McLean Bible Church Expands Efforts Into Arlington


(Wednesday, March 7, 2007 4:54 AM EST)

Take a ride on McLean Bible Church's “spiritual beltway” and you'll find yourself at Frontline Arlington at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, the church's first community campus in its 10-campus initiative.

“It's our vision to have 10 campuses in the next 10 years,” said Mike Hurt, the church's director of community and campus development. “Our dream is to provide services and ministries within a 20-minute drive.”

Frontline, a young-adult ministry, aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 35, is essentially a church within McLean Bible Church's approximately 13,000-member congregation.

Services started in Arlington in January, and response has been strong.

“Arlington is a hotbed for young adults,” Hurt said. “It seemed like a natural fit to offer services where young adults live and work.”

Frontline volunteers handed out about 10,000 fliers publicizing the new service before the first service. Response was so good, with about 600 people turning up for services at the 387-seat auditorium. As a result, an impromptu second service was added.

Attendance has remained almost as high in the following weeks, and the addition of Arlington worshipers has brought Frontline's total number of participants to about 3,500.

The Frontline staff consider the Spectrum location a “gift from God.”

They looked for space in local churches and even the Clarendon Ballroom, but the Spectrum proved to be a better venue because of its Metro accessibility and proximity to the District of Columbia.

The hour-long service is divided into two parts: the first half features a live Christian rock band, and the Frontline Arlington pastor Todd Phillips gives a sermon during the second half.

Everything is very laid back and is geared towards the younger crowd. Almost everyone in attendance wears jeans, and Phillips cracks jokes about things like Wikipedia and MySpace. Frontline is what Hurt calls “a church for young adults by young adults.”

“The thing I like best about Frontline is how loving and welcoming it is for everyone,” said Frontline worshiper Jackie Shearer. “You don't have to feel like you have to be a certain way to walk in the door.”

In addition to the Monday-night services, Frontline also offers Arlington numerous service opportunities, small groups for Bible study and relationship building and athletic teams.

For the time being, Frontline Arlington will continue to lease space in Rosslyn and offer two services each Monday, but if the chance to expand presents itself, the Frontline staff will jump at it.

“We are committed to Arlington,” Hurt said. “We'll do whatever it takes.”

For more information, call (703) 790-2991 or visit the Web site at

Worship leaders Will Pavone and Stephanie Cuomo (on left) lead Frontline Arlington participants in Christian rock music during a portion of the service at Rosslyn Spectrum.
(Photo by Kristen Armstrong)

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