In less than two-and-a-half years, Crozet Fellowship Church has grown from a new organization meeting at Henley Middle School with just a few dozen members to a thriving congregation planning to expand to two Sunday morning services.
Crozet Fellowship’s founder and lead pastor John Healy initially discovered his faith during his college years at Miami University. While Healy’s faith has always been important to him, he didn’t always plan to open a church. Instead, he spent fifteen years working in the nonprofit fundraising sector before deciding to enroll in seminary with the goal of entering vocational ministry in 2017. He earned his Master of Divinity degree in August 2020.
“My family had been living in Crozet since 2014 and saw how rapidly the area was growing. We also knew that many people were like us and traveled to either Charlottesville or Waynesboro to attend church every week,” Healy explained. “Therefore, during seminary, I felt a call to plant a new church in Crozet with the hope of helping more people find hope and community where they were living.”
Healy is incredibly proud of how far the congregation has come in such a short time, attributing much of Crozet Fellowship’s success to the congregation’s focus on coming together in their shared beliefs, the most important of which, he said, is to declare and demonstrate God’s love in Crozet.
“We refuse to allow our different backgrounds, socio-economic status, social issues, or political affiliations to distract us from our shared mission to grow our love of God and share that love with our neighbors,” said Healy. “We welcome everyone at Crozet Fellowship and hope that expanding to two services will allow even more people in the area to come as they are to join our community.”
The church moved from Henley Middle School to 470 Twinkling Springs Road in May of 2023. The new space allows for up to 170 people to gather for Sunday worship with additional space beyond the building’s Fellowship Hall that would allow for any potential overflow, including space where the music and message can be streamed in real time. The church has been averaging about 140 people each week since last October and strives to cultivate a space where people can feel comfortable asking questions without any fear of rejection.
A typical worship gathering at Crozet Fellowship consists of a casual environment where one of the pastors delivers a practical sermon rooted in biblical principles that pertains to our everyday lives. Their worship music is modern, upbeat, and led mostly by drums, keyboard, and guitar, organized by talented musician Nate Brown, who joined the Crozet Fellowship team full-time this year.
The recent decision to expand to two services in February is based on the church’s mission and commitment to reaching as many people as possible in and around Crozet with the message and experience of God’s love. Starting on February 4, the church will shift from their current 10 a.m. service to two separate service offerings at 9 and 11 a.m. that will aim to accommodate a larger community of people.
“As I’ve been saying to our people in preparation for the change, ‘this isn’t the easy choice, it’s the mission-oriented choice,’ Healysaid. “It’s the Love God and Love Your Neighbor choice for us to make.”
Crozet Fellowship also recognizes the uniqueness of an area like Crozet—a place where many of its residents didn’t grow up—offers Fellowship Groups throughout the week that aim to cultivate meaningful connections between members. The church also offers additional childcare services during their Sunday worship sessions.
Healy said his work with Crozet Fellowship has been incredibly rewarding as a whole, but the connections he has made personally and been able to foster among others since the church’s opening have been particularly special.
“My favorite part of leading and being a part of Crozet Fellowship is the people I have come to know and get to walk through life with together. We loved our former church in Charlottesville. However, when we moved to Crozet, it was hard to invest the time to form meaningful connections with people living 20-30 minutes away,” he said. “I believe in what we say when we promote our groups, ‘Life is better when you have a community that supports you!’”
Regardless of the remarkable success and expansion of Crozet Fellowship and the changes on the way, Healy maintains that the message of the church will always stay the same, prioritizing opening its doors to all members of the community and creating a space that can accommodate everyone.
“We prove that in our divided culture, we can disagree without becoming disagreeable and that we have more in common than we often stop to recognize.”