Pastor Jay Mudd — although he would rather you refer to him as just Jay — will be the first to tell you that churches are full of imperfect people.
“People are messy,” Mudd said. “I’ve told people, ‘If you find a perfect church with perfect people, run, run, run, run, because something’s wrong.’ Perfect people in a perfect church — that just doesn’t make sense, because we’re all messy, including myself.”
But still, throughout his 21 years of full-time ministry, he knows the difficulty that comes with people and church is more than worth it.
It’s what he believes he’s called to do.
“I don’t think God does things by accident,” he said. “I believe there’s a purpose for people connecting.”
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A SEAT AT THE TABLE
For Mudd, that connection should start with a cup of coffee and a conversation.
“I think it starts with a story; I want to hear your story,” he said. “What I would say when I connect with someone interested in Village Point is, ‘Hey, can we schedule a time where we can just sit down and connect? I want to learn your story and learn what brought you to this point in life.’ … We believe community is where everything starts, so I’m going to start by buying that person a cup of coffee.”
That approach is what makes the latest church Mudd is planting, Village Point, different from other Christian churches. The initial focus is not a traditional weekly Sunday service but rather fostering community within the five villages of Horizon West through stories being told and connections being made around a table.
“We’re still in the beginning stages, and we are taking our time,” he said. “If you talk to many pastors or church-goers, they’ll ask you, when are you going to start? And what they mean by that is, ‘When are you going to start worshipping every single week, on a Sunday?’
“I actually view it a little bit differently,” Mudd said. “I’m all about gathering. I’m all about having quality music; I’m all about quality things that we can do. But at the same time, biblically speaking, church was never intended to be this production or this show. Church was intended to be a community of people gathering together.”
Based on Mudd’s experience, the best place to gather is around a table.
“So we’re taking our time with that … but weekly, we meet in what we call tables,” he said. “And what I have found in my years of ministry is: you put food out, you put a snack out, you put coffee out, you put people around a table, and good conversations are going to happen. Healthy conversations are going to happen, transparent conversations are going to happen.
“We do these tables on a consistent basis, and it’s around these tables that we’re building community with people, learning people’s stories, hearing from where people are at, helping people that are wrestling through a variety of different things in life.”
Although Village Point’s focus during this early stage is on building its community through tables and other events, there are monthly public worship gatherings akin to traditional Sunday services happening.
Village Point is a non-denominational Christian evangelical church with Baptist roots that began gathering in early 2023.
“If you do enough research on me, you’ll find that I have Baptist roots,” Mudd said. “But we function as your typical non-denominational church. That being said, our theology is pretty conservative in a sense. … You can go online and read it; we clearly write it out. It’s publicized, we’re not ashamed of it. We will tell you exactly what we believe.”
On its website, Village Point lists five categories — The Bible, God, Salvation, Mankind and the Church — with explanations under each.
Generally, the beliefs laid out align with the traditional teachings of Christianity: The Bible is the word of God, the belief in the Holy Trinity — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and that salvation is freely given to those who are redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross through accepting Christ as Lord.
But beyond the traditional beliefs laid out on the website, the approach Mudd and Village Point want to make clear takes these beliefs and applies them through love and care for people.
“But the other thing we want to be very, very clear about is this: Even if you do not agree with us, that’s OK,” he said. “You’re still welcome, and you’re still going to be loved; you’re still going to be cared for. We have people all over the place that we connect with who do not agree with us 100% on everything, and we’re OK with that.
“Our job is to uphold the truth, but it’s not my job to change your mind,” he said. “My job is to love you to death, to care for you, to show you what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and then I’ll let God take care of the rest of the details. I want to be the person you’re willing to call when life throws you a curveball. I want to be the person you want to pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, I have this going on in my life, and I don’t know what to do with it.’ There’s not going to be judgment from me; there’s not going to be condemnation; there’s not going to be any of that stuff. It’s going to be me asking you where you’re at? How I can help? What can I do? … That’s what I want, so we’re not going to burn bridges. We’re going to love people.”
CONNECT WITH VILLAGE POINT
The normal routes of connection are all there for anyone interested in connecting with Village Point — website, social media and email — but one of the interesting approaches it has taken to connection is an always-monitored phone line.
“You can text or call our number; somebody is always monitoring it,” Pastor Jay Mudd said. “I’m very serious about that. It’s a number that somebody at our church will always monitor. So, when you text that number, you’re going to get a response from a real person.”