HUNTERSVILLE - On Feb. 2, a new church in Denver will be born: LFC-WestLake, a satellite campus of Lake Forest Church.
The Rev. Aron Gibson and the 72-person launch team are inviting “skeptics, explorers and longtime followers of Jesus” to come to the new church, which will meet at Lincoln Charter Elementary.
At the WestLake Sunday services, Gibson says people can expect Biblical preaching, a full worship band and a creative environment.
“Our style,” Gibson says, “is we like to have fun, be practical and not take ourselves too seriously, even while we take God very seriously.
In September, 38-year-old Gibson moved to the Denver area to start the church, along with his wife, Mary Robin, and their four children, ages 5-12. He left a 3,000-member church in Los Angeles, Christian Assembly, where he was the young adults’ pastor.
In L.A. he says he suffered from “nature deficit disorder,” and he is now enjoying his “fill of nature and greenery.” Gibson is also enjoying “the culture of hospitality” that he and Mary Robin have found in Denver.
Because Gibson wants to serve the community, he asked the Lincoln Charter Elementary staff how the church might improve the school. The unanimous response was to improve the sound in the gym, where LFC-WestLake will hold its services. So people in the Westlake launch team donated lumber, fabric and carpentry skills, and they built and installed 150 sound panels.
“Denver is a community that has seen a lot of growth and is going to see more growth,” Gibson says.
The US Census reports a 20.76 percent growth in population between the years 2000 and 2010.
Walmart and Lowe’s Home Improvement built there in the past two years, Grace Covenant Church began an East Lincoln campus in 2012, and a new top-notch restaurant, Chillfire Bar & Grill, opened in spring 2013.
“In addition to that growth,” Gibson adds, “we know from research that as much as 60 percent in east Lincoln County have no meaningful connection to a local church. There are some great churches in Denver doing awesome work, but the need is great; the opportunity is great.”
Third Lake Forest campus
WestLake will be Lake Forest’s third campus. Gibson says Lake Forest is “one church in three locations.” The main LFC campus on Gilead Road in Huntersville just celebrated its 15th anniversary. The second campus in Davidson was launched in 2011. The Rev. Michael Flake, a Davidson College graduate, serves as pastor.
Some campus churches, like Grace Covenant-Denver and Elevation-Lake Norman, use a campus model in which they transmit the sermon preached by the senior pastor to the satellite branches. At LFC-WestLake, however, the sermons will be delivered live by Gibson.
Though Gibson will be the primary pastor in Denver, the WestLake congregation can also expect to hear live sermons from Flake and LFC founder and lead pastor Mike Moses. The three pastors rotate to other campuses once every six weeks or so.
Want to go? Lake Forest WestLake meets at 10:30 a.m. starting Feb. 2 in the gym at Lincoln Charter Elementary School, 7834 Galway Lane, at the corner of Old N.C. 16 and Galway Lane. Childcare is available for babies through fifth grade.
Disclosure: Angie Moses is married to Lake Forest lead pastor Mike Moses.