On May 16 th, 2008 youth leaders of the West End Assembly of God met together to discuss what they believed to be a desperate need for a college ministry in Richmond. They recognized that many young adults had stopped attending previous ministries and were losing connection with their faith. Shortly thereafter, 1822 Ministries was created to provide a place of worship existing unaffiliated with West End Assembly of God. 1822 Ministries is a fellowship of college students that describes it mission as strengthening, rebuilding, and refreshing their faith in Jesus Christ. It is an avenue of worship for young adults, those who are between the ages of 18 and 22, which inspired the name. The group was initially meant to meet in a neutral setting but the West End Assembly offered some space for the ministry. The vision of ministry is to promote social awareness and rethink the constructs of the church. When the group was established, the leader sought to build an atmosphere infused with Christian ideals, while drawing implications to culturally relevant aspects of life. He seeks to encourage living life justly, truthfully, and honestly without giving up contemporary culture. At the same time, the leader used terms such as organic, relational, and artistic, to describe what he wants this group to be. The congregation is membership numbers roughly forty.
The leader of 1822 Ministries is a topical preacher, who teaches lessons in a colloquial style that is intended to be comfortable for non-believers. He approaches generational topics during worship, speaking from experience in a way that makes it easy for others to find a connection. These connections are crucial to the purpose of this ministry, which is to create a group atmosphere that is comfortable so that those attending the worship service can build substantial relationships with one another. The leader uses artistic expression as an inspiration for the ministry, using paintings by Chagall, for example, to draw parallels between expressing oneself artistically and religiously. The incorporation of art into the worship allows some participants to express their spirituality in other ways besides the oral tradition.
The service at 1822 Ministries takes place for two to three hours on a weekday evening. An early evening dinner in the downstairs Fellowship Hall at West End Assembly of God is followed by a service in the upstairs Fellowship Hall. The ministry leader delivers a sermon lasting roughly 45 minutes. Following the sermon, the worship band performs contemporary Christian songs, incorporating a new set list every week. During this part of the worship there are different ways to participate in the ministry. In one part of the room there is a table with pastels for the members to paint or draw. There is also a journal placed on the table for those who wish to write about their experiences in their faith by writing of spiritual moments, memories, or even poems. The group also participates in the local community by feeding the homeless in Monroe Park, sponsoring missionaries abroad, and hosting auctions and cookouts.
401 North Parham Road
Richmond, VA 23229
Profiled prepared by Christopher Hyner