New church aims for relevance

Published 9:46 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A large Hampton Roads church with multiple sites will soon expand into Suffolk to share its unique approach to service and faith.

Community Church will start holding services at King’s Fork High School in Suffolk on March 26. The church is committed to being relevant to people in today’s world through inclusiveness, the latest technology and actions that support their words, church leaders say.

Nearly 3,000 people attend services at Community Church’s Western Branch and Kempsville campuses. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to help get the Suffolk campus ready.

Email newsletter signup

“You’re going to get the full experience of Community Church at any of our locations,” Senior Pastor Michael Brueseke said “We began to just pray and survey where we as a church can go and begin to give back to the local community.”

Sunday services are meant to be both shy of 70 minutes and the best experience for people all week. The church will offer a safe environment with bounce houses and other activities for children, plus live music from singers.

Unlike some others, this church uses today’s culture to communicate their message.

“What Jesus did was use the culture of his time to help people,” Brueseke said. “Technology is the culture of our time. We want to use it to our advantage to help people.”

The message is to experience life as much as possible and encourage action. Members remove obstacles, rules and regulations to go straight for what they believe is “Jesus’s heartbeat.”

“We really want to help people live fully alive,” Brueseke said. “We see so many people in life today that just go through life in mediocrity and just trying to get by. We have a value to love God and love people, and when we say that, we really mean it.”

Love God, Feed People was one recent effort that went beyond words. Members were told to bring a first-time visitor to a service. Both people were given t-shirts, and the church purchased a chicken for each new face.

Nearly 500 first-time visitors led to hundreds of purchased chickens, and all of those birds were sent to their campus in Manila in the Philippines. Eggs laid were used in the organization’s feeding program.

“I can’t say that I love you, and if you’re in need of food I don’t give you food,” Brueseke said. “We don’t just say it, we do things to help them.”

The organization aims to have few judgments and restrictions. There is no dress code, and there are no songs to memorize, and people have responded to this open and inclusive invitation.

“My husband and I moved here from northern Virginia four years ago,” retired nurse and church volunteer Karen Elgin said. “I walked in here and never went anywhere else. You feel like no matter where you’ve been and what you’ve done, you’re welcome here and loved.”

For more information about the church, visit