A 20-year-old church will soon be changing its address along with its name as a result of “timing and calling.”
The former Brentwood Church has recently changed its name to “Waymaker.Church” and will be moving from its borrowed location inside the Jefferson Forest High School gym to a permanent location off Hooper Road in Forest less than a mile away next year.
As the church approached its 20th anniversary in February, its Lead Pastor Jon Dupin said it was time for a change.
He said the original name came from a street sign near its first location off Greenhouse Road in 1999 but since the church has moved several times and is now miles away from that first location, the name didn’t hold as much meaning.
“This time, the name change needed to mean something to our story thus far, but more so our future to come. Waymaker.Church was the first and only consideration, because it birthed from a recent and dynamic season in our church,” he said. “In 2016, we titled the year Waymaker, because we believe God is the Waymaker. He builds bridges and removes obstacles, through Jesus Christ, for people to be who He has created and called them to be. Therefore, we believe He wants us to be waymakers, too.”
Cheryl Bryan, a Forest resident, has been a member of the church for nearly 20 years.
She said the name change is monumental.
“In a city where people inquire about your church affiliation as much as they do about your job or family, the answer for me can now be more than just a statement of fact. Instead, my answer is a statement of purpose reflected in the new name,” she said.
For her family, God has made a way for authentic faith, restored relationships and given them a community through the church.
“I am so excited to see our capacity for outreach expand through a larger facility where we can welcome more people to come and experience life change through the hope found in Jesus Christ,” she said.
The church is currently in the process of building a new home for itself and hopes to be in the 76,000 square-foot building for its Christmas Eve service this year but due to excessive rain and snow, it may not be complete until early 2020, Dupin said.
Every Sunday the church averages around 1,550 people in attendance but its peak Sundays can bring in close to 2,000. The new building is designed to seat 1,600 people.
The 43-acre property will feature a café known as “The Gathering Place” which will be a place for members to connect on Sundays and throughout the week as well as a space specifically designed for kids with special needs and the team who works with them.
“We believe those with special needs bring joy to the world,” he said. “Through their love, personality, and the affection God has for them, they bring, create, and make joy wherever they go.”
Waymaker alsopartners with the foster care system in the Lynchburg area, providing backpacks for every child in the system. The backpack is full of necessary and fun items that they can call their own, Dupin said.
“When kids are removed from their homes they are often left with nothing but the clothes they have on their back,” he said. “We provide our local social services a backpack for each child brought into the system.”
Tyger Gordon, of the city's department of human services, said Brentwood Church's foster care ministry has had immeasurable impact on foster homes and children in Lynchburg.
"They offer tireless hours of support through the organization of various events and trainings that are essential to the health and well-being of foster homes and children," Gordon said. "The culmination of their vision has filled a void in services and support to families that our agency is unable to provide due to the structure of our work and understaffing."
The church also provides a dinner and date night for all local foster parents and childcare along with a special dinner for the kids.
Right now, the church borrows space for these events but the new building will allow these dinners to be held more frequently and cook meals on site.