Next month, Keith Breault is planting Redeemer Church of Charlottesville, Virginia. In part 1 of our interview, Keith talked about the transition from pastoring an established church to planting a new one. Today, he talks about plans for outreach at UVA and how to get in touch with the new church.
Redeemer Church of Charlottesville will be meeting across the street from UVA. What do you envision for outreach at the university?
Right now we’re waiting on the Lord. I envision our outreach at UVA being primarily relational. I don’t see us doing big events and trying to draw a crowd as we’re starting out. Those events have value—people hear the gospel at events like that, and that’s great. But given where we are and the size of our church plant, duplicating a big college ministry isn’t an option for us right now.
We’re looking at relational outreach, hanging around a campfire in our back yard, inviting college students to go to coffee with an older Christian—and I think that is exciting to these students.
I also think there’s something about diversity of age and demographic that pleases God. It’s like musical harmony—it’s intrinsically pleasing, and you can’t have harmony if every note is the same. So we’re excited about just inviting these students into our homes. I think it will bring a balance to students’ lives and a balance to the church’s life. We’re trusting God that the outreach, Bible studies, etc. will grow organically from what we have now.
College is a busy time of life. What would you say to the student who says, “I’ve got classes, extracurriculars, my part-time job, my campus ministry—I’ll join a church after I graduate”?
I’d much rather answer this question one-on-one, because there are nuances to each situation. But in general, I believe that we need each other. In a church we aren’t gathering just because of our season of life, or because circumstances caused our lives to intersect, but because we’re bound together by Christ. We’re agreeing that we need each other. We’re essentially saying, “I’m part of you and you’re part of me. We need each other for strength, wisdom, and so much experiential grace that only flows to us through one another.”
Now it’s true that there’s a lot of community in college. A lot of that grace does come through our friends in college—encouragement, studying the Bible together, memorizing Scripture—basically having a blast! So if you’re experiencing that, that’s great!
But there is also an authority that comes to us from the local church. We don’t just take it or leave it; my church is a place to which God has called me, and I’m responsible to respond to the teaching and accountability there.
When we join a church we’re saying, “These aren’t just casual friends; this is my church. These are my people, and I need them, and according to Scripture, grace flows to them through me, so they need me as well.”
It’s not about which church you join, as long as it follows Scripture. But by all means you should join yourself to a local church. And this doesn’t just pertain to college students; it pertains to all of us.
As a church planter, what do you find helpful about partnering with Sovereign Grace Ministries?
I just smiled when I saw this question. I can’t even imagine doing any of this apart from Sovereign Grace Ministries.
From the moment my wife and I came through the doors of Sovereign Grace Church in Chesapeake, we had a sense of “this is home.” We were engaged at the time, we knew Jesus, we had memorized lots of Scripture, we had been in church since we were little kids, but looking back, we had no practical theological training as we were preparing to embark into marriage.
During that foundational time in our lives, being part of the local church was a gift. (A big thank you to John Butler, who was our senior pastor then!) We found examples to follow in our church, and then at the Pastors College. It was like Paul said to Timothy, “Join with me in suffering for the gospel..." or "Follow my life and my conduct.” We were—and are—so blessed everywhere we turned to be surrounded with godly people whose walk of faith we can imitate.
And then there’s the instruction we’ve received: through preaching, written materials, and at the Pastors College (and the scholarship that enabled us to be there).
And the financial support has been so generous. As we’ve stepped out in faith to explore church planting, Sovereign Grace has totally stepped out in faith with us. We’ve never been dangling out there by ourselves. Every time the path or the timetable changed, Sovereign Grace guys were caring for us in very personal and practical ways. After the Pastors College, when I needed more training in preaching, Sovereign Grace sponsored that. And it wasn’t an impersonal “Here, we’ll write you a check,” but Dave Harvey was on the phone with me talking about it and asking how we were doing. As we planted this church, because of Sovereign Grace's first-year grant for this church plant, we are freed up to focus on reaching our community instead of worrying about finances.
So from when we were first married all the way up to the details of church planting, we can’t imagine doing any of this without Sovereign Grace Ministries. Christ has cared for us so well through SGM's care, teaching and practical support!
How can interested folks find out more about Redeemer Church of Charlottesville?
It's easy to contact us through the website: www.RedeemerCville.org. From there, I'm happy to speak with anyone and do my best to answer their questions—either by phone, by email, or face to face.