Village Church Opens Another New Sanctuary

Youth members of the church make up the Christian rock band that calls the congregation to worship Sunday mornings.

In 2002, Wendell Estep, pastor of the First Baptist Church on Forrest Drive in Columbia, sent out five church seeds around the Midlands to be planted. His son, Pastor Erik Estep and his wife Emily and their three young children Hank, Glyn and Janie were to plant one of those seeds in Blythewood. That seed was called The Village Church.

“We started off as a home Bible study with only our family and a few others,” Erik Estep recalls. “We moved into Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School in March 2002, averaging about 70 members each Sunday. That fall, we moved to Lake Carolina.” All the while the seed was growing.

In August 2009, the church built its first sanctuary on Rimer Pond Road. That building seated 400. Last week, less than four years later, the church welcomed the community into its second sanctuary, built to seat 900. And all those seats were full of people ready to worship.

As the congregation arrived, they milled and visited, enjoying coffee and donuts. Then a Christian rock band, made up of the church’s youth, called them to worship. As the music filled the sanctuary, changing colored lights filled the stage. Three large video screens flashed messages and the words to the music.

The first four Sundays in the new building have themes. This particular Sunday was “camo day” and as Estep looked out over the audience dressed in green and brown camouflage clothing, he quipped in his natural turn of humor, “Maybe this was a mistake. I can’t see you.” The congregation laughed.

During the service, Estep introduced several community leaders and school principals in attendance, including U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson.

The front rows were filled with children and older youth. The outgrown sanctuary will be the new Student/Children’s Ministry facility where the youth will normally worship.

The church’s history may be short, but it has nonetheless made its mark on the community, particularly in the schools.

The church has a pastor of students, Matthew Phillips, who serves as chaplain for both the BHS and WHS football teams. And the Church sponsors a Post Game get together at the high schools after every Friday night home game. Post Game is intended to provide a safe atmosphere for students and football players to relax and have fun after the game.

“This is a wonderful community,” Estep said, “and we are so happy to be a part of it.

Indeed, the seed has grown and it has blossomed.