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The Local Church

In line with this season’s thankful nature, we interviewed a local pastor in Olde Town Arvada whose rapidly growing church has left him grateful for the supportive Colorado community. Justin McKay, founder and pastor at The Local Church, tells us what inspired his family’s establishment of a church in Arvada, recounts the struggles they faced along the way, and notes the small and large victories that he’s thankful for this season - including the grand opening of another location at Prospect Academy. 

What drove you to establish a church in Olde Town Arvada?
Justin McKay: I remember scoping out the entire metro area of Denver, and Olde Arvada was our last stop for the day. After getting out of the car, I immediately knew this was the place. In our world, we look for moments where “the ground shakes” as a spiritual call from God of where to land or go. The ground shook for me that day and I knew God was leading us to start the church in the area. 

We also noticed a vast amount of young families we saw walking in and around that area each time we visited. We consistently saw a young family pushing one stroller. There are babies everywhere in this part of Arvada. This was a draw to us, because we were about to be a young family too. Shortly after that time, we welcomed our first daughter, Posy.

Did you face any significant struggles while building your presence in Colorado?
JM: Anytime you start something from scratch, you’ll have struggles. I think one obvious struggle was finding people to join our church before we had it in place. Long before you have public gatherings, you need a core team to help you get the church off the ground. It’s hard work and requires the right people. However, God provided those people early on to help us. 

Another struggle lies within the reason we are starting TLC in the first place: people aren’t as interested in church nowadays. The vast majority of Denverites aren’t active or don’t have a desire to be a part of Christian church. So, the struggle was finding people who were excited enough to come, stick around, and even help. The other struggle in that piece is the culture of our city is non-committal. Affluence and the access to the mountains, create a lot of transient people who are unable to commit. People love the mountains, and I don’t blame them. But we also wonder why this place is one of the loneliest cities in the US? If we’re not rooting in the places and people that we live amongst, we are going to continue to be lonely. The mountains don’t fix a lack of community or loneliness.

Are there any notable victories to be thankful for throughout your mission with The Local Church?
JM: In short, we’re growing! Since moving to mornings, we’re averaging 100 people in our services. This is great, because the average church size in the U.S. is 100. Within less than a year, we’ve reached the average and are ahead of schedule for what we were aiming for in our projections for our first year. 

This growth has allowed us to open up an additional location at Prospect Academy, off of Independence Street in Arvada. We just had our grand opening on October 2nd, and it was a huge success in terms of turnout and support. We have some really incredible and inspiring people who God has sent to be a part of TLC. People are the win!

If you’re new to Colorado or searching for a church to call home, and are around the Arvada area, consider stopping by 5592 Independence St. for a 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning service to feel it out. The Local Church constantly invests in families with its kid’s church, Bible Studies for young moms, and much more. Not to mention their Celebrate Recovery ministry, a free and anonymous weekly ministry for people with codependency issues, past trauma, or unhealthy habits. Visit their website at for information about their mission, events, and offerings for families.