In an earlier post we discussed why the church seeks to care for its attenders: 1) there are people who need to be cared for, 2) we have been equipped with the Holy Spirit to care for one another, and 3) our saving faith requires us to take action. To give an example of what that looks like, I spoke with Johnny Weichel who moved to Richmond last year and was completely new to City Church. He graciously agreed to share his experience with us.
What brought you to Richmond?
I moved to Richmond post-undergrad to give myself a buffer year to think about whether or not I'd like to pursue a graduate degree. I had one sister who lived in Richmond at the time and she thought I might enjoy being in a city for a little bit. I also thought it would be a good place to pursue more creative ventures and possibly build some good contacts within the film industry.
What were you looking for in a church?
I wanted to find a church where I could meet people my age who shared common interests and might be interested in spending time together. I also wanted to find a church where I could explore my own doubts and questions about Christianity.
What did you find at City Church?
With most churches I've visited in the past, it takes about a month before you actually start meeting people. One of the first services I attended at City Church, I met someone who invited me to attend the men's group. It was there where I met Erik Bonkovsky and he plugged me in with a community group. Things sort of snowballed from there. I started getting invited to people's homes for meals and even started having my own get-togethers. The cool thing about City Church is that it is involved with so many other churches in the Richmond area, so you're always meeting new people who don't attend City Church, but are invested in people who attend.
Did you feel welcomed and cared for?
I did feel welcomed, cared for and valued. Although I did have a sister who lived in Richmond, she did not attend City Church, so I went in hardly knowing anyone in the congregation. People were warm and welcoming at every service I attended and went out of their way to make me feel welcomed in Richmond outside of the services.
Did you find anything surprising at City Church?
For me, the unique thing about City Church is the openness to talk about what is happening in the world now and the transparency at the pulpit. Joshua and Erik don't shy away from the heartache of the goings on of the world, and they don't shy away from wearing their emotions on their sleeves. This transparency really opened up good conversation among the people who attended those services.