Frequently Asked Questions
What is Valley Simsbury?
What is the new ministry approach?
What do you mean by “unchurched” and “de-churched”?
Will there be worship services and growth groups for Christians?
What ministry will be offered for children and students?
Do I have to live in Simsbury to participate?
What will Valley Simsbury’s relationship be to Valley?
Will Valley Simsbury’s efforts inform what happens at Valley Avon and Valley Bristol?
How will Valley Simsbury be funded?
What kind of person are you looking for?
Where can I learn more? I’m interested in possibly joining.
What is Valley Simsbury? The next step in Valley’s ongoing Grace & Mercy Vision, Valley Simsbury will pilot a new approach to ministry. Since our cultural landscape is quickly changing, we see great value in trying new methods to reach all people relationally with the grace and mercy of God in Hartford and Litchfield counties.
What is the new ministry approach? There are two ends of the spectrum when we think of church models. At one end is the “attractional” model, where the church establishes growth and outreach environments and attracts people to them. Generally, Christians come to church and invite unbelievers to environments at the church. At the other end of the spectrum is the “missional” model. In this approach, the church seeks to engage the unchurched in the spaces where they live, work, and play, rather than inviting them to an event or program at a church location. Valley has a history of practicing both models at varying points on the spectrum. Valley Simsbury will lean toward a missional model to reach unchurched and de-churched people who are not likely to intentionally enter a church location.
What do you mean by “unchurched” and “de-churched”? Unchurched people have rarely (if ever) visited a church and don’t know what goes on in a church building or service. Often, their perception of church comes from what they see in the media or in movies. Because these stereotypes are frequently negative, there exists a significant cultural gap for them to cross if they are to consider coming to a church building or service. De-churched people were once part of a church but no longer attend. This is a growing segment in America: people who have either had bad experiences with church or view it as irrelevant. These two terms (“unchurched” and “de-churched”) are important to Valley Simsbury because we will have a targeted focus on reaching these groups.
Why Simsbury? Two years ago, after the Bristol Campus was launched and our Multisite Team began to pray about the next location, we sensed an inward leading of the Holy Spirit toward Simsbury. As we prayed and took steps to verify this call, it became clear that Simsbury provides a great hub for this new approach to ministry. A significant number of Valley attenders live in Simsbury and the surrounding communities, and we already see God working in the lives of Christians who are living missionally.
Will there be worship services and growth groups for Christians? Yes. The engines that drive congregations to maturity in Christ are biblical worship and discipleship. Simsbury will have regular worship services and growth groups, but those gatherings will occur in spaces well-known to the unchurched, and be planned with a focus on them. That being said, Valley Simsbury attenders will engage in inspiring worship, the Lord’s Supper, biblical preaching, real-life care and community, and the other important ingredients aligned with Valley’s vision and values, and critical to any New Testament congregation of believers.
What ministry will be offered for children and students? When we gather to worship, we will engage children and students in different ways. This will include a mix of time together as an entire congregation, and an option of age-specific teaching. Initially, because of Simsbury’s proximity to the Avon Campus, families may participate in the midweek children and student programs if they choose.
Do I have to live in Simsbury to participate? We envision Simsbury to be the location for many of our missional gatherings. However, we welcome people from surrounding communities who are called to this approach to ministry.
What will Valley Simsbury’s relationship be to Valley? Valley Simsbury will remain one in mission, vision, and values with Valley Community Baptist Church, and report to Valley’s executive leaders and Board of Elders.
Will Valley Simsbury’s efforts inform what happens at Valley Avon and Valley Bristol? Potentially. The focus of this pilot ministry is to try new approaches to reach people in our community. Any of these approaches that prove successful could help shape our overall Grace & Mercy strategy.
How will Valley Simsbury be funded? Initially, Valley Simsbury will be funded through the Grace and Mercy Campaign Fund. The planning will follow the financial budgeting process overseen by the Finance Committee and Board of Elders and approved annually by Valley’s congregation.
What kind of person are you looking for? We value Christians with all different gifts, abilities, and backgrounds. A growing community of Christians cannot thrive with evangelists only, nor do we believe that evangelists are the only ones that should live missionally. We’re all called to make disciples and support each other as we do the work of the ministry.
Where can I learn more? I’m interested in possibly joining. Please email Valley Simsbury Pastor Mark Woof. Bookmark this page to find up-to-date information on upcoming meetings where you can engage in conversations and learn specifics about Valley Simsbury.