“The Church is You.”  Our history is rooted in the belief that the church is people, not a building.  We want to be a church that is clear about why we exist and one that is passionately devoted to fulfilling God’s purpose for us.  CLW is going somewhere and walking that journey together.  We’re not the ONLY church in town.  But we are a unique church with a unique purpose.  And, we had pretty unique beginning.

CLW started because a group of fully devoted followers of Jesus were looking for more from the church experience.  Most had grown up in church and were raising their kids in church.  But they found themselves disengaged from church life.  At the same time, they were discovering that a relationship with God is what church is all about - not just attendance at church events or keeping traditions or reluctantly serving on church board and attending meetings without any real sense of meaning or purpose.  They wanted a church where bringing people into relationship with Christ was passionately taught and practiced.

This group began planning at the Hampton Godfather’s Pizza in December 2005.  Church of the Living Word was chosen as the name for this new community because God’s Word is living.  They wanted to have an active focus for an active church.  


In January 2006, CLW began meeting at the Windsor theater in Hampton, which earned them the name “The Popcorn Church.”  They held youth events at the Christian Daycare Center, the Lighthouse Church, bank basements, and homes.  It was a lot of work.  But they were committed to BEING the church, not just GOING to church.  In fact, in those early days, they wore t-shirts that read, “The Church Has Left the Building.”

CLW prayed for direction regarding a building but they weren’t in a hurry.  God had a timing, and owning a building wasn’t the most important thing.  In the meantime, a group of 46 traveled to Waveland, Mississippi to help with clean up following hurricane Katrina.  Others were sent on various missions outreaches while the church was without a building.  Over the years, we've sent teams to Haiti, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Botswana.  

Eventually, the church purchased some land north of the current Middle School with the intention of putting up a building.  But, God had other plans.  

An opportunity presented itself just as planning on a new building was getting under way.  The old Middle School building was for sale, and in 2009, CLW was able to purchase it for $1.  As an added blessing, the landowner that the church had bought the land from agreed to take it back.

The CLW family pulled together to transform the school into a functional ministry center.  Countless hours were put into clean up, painting, and making the building attractive.  Its purpose has been to be an outpost, a place to seek the lost and tossed, then build them up and equip them to go out and seek more of the lost.  

That remains our vision to this day because we understand that the church is not the building.  The church is the community of fully devoted followers of Christ, who’ve been touched by grace, are growing in their relationship to God, are walking together in Christian community, discovering and using their gifts to serve others, and who make good use of the resources that God has entrusted to them.