Nearly 250 attend launch of Spirit & Life
United Methodist Church near Montclair


Nearly 250 people attended the Feb. 6 launch of the new Spirit & Life United Methodist Church near Montclair.

Nearly 250 people united in Charles Wesley's classic hymn "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing" on Sunday, Feb. 6, at the launch of the brand new Spirit & Life United Methodist Church near Montclair in Prince William County. Mr. Wesley may have been a bit surprised, however, to hear his famous hymn accompanied by drums, cymbals and electric guitars in Forest Park High School's auditorium.

"Preserving the essentials of our United Methodist heritage and Wesleyan theology in relevant ways like this that connect to unchurched post-moderns is how Spirit & Life UMC is implementing the vision of the Virginia Conference's All Things New campaign," said Matt Meisenhelter, church planter and lead pastor at Spirit & Life.

Home-based Wesleyan small group meetings are a key part of Spirit & Life UMC's discipleship programs.

"And it's really working," Meisenhelter said. "In just a few very short months since beginning this new project in July, Spirit & Life UMC has networked a vision for contemporary United Methodist worship, Wesleyan small groups, Christ-like social justice, and biblical faith community with hundreds of people throughout the area.

"The Virginia Conference and the 'All Things New' campaign have made this new United Methodist church possible," Meisenhelter added, "and for them and their support we are incredibly thankful. With their help, in a very short time we have become the right place for many unchurched people in our community who had previously been disconnected from God and are now finding new spiritual life. We can't be all things to all people, of course, so we are trying our best simply to be Jesus to today's secularized 'real world' in a way John Wesley and Jesus Christ could be proud of."

Spirit & Life United Methodist Church has been reaching out to the least and the lost in northern Virginia through partnerships with local community service agencies. Members of the new church worked with the nearby ACTS organization's "Operation Turkey" to provide Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of area families, proclaimed the cause of the homeless through Fannie Mae's "Help The Homeless Walk-A-Thon," and participated in countless other missions and ministries on an organic grass-roots level through various Wesleyan small groups. More than a dozen Wesleyan small groups have formed as the core discipleship and outreach mechanisms at Spirit & Life UMC, and Meisenhelter said he hopes to double that number by the end of 2011.

Last fall, Spirit & Life members had a campfire outing.

Meisenehelter said he and church members are extremely thankful to Bishop Charlene Kammerer, the Virginia Conference, the Conference Development Team, Alexandria District Superintendent Ken Jackson, the whole Alexandria District, all area United Methodist churches, and all Virginia Conference United Methodist churches for their financial and prayerful support of Spirit & Life UMC.

"Their extravagant generosity has been coupled with our extremely hard work in risk-taking mission and service to result in radical hospitality that draws the unchurched world into passionate worship and intentional faith development through Wesleyan small group discipleship ministries," Meisenhelter said. "God is doing great new things."

More information about Spirit & Life United Methodist Church can be found online at The church drew its name from John 6: 63 where Jesus declares: "It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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