New church’s services start Saturday

Published 9:54 pm Friday, January 15, 2016

City Life Church’s first worship service in North Suffolk is Saturday.

Justin White

Justin White

Unlike traditional congregations that gather on Sundays, the non-denominational church from Newport News holds its worship services on Saturday nights, according to Justin White, pastor of City Life.

“We have found that Saturday night services really appeal to young families with kids,” White said. “It just works for us.”

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City Life is holding services at Faith Lutheran Church, 2730 Bridge Road, at 5 p.m. Saturdays. Although the inaugural services are Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, the church will celebrate its “official opening” with a service at 5 p.m. Jan. 30.

“We are so happy that Faith Lutheran was generous and kind enough to let us meet in their building on Saturdays,” said White.  “It a win-win situation for both churches.”

Faith has traditional-style services, whereas City Life’s services are more contemporary, White said. A full band — drums, an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and vocalist — provides City Life’s music. The congregation doesn’t use hymnals. Instead, they can read the lyrics as they appear on a large television screen on one wall of the sanctuary.

To meet its need, City Life has made some upgrades to the technology and sound systems, White said. Faith knows they are welcome to use any of the upgraded equipment, he said.

“It’s been a double blessing,” White said. “They blessed us with a building, we are blessing them with this new equipment.”

The Rev. Scott Benson, pastor of Faith Lutheran, agreed.

“It’s definitely a mutually beneficial arrangement,” Benson said. “It’s been a joy working with the people of that church.”

City Life’s main campus in Newport News usually draws between 250 and 300 people to Saturday services, White said. The church also has a satellite campus in Williamsburg.

Roughly 50 people were traveling from Suffolk to Newport News every weekend to attend church, White said. When the church began talking about a second expansion, Suffolk was the natural location, he said.

“We already had significant members here and this part of Suffolk is growing so fast right now,” White said. “I think this church is going to thrive.”

White, pastor of the church’s Suffolk campus, spent much of his career as City Life’s youth pastor. Within the last year or so, he was tapped to pastor the Suffolk church.

”I find that every time I get comfortable, God calls me to do something different and take on a new challenge,” White said. “So here I am.”

Once the church officially launches on Jan. 30, people can expect to find plenty of opportunities to attend special events and small groups throughout the week, he said.