Uptown Church is a new church plant, being sent by North Wake Church, in Wake Forest, NC, and in partnership with the SBC of VA, and several like-minded churches and individuals in Virginia and North Carolina. The core team relocated to Martinsville in the June of 2015 – Rob and Ashley Connelly, with their four children, and Rich and Larissa Holland, and their four children.
Martinsville is Rob’s hometown. After moving away in 2001 to attend James Madison University, and later Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rob began to be drawn back to Martinsville. While Rob was studying at SEBTS, He and Ashley became part of North Wake Church, which would prove to be extremely formative. Over the course of several years, Rob and Ashley began to sense that God would be honored by the Connelly Family (Rob, Ashley, Jimmy, Joshua, Hannah, and Ruth) relocating back to serve among and be a part of the community. “I came to realize that Martinsville is my home, and the people of this area are ‘my people’,” Rob says.
North Wake Church is a church that understands the importance of church planting. Planting new churches reaches new people, and is a vital part of how the church can fulfill the Great Commission. So, when Rob began to sense that God might be leading him and his family back to Martinsville, he approached the Elders of North Wake and asked for prayer, evaluation, and guidance regarding the possibility of planting a new church in Martinsville. In mid 2013, Rob met Rich – also a North Wake member – and began to discuss the possibility of the Holland family joining in the process of starting this new church in Rob’s hometown.
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Rich resisted the idea at first, but God began to revive in his heart a desire to be involved in church planting and local church ministry as a leader. “We had finally felt like we found a permanent home in Wake Forest, a place where we belong; and we had no intention of ever leaving,” Rich says of what his family was thinking in those early days. “But we came to realize that God was using the missions-oriented culture at North Wake to lead us to join the team going to Martinsville. We realized that this was much more important that being comfortable in Wake Forest.” Now, Rich & Larissa, with their children Martin, Aaron, Jonathan, and Rosalie, are excited to make Martinsville their new home town.
As a part of the the North Wake Church Planting Residency, The Elders and members of North Wake church are sending out the Connelly and Holland families in the summer of 2015 to be a blessing to the Martinsville Henry County community. It is our prayer that Uptown Church will be a church as Jesus intended: made up of people from all walks of life in Martinsville / Henry County, who are known for their love for God, their love for one another, and their love for every person in the community and the world.