Our Past and Present
In the fall of 2016, Pastor Paul Harris moved from Charlottesville with his family to Northern Virginia to serve on staff at Grace Covenant Church and be trained and sent back to Charlottesville in 2018 to start a new church. In the summer of 2017, while Pastor Paul and his family were still living in Northern Virginia and commuting to Charlottesville for his job as an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, the city of Charlottesville witnessed horrific attacks as part of the Unite the Right Rally. The two days of violence ended in the death of one and serious injuries to many others. Rather than wait until 2018, Pastor Paul began to drive back and forth to Charlottesville not just for his professorial duties, but to cast vision for Victory Church.
He began holding such vision casting meetings in both Chantilly (at Grace Covenant Church) and Charlottesville (at Eunoia, YMCA, and coffee shops all over town) simultaneously, sharing God’s vision to see people reconciled to God and each other to anyone interested in listening. He and his family moved back to Charlottesville with a few congregants from Grace Covenant who also felt called to the vision. In September 2018, Victory Church held its first monthly service at the Boys and Girls Club.
In January 2019, Victory Church held its first weekly service, again at the Boys and Girls Club, hosting two services to accommodate attendees. One month later, the congregation moved to a much larger space in Walker Upper Elementary School, where it would settle in and hold one service each week, even building shed on site to store church equipment.
During our first year, we established eight ministry teams (we are now at 12) and pursued the vision of seeing people receive Jesus into their heart and by extension see people receive each other into their lives.
2 Corinthians 5:18 is one of our anchor scriptures and we believe that as we make Jesus recognizable, people will be reconciled (to Jesus and to 5 each other). Specifically, we saw our call in Charlottesville to be one of removing the historic stumbling blocks for the marginalized accessing the good news of Christ, and by extension seeing the walls of racial hostility demolished by the Holy Spirit. As a result, we are witnessing individuals various racial and ethnic groups worshipping and serving and fellowshipping together each week.
In addition to our own discipleship process (which consists of participation in weekly services, serving on a ministry team, and leading or participating in a Victory group), we have partnered with and supported several local nonprofits toward this end as well. We also initiated Victorious Living, a ministry that purchases houses (we currently have 1), and leases them to a family in our community at below-market prices in order to support their progress in living on earth while encouraging their belief in even the greater Victory they can experience in Christ. We unapologetically share the Gospel as part of this outreach endeavor.
Victory Church and Charlottesville
We believe that we exist in Charlottesville to make God recognizable, especially to those on the margins. And we believe that as we steward a space within which our Charlottesville community stumbles less and less over racism in trying to find Jesus, that we can see racial reconciliation on this side of heaven. And so we pray (and participate in): Lord, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Victory Church is affiliated with Every Nation, a family of churches whose vision is to plant Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation. Every Nation provided the week-long assessment that approved Pastor Paul to start Victory Church under their covering, and has since provided bootcamp training for church planters, pastoral coaching, and more to assist us in being all God called us to be for our city.
We are also voluntarily and joyfully tethered to our sending church, Grace Covenant Church, where Brett Fuller is the senior pastor. Their support and guidance have been critical to whatever success we can claim, all while our being part of such spiritual family has not precluded us from growing into our own footprint as a church in Charlottesville. Such a balance of support, guidance, and freedom is a gift and will continue to be invaluable for our future success.
Victory Church is a team-based, pastor-led church with an all volunteer staff.