The Local Church centers their mission around three core values: the Bible’s teachings, a relationship-driven community, and a passion for blessing Arvada with ongoing love and support. The team aims to bring genuine value to their city, as they have through their partnerships and relationships with local establishments. For example - the church has linked up with Arvada K-8, a title one school with 86% of its students on free or reduced lunch, to ensure that students got the school supplies they needed to start the year off on a good note. In fact, The Local Church sponsored every child from kindergarten up to fifth grade, buying a year’s worth of supplies and providing 250 backpacks to struggling students. In the wake of a suffering economy due to COVID-19, this act was critical in allowing some families to shift their budget’s focus towards clothing rather than school supplies. The church added a fun local connection by partnering with Scrumptious, an Arvada ice cream shop, to put tags on each backpack which doubled as vouchers for free ice cream cones.
Justin McKay, the lead pastor, regularly checks in on local shops and eateries to personally connect with the city, which proved helpful following the recent shooting of two civilians and a police officer in late June. Justin’s personability allowed The Local Church to truly understand the emotions surrounding Arvada in the subsequent weeks. To do their part, the church deployed groups of volunteers to talk to and pray with emotionally affected members of the community. Justin and his team also hired a local artist to produce “Love Local” t-shirts promoting Olde Town Arvada. The shirts featured a striking rendition of Arvada’s skyline, and are now sold in a number of shops in the area. All sales proceeds are gifted to Hope House, a local nonprofit which serves young and single moms with unexpected pregnancies.
According to Justin, developing the church is an involved process with lots of intentionality - in fact, it took him and his wife five years to make the jump from inception to pre-launch. His advice is to engage the city first, before planting the church itself. By this, he means meeting as many members of the surrounding Arvada community as possible to build relationships, hear people’s stories, and help others grow in their faith. The Local Church welcomes all levels of religious knowledge, devotion, or upbringing so as to form a diverse pool of members before officially launching. Their grand opening is anticipated to take place in early winter 2022. Besides their local efforts and nonprofit contributions, The Local Church is further engaging the community pre-launch with home meetups called “Local Groups.” These sessions take place every other week for members to chat, relate, pray, and study the Bible alongside other devoted Arvada locals.
Neither Justin nor his new bride, Lacy, anticipated moving to Arvada just years after their honeymoon in Golden to plant the seeds of a local church, for local people, with a local mission. After having spent some time in the west Arvada area, Justin and Lacy noticed that Colorado posed a dire need for more Christian churches. It was a perfect candidate for the couple to plant the seeds of their influence, to offer something new in a landscape which welcomed it. Throughout the church’s inception, Justin and Lacy refined their message to help others shift their focus away from the amazing creation of Colorado’s landscapes, and towards the creator who put it into existence. In this way, The Local Church leverages the natural creation within Colorado as a tool in their faith-based mission.
Before moving to Colorado in January 2020 and starting a church planting residency, Justin worked as a worship director in churches across America. He’s since left the music role to put his energy into launching The Local Church. Justin and Lacy found the residency to be a major catalyst in their learnings while starting a new church in the Denver area, especially during the restrictive phases of COVID-19, “You need a runway...you need time to build equity with your city, to add value to your city, rather than simply forming conditional relationships.”
The couple didn’t move their mission to Colorado alone, however. Close friends from Nebraska and their hometown, Alabama, showed their devout support by moving out to Colorado to assist with The Local Church’s growth. Seeing as the church is still in its pre-launch phase, extra pairs of hands and word-of-mouth influence are invaluable for the church’s integration with the broader Arvada community.
Their big ask to Arvada locals is aimed towards followers of Jesus who want to be a part of a new church, that host a heart for Arvada, and who desire to drive the growth of a new local church. As a new organization with its launch on the horizon, Justin, Lacy, and their team are ready for eager members to join the mission. The group is also on the lookout for community members who object Christianity, or are vaguely interested in it. The Local Church promises to answer any questions, listen well, and practice civility in a way that honors those conversations. Some common questions include inquiries concerning the Bible, God’s character, and how faith and life practically integrate in our day-to-day living.
Lastly, Justin, Lacy, and their daughter Posy often see other young families pushing one stroller around town, and have noticed that there are like-minded people in their same stage of familyhood who would be a great fit for The Local Church. It can be a great outlet for new families in Olde Town Arvada to learn about the challenges and moments of parenthood alongside each other. Visit their preview service on November 14th to check it out and get a feel for what The Local Church is all about, and take a look at their website for a deeper understanding of their faith-based mission.