia and must make due with what I have. I go to Chantilly Presbyterian on Sunday mornings (occasionally, when I haven’t stayed out late the night before) to get my weekly dose of Reformed teaching. I go to McLean Bible on Sunday nights to get my weekly dose of same-age Christian fellowship and an enjoyable time of song worship. What I still lack is the traditional sense of worship that Cherrydale Bible offered, as well as the welcoming environment of involvement that smaller, less glossy churches foster.