Opening church doors to everyone in the community is what brought Brian Clark and Edwin Andrade together at Riverside Presbyterian in Sterling, Virginia.
The community’s increasing Hispanic presence caused Brian and the church to respond with a welcome mat – and build one church in two languages.
Be inspired by this story of Christian hospitality.
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Only 7-10% of the population surrounding Riverside Presbyterian may be Hispanic, but that number is growing – which is why the church, under the leadership of founder Brian Clark, decided to move toward multicultural worship. In this interview
People Over Property
15 years after Riverside Presbyterian began, they still don’t have a building – and haven’t made this a top priority, ‘We’d rather have a student ministry than an student ministry building,’ says Clark. Putting money into ministry over real estate
Go Where the People Are
Pastor Edwin says a bustling, nearby day-laborer center was packed with Hispanics with nothing to do – so the church reached out with love – and it Wednesday, mid-day outreach – ‘Lunch for the Soul’ – now gathers hundreds – even though the day labor center has closed. How does your church help those with no place to go?
Less Presbyterian, More Relational
We live in post-denominational times – so Riverside stresses friendship and hospitality over rules and membership. 87% of its members were previously un-Churched, says Clark, and a big reason they do is because they feel authentically loved.
About Brian Clark
Brian Clark grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended Princeton Seminary. In 1985 Brian told his wife Kathy, “I could never live in a rural community!” Three months later they moved to Sligo Pennsylvania, a rural town of 750 people where he brought new life to a youth ministry. In 1996 Brian again told his wife “I could never move back to the suburbs” On January1st 1997, the Clarks moved to the suburbs of Northern Virginia, outside of Washington D.C., where Brian became the organizing pastor of Riverside Presbyterian Church. Riverside is now partnered with the Office of Church Growth of the Presbytery Church (U.S.A.) to establish the Center for Innovative Church Leadership. The Center is working to assist church leaders to rethink how they do ministry. Recently Brian helped develop the GA resources, “Starting New Churches: A Process of Discernment” and “Starting New Initiatives”. He has been actively working with Churches to help them start more new churches and challenging them to regain the missional outlook that once existed in the Church.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Virginia Theological Seminary is the largest Episcopal Seminary in the U.S., forming men and women for leadership in the church. In addition to the MDiv, Anglican Studies and DMin degrees are their Masters of Arts degrees with a fous on Theological Studies, Christian Formation, Religion & Culture, and Biblical Interpretation. Check them out at vts.edu.