And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us…full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

Our Story

When God came to dwell among us, John tells us that He became flesh and “tabernacled” among us, which is a fancy way of saying that He “pitched His tent” in our front yard. All throughout the Bible, God uses the image of the tabernacle to show us what it means to be in relationship with Him.

The Bible begins with God walking in friendship with His image bearers, Adam and Eve. Despite their betrayal, God did not abandon His people in the desert. Instead, He pursued them and dwelt among them through the Tent of Meeting. This is where Israel would come to worship, to receive the Word of God, and to have their sins forgiven.

When Jesus came, He pointed to Himself as the place where we now come to meet with God. He is the true Tabernacle. Jesus is God’s Word “in the flesh”, who offered Himself as a sacrifice to take away our sins and give us new life through His resurrection. As we dwell with Him (and “in” Him), we can look forward to the promise when God will one day “spread His tabernacle” over us in eternity (Revelation 7:15).

Tabernacle began in 2002 with a belief that God wanted to grow His Kingdom in us and through us by planting a new church in Waynesboro, VA. We began with a desire to be a place where God would “tabernacle” with us through the grace and truth of Jesus, and our vision remains the same today as it was then:

“By God’s grace, Tabernacle lives for the enjoyment of His glory, the good of His people, the blessing of our community, and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom in the world.”

Our Vision

First, notice that God’s grace is primary (John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 1:30). It is always primary because without Him, we could do nothing. He created us, saved us through Christ, and restores us through the Spirit. Anything we have accomplished or will accomplish depends on His gracious provision and enablement.

Second, all that we do ought to put Him first. His glory is our chief concern (Isaiah 26:8) and our greatest delight (Psalm 16:11). God’s glory is not something we disinterestedly seek out of mere duty. Obedience and sacrifice and carrying our cross are all necessary, but only so that we can possess what is truly enjoyable—Him (Matthew 13:44).

Next in order is the good of His people. Fundamentally, the Church exists for the nurturing and building up of the saints (Galatians 6:10). We are a family, and a family rejoices together and also grieves together. We respond and we love and we serve in order to be an expression of God’s love to one another, fulfilling our calling as the interdependent Body of Christ.

But how many churches have taken this principle of self-nurture as its only purpose and become ingrown? The Lord would also have us exist for the blessing of our community (Galatians 5:14; Jeremiah 29:7). We want the communities of Waynesboro, Staunton, and Augusta County to know that we care about our neighbors and seek to love them well through both Word and Deed ministries (Matthew 5:16).

Finally, Tabernacle is part of a great and glorious plan that Jesus has to spread His Kingdom to every corner of the world. We seek to minister locally and globally in order to advance the recognition of Christ’s lordship in all spheres, so that this recognition would result in a foretaste of the blessings that will one day come when Jesus returns and removes all that remains of sin and its consequences (Zechariah 8:20-23).

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Isaiah 54:2-3

Our Mission

We believe that God wants us to grow and multiply. Our mission (the means by which we intend to see our vision for Tabernacle realized) is to “enlarge the place of our tent” and to “spread out to the right and to the left”. As we grow and multiply, we can spread more of the blessings of Christ’s Kingdom to new neighborhoods and to the nations.

Our mission is to keep multiplying until we reach a mind-blowing 1% of our local population! How’s that for bold? Well, it is in a way. One percent of our community does not sound like much until you do the math. Our community is projected to grow to 120,000 people in the next few years, and we want to see 1,200 of them living and growing as disciples through Tabernacle.

But we also believe that multiplication, not just growth, is the biblical way to make and grow disciples. Church planting is the missional strategy of the New Testament. So rather than grow Tabernacle to well over 1,000 members, we pray God will use us to plant a bunch of 200-300 members churches. Most leaders agree that six churches with 200 members will make a greater impact than one church with 1,200 members.

And by God’s grace, Tabernacle was able to plant our first daughter church in 2009, Holy Cross PCA in Staunton. We started as a multisite church (one church in two locations) and then spun it off as a daughter church (two churches in two locations) with its own leadership. Now Holy Cross has its own multisite ministry in Fishersville! And we are praying for God to lead us to our next location for another daughter church.