- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2007

McLean Bible Church is the place to be Sunday nights for many young Christians in the region.

The evangelical church’s popular Frontline services attract roughly 3,000 mostly 20- and 30-somethings for casual, contemporary worship. They belt out Christian rock before a large-screen backdrop of colorful, flashing graphics. Many sway to the music and sing along, some stretching their arms toward the ceiling.

The ministry has become so popular that tonight, the nondenominational church is scheduled to open Frontline Arlington, the first of 10 community campuses throughout the region. The services will be held at the Rosslyn Spectrum on Monday nights at 7:30.

The Rev. Todd Phillips, Frontline’s teaching pastor, likens the church’s mission to Jesus’ “Great Commission” to his disciples in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Said Mr. Phillips: “He told 11 disciples to change the world. What do you suppose God could do with 3,000 young adults in the D.C. area?”

After services at the Vienna church, many followers attend the McLean University classes, which cover topics ranging from developing a relationship with God to personal finance from a Christian perspective. They also participate in small-group Bible studies throughout the week.

Frontline Arlington will offer the same worship services, classes, ministries and missions.

“It’ll have the same vision, the same core values,” Mr. Phillips said.

Frontline member Yvonne Lee, 27, who lives near Arlington, said the classes are an important part of the Frontline experience.

Over roughly the next 10 years, the 46-year-old church plans to open other community campuses in Alexandria, Loudoun and Prince William counties, the Fredericksburg area, the District, Prince George’s County, the Baltimore area and the Interstate-270 corridor, said Mike Hurt, director of the church’s community campus development.

“We call it a ‘spiritual Beltway,’ ” Mr. Hurt said.

Frontline was founded 12 years ago with the goal of ministering to young adults throughout the region, which has become difficult from the church’s western-suburbia location.

“The Frontline family is committed to reaching our Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria,” Mr. Phillips said, referring to Jesus’ instructions to his disciples before his Ascension: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The church has organized shuttles to pick up people from Metro stations, but often there has not been enough room for everyone, Mr. Phillips said.

Now, anyone who can get to a Metro station can get to Frontline Arlington.

Georgetown University students Andrew Bumbalough and Sandy Roberts plan to attend services at the new campus because it’s closer.

“The only issues were car issues,” said Mr. Bumbalough, a sophomore who started attending Frontline last semester. “The community is great.”

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