Victory Hill Church of God renamed itself Commonwealth Christian Community on Easter, marking a new direction for the church under the leadership of a new pastor, Paul Hollifield.
The new name for the church, located on Patterson Mill Lane in Yancey Mills, “speaks to our vision of working together as the body of Christ,” Hollifield said. The community will put greater emphasis on meeting in homes and other locations around the region, while remaining under the supervision of the main church, he explained. He called the new approach “a multi-site strategy.”
“Our goal is to find people who are not engaged with a church,” he said.
He said it will take some time to get the community’s signs and van markings changed, so the old name will still be seen around for a while. “There was no issue with the name Victory Hill. It wasn’t about there being a problem. The church is moving into a new season, a new era. It’s been happening for the last two years. Before I came.
“We want to honor that past. We’re not changing things that were happening. There was nothing wrong, which is what people wonder when you change a name. We’re making our outward appearance conform to the change that’s happened to us over the last 15 years.”
“Our heart is to reach the lost,” summed up Annie Hollifield, his wife.
“We want to be the community of believers we are called to be,” said Paul. “The Gospels say to love God with all your heart and mind and to love your neighbor and to go change the world. If you were to be persecuted for being a Christian, would there be evidence against you from your life?”
Hollifield, the son of a pastor, got his theological training at Lee University in Tennessee, the main seminary for the Church of God, and also met Annie there. He also earned his M.A in church music there. The Hollifields had been living in Amelia County, essentially as missionaries, Annie said, before moving with their four children (all home-schooled) to Crozet in September.
Former Victory Hill pastor Steve Mills felt called to missionary work and is now pursuing it in Ghana. Hollifield has done missionary work himself, in Romania, Ukraine and Kenya.
The community operates a preschool for 30 children, its maximum capacity, in the church’s basement level. It also operates an afterschool program at a facility on St. George Avenue in Crozet for about 20 children who attend Crozet and Brownsville Elementary schools.
Church services are held on Sundays and Wednesday evenings, and on other weeknights small group meetings for adults are held. Average attendance for the main Sunday service is about 80 people, Hollifield said.