It’s Official: Connexus is Coming to a Theater Near You!

–>Here’s the decision many of us have been waiting for.  It’s official tonight: Connexus will be launching in December 2007 at the Galaxy Cinemas in Barrie and Orillia.

The Presbytery of Barrie tonight decided to try to continue a Presbyterian church using the Trinity facility after our current leadership team resigns October 31st.  This puts the Connexus offer to purchase this facility off the table indefinitely.  We sincerely wish our Presbyterian colleagues and friends the very best in this endeavor and will do all we can to support them in this time of transition.  We love you, and you are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But I have to say that our leadership team is actually very excited about the decision to launch Connexus in the heart of two cities we love and that God has a deep heart for.  We never originally intended to launch in Barrie and Orillia, but sometimes God has plans we didn’t.  In fact, when we realized this summer that the building was seriously in question, we were initially alarmed about not being able to meet in Oro.  The Trinity facility we built in 2003 is the largest facility in Oro, so if we couldn’t buy it, we realized quickly that our only option was to head north or south.  We wanted to reach both our northern neighbours and our southern neighbours, and hence the idea of a twin city launch was born a few months ago. As it became more and more clear over the last month that we might not get the building, our imagination got captured by the possibilities associated with Connexus launching in both cities.  It may indeed be the best option after all.

We are we excited?

  1. We get a chance to create amazing environments in these cinemas that would rival anything we could do in our own facility which, frankly, we already outgrew.
  2. It’s easier to invite your friends to a cinema than a church.  Quite honestly, chat it up with your unchurched friends and ask which place sounds more inviting to them: a cinema or a church.  They’re already in the theaters several times a month.
  3. We’re way closer to where people actually live.  If ministry is about reaching people, maybe it’s an advantage to be close to people.  It’s way easier to invite your friends ten minutes down the road than to a 25 minute drive.
  4. Having two locations make attendance more convenient for the vast majority of our current Trinity attenders who will live closer to one of the two new sites than they do to the Trinity facility. Even us Oro people (and I’m one of them) have to drive into town for virtually everything, so it’s not much of a stretch to do church nearby.
  5. Pure blue sky possibilities.  If we serve an unlimited God, then
    starting fresh with no boundaries is a magnificent opportunity to try
    something significant for the Kingdom.
  6. Renting is cheaper than owning.  Even while creating stellar environments and going overnight into live video production, the costs of being portable are better than having to "repurchase" a facility.  Even as we also rent office space, KidStuf space and student ministry space, it’s still cheaper.  Plus, if and when we do build in the future, our future space will be much more geared to the size and scope we’ll need than what we’ve done in the past.
  7. We like popcorn.  And we’re serving it at our launches.  How cool is that?

We realize that for many Connexus supporters who currently call Trinity home, this may be a period of adjustment as we go through the process of becoming a mobile church.  But the wonderful option is that people who want to stay in the current facility can do so, and those who want to join in on the Connexus mission can join us in that.  Our arms are wide open, because so is the Kingdom of God. 

So Barrie and Orillia, here we come!  We’re ready to blanket Barrie, Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Muskoka, the GTA with faith, hope and love.

It’s so great to be on this journey with you.  Keep praying and especially keep praying for the people who have yet to get into a growing relationship with Jesus, and for the courage to invite them into some amazing environments, coming soon to a theater near you! 

Carey Nieuwhof
Lead Pastor
Connexus Community Church

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16 Comments

  1. Carey Nieuwhof says, October 10, 2007 at 12:20 am

    Sorry for the late post…the meeting wrapped up after 11, and we got the post up as soon as we could. Happy sleep!

  2. Tim L. Walker says, October 10, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Glad you stayed up to post this, Carey… as it hit midnight, I was wondering if I was going to have to wait until morning. 😉

    I was at the meeting this evening, and for those that weren't there, Carey represented our church (both Trinity & Connexus) as well, if not more graciously, that could have been expected. Thank you, Carey, for being such a humble and Godly leader in this difficult time for the community. Without going into too much detail, the comments and the general attitude of most (though not all) of those that spoke against the motion to dissolve Trinity (and related matters) at the meeting was disappointing. It reminded me of why I had left "the church" when I was younger. Selfish pride clothed in phrases like "God's work" and "further prayer" turned my stomach this evening. While I'm excited to see what is in store for Connexus in the 2 theatres, it was sad to see the general attitude of the members of the Presbytery so archaic and cantankerous when addressing the issues.

    Anyways, I have a couple of questions:
    1) (not relevant now, but…) Was it not an option for the Presbytery to dissolve the Trinity congregation to allow discussions about the facility to be opened, and if there was a desire on the part of the 30ish people that wanted a Presbyterian presence in Oro, to "launch" a new church? I mean, based on the numbers, keeping that building for 30+ people isn't a good idea for the PCC – a smaller facility for a smaller congregation would seem to be the ideal course of action. Connexus, the bigger of the two congregations could have the option to buy the current larger building, whereas, a "new" church could find a smaller, financially more manageable location for the "new" Presbyterian church. I guess I'm just wondering why this "arrangement" was not discussed as an option, as it seems to be a win-win for everyone.

    2) Does this mean we'll be able to bring coffee into the theatres? Think we can work out a deal with Starbucks? (half kidding, half not) 😉

    3) Does Connexus still plan to pursue the Line 7 facility down the road, or is it completely off the radar now?

    4) Now that we are officially in 2 theatres, are there plans to even build a perminant "head office/main building" for Connexus, or is the plan to always be "portable?"

    I think those are all my questions for now. 😉 Thanks again to Carey and the leadership team of Trinity/Connexus – this blog is a great way to learn more about what's going on wrt Connexus, and a great way for us to interact with the leadership of the church 🙂

  3. Laurie McNair says, October 10, 2007 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for the late post. I came home from my meeting late and was glad to see that you had posted the decision. This was not all that surprising. This is all on God's time and His plan. God is doing some amazing things not only in this community but I truely believe that the denomination has just recieved a great big wake-up call. This is a new age, new time and I for one am very excited by this new movement. Keep up the good work and keep the faith!

    Peace in Christ.

  4. Stephanie Walker says, October 10, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I attended the meeting as well last night and have to commend you Carey on your open heart and mind. You exuded graciousness, love and humility that was sadly lacking in many of those in attendance from the Presbytery.

    Although the idea of a movie theater was initially a little "weird" (I'll be honest!) I am now becoming more and more excited about this amazing opportunity. I have never experienced portable church and thus am excited to get involved to make Connexus the best it can be.

    Oh and I am with Tim on the Starbucks 😉

  5. Pat Dryburgh says, October 10, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    Tim,

    Starbucks is allowed only if you provide certain directors of music with a Grande Non-Fat Tazo Chai Latte 😉

    Pat

  6. Margaret Rouse says, October 10, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I praise the Lord Carey, for your message last night on our 'Crazy God". Maybe you are not going to win a popularity contest with some of the court members but it is better to be on the Lord's side as you are. I just had this huge smile on my face as you spoke. The Presbyters surely got an earful and I trust your message had an impact on some of them.

  7. Tim L. Walker says, October 10, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Pat – Small price to pay – consider it done! 😉

  8. Moms4tne says, October 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Dear Carey

    I sincerely hope you mean it when you say, “We sincerely wish our Presbyterian colleagues and friends the very best in this endeavor and will do all we can to support them in this time of transition. We love you, and you are our brothers and sisters in Christ,” because I get the feeling, mostly from comments on this blog, that there are those who will be following you to Connexus who feel that 30 some-odd people who desire to stay and worship in Oro, not as Presbyterians but as followers of Christ, are somehow keeping them from having things they feel entitled to (especially a big piece of brick and mortar)! Who do we follow anyway? Jesus Christ, I hope! I know you’ve attempted to put a very positive spin on this whole, difficult situation – and yet comments from those who consider themselves part of the new movement seem nothing less than just plain resentful and angry. Just a few:

    “. . . the comments and the general attitude of most (though not all) of those that spoke against the motion to dissolve Trinity (and related matters) at the meeting was disappointing . . . Selfish pride clothed in phrases like "God's work" and "further prayer" turned my stomach this evening . . . it was sad to see the general attitude of the members of the Presbytery so archaic and cantankerous when addressing the issues,” (Tim Walker)

    “You (Carey) exuded graciousness, love and humility that was sadly lacking in many of those in attendance from the Presbytery.” (Stephanie Walker)

    “Maybe you are not going to win a popularity contest with some of the court members but it is better to be on the Lord's side as you are. The Presbyters surely got an earful and I trust your message had an impact on some of them.” (Margaret Rouse)

    I beg to differ!! People, you’re talking about servants of the Living God – just because they do not agree with how you think things should be does not mean they are any less than you in the Heart of the Father! I have been a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ for 37 years and I, along with others who are both churched and unchurched, are watching how the congregation of one of the most influential “bodies” in this community are handling what is, undoubtedly, a difficult situation. There are a group of believers who feel led to carry on the work of the local body in Oro – and there is a group who feels led to support and follow Carey in his pursuit of a vision he wholeheartedly believes God has placed on his heart. It does not matter which group is "bigger" and being included in the "bigger" group does not mean you're the only ones following the Heart of God. There is no fault to be found on either side – the point being their shouldn't be "sides" at all!! The fault lies in allowing this divisive influence to continue within the Body of Christ. That is not the work of a loving God – it’s the influence of the enemy. Those who are staying did not initiate this movement – they simply chose to stay. Words like those above, that seem strongly to “vilify” those whose hearts desire to stay in Oro, are not glorifying to the Father and are hurtful to members of Christ’s Body. I would like to challenge the new members of Connexus to let go of the anger and recrimination that’s directed at the Presbyterian Church and, especially, towards your fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ . . . the same Brothers and Sisters with whom you’ve worshipped on the 7th Line in Oro for at least the past four years. It’s time to recognize that just because you are choosing to move on with Carey doesn’t mean that you are the only ones following the Heart of Christ. Those who want to continue the work in Oro are not “against” Carey’s vision of what God has in store for Connexus. They are simply exercising their freedom to follow their own hearts in how they prefer to worship our MIGHTY God. There is no reason to direct anger at those who desire to stay, and there is no reason to begrudge God, who built a congregation of His Believers in Oro, the opportunity to do so again through the love, heart and dedication of those who are left behind in Oro

  9. Jenn Bailey says, October 10, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    I feel like I should be on a Disney commercial because “I’m too excited to sleep!” I'm waking up in the middle of the night with a childlike excitement anticipating the awesome and amazing things God is going to do through Connexus. All glory and honour to Him!

  10. Ian Lampi says, October 10, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    Our congregation grew because of its' focus on relevant biblical teaching and the determination to reach unchurched people. God has blessed us in this pursuit and we have grown quickly to the point that Trinity was runnig out of space. The faithfulness of this congregation has made it possible for so many people to know God's love for the first time.
    Since we want to reach the masses for God we are now at a turning point. Connexus is formed outside the P.C.C. and Trinity remains in it. We aren't on opposing sides! Our common goal is still to reach more people for Christ and we can work together for the kingdom of God. Connexus has a strategic parner in North Point and Trinity can be one too. Not everyone will go to Connexus and not everyone will stay at Trinity. We'll both have more space to bring people and grow! We can support each other in all aspects of our common ministry, not tear each other down.
    Do we want to dissolve Trinity? To what purpose? Connexus will be more effective at reaching people with negative perceptions of "church" in a different environment. Trinity should be excited about accessing those lost souls! Trinity can continue with contemporary worship and biblical teaching to attract seekers and new believers (it has been working great so far so why would we want to end that?). Connexus should be glad that Trinity can carry on! Even though we will worship in different locations do we not share the same vision? Are we not brothers and sisters in Christ?
    We need to stop staring at the problems and complaining that things didn't go the way we envisioned them. We need to open our eyes to the possibilities! God has brought us here for a purpose. Working together can only strenghten us as a united body of Christ!

  11. Carey Nieuwhof says, October 10, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Hi everyone…

    We are pretty much running comments on this blog raw and unedited. This is an emotional time for many, and people are entitled to their opinions.

    Thanks Mom4tne, for your honest and probing question. The answer to your question is yes, I am sincere, or at least I want to be sincere in this with all my heart. Sure, I have my moments, in all honesty, where I scratch my head, but I am grateful to say that they are moments, not hours or days. Jesus is hard at work in this whole matter, and I am feeling His call to grace hourly in this whole thing.

    I have a bit of a unique privilege of knowing to some extent most of our bloggers, and I can assure you of the good heart of Margaret and Tim and Stephanie and Ian and Jenn and everyone else who has commented on this blog, at least as I know their hearts. I am grateful to work alongside each of them, even though in a few cases it looks like we won't be in the same congregation.

    I honestly believe that nobody here needs to fail for the other to succeed. The success of Trinity does not depend on the failure of Connexus nor does the success of Connexus depend on the failure of Trinity. The success of the mission Jesus has given us depends on the success of everyone. We truly do labour together. I love the way Ian summed it up. Thanks Ian.

    I was chatting tonight for about an hour with an elder and good friend of mine about the changes that God has brought about in my heart over the last few years when it comes to grace and being able to extend love. I still think all I have a thimble full of love inside me compared to the ocean that is in Jesus, but my job is to spill out my thimble every day and let Jesus replenish it. Pray for me, and pray for everyone in that regard. My only responsibility is to love Christians in the moment, because it is by our love that Jesus said we would know each other. So let's keep loving each other. I think that's something we can all do.

    Imagine what our neighbours would say when they come looking for acrimony and there is none, when they look for division but find love. They might actually think we have a God worth worshipping.

    We just need to live that out, and I have a feeling that each of us is trying to do that.

  12. Heather Hooymans says, October 12, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    I have learned a lesson about "God's Will" and wanted to share it. I have was REALLY striving to know what God's will is over this transition and realized that it is OK for different things to happen in the life of the "CHURCH" – as in- WE ARE THE CHURCH – God's will is different for my life than for someone living on the Gaza strip or in wilds of Bolivia and may be different for My Parents life – As long as we keep our eyes on God and strive to do his will, then We should pray for every sucess in every endevour. A Wedding is a cause for great celebration – maybe a brother or sister ( in Christ) – is getting married. You do not loose a family member but GAIN one.
    "Behold look how they love each other".
    I am so glad to have had the chance to worship and praise and learn and grow with so many " family members" (brothers and sisters-in Christ) and look forward to a joyus time when I can go and visit more
    "Family members" in different towns.

  13. John Welles says, October 13, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    "I beg to differ!! People, you’re talking about servants of the Living God – just because they do not agree with how you think things should be does not mean they are any less than you in the Heart of the Father!"

    Okay. I would agree. Who said anyone was any less than anyone else? I read the posts that you quoted and I can’t find anything about people being ‘less’ than others.

    “There are a group of believers who feel led to carry on the work of the local body in Oro – and there is a group who feels led to support and follow Carey in his pursuit of a vision he wholeheartedly believes God has placed on his heart. It does not matter which group is "bigger" and being included in the "bigger" group does not mean you're the only ones following the Heart of God.”

    Once again, I think we all agree with you. Was this comment meant to be an accusation of some kind? I read through all the posts on this site and can’t find anything written by the people choosing Connexus that says being bigger somehow makes you closer to God. (Please consider that perhaps the understanding of the posts you quoted were a little out of context. My understanding was they were talking about members of the Presbytery and not necessarily members of Trinity.

    “Words like those above, that seem strongly to ‘vilify’ those whose hearts desire to stay in Oro, are not glorifying to the Father and are hurtful to members of Christ’s Body.”

    I think you have just hurt even more people sister! To make accusations of defamation and slander is certainly weighty. If you choose to see vilification in the comments that were made, then that is your choice. If anyone is angry about this situation, I don’t blame them. And I certainly don’t blame you! It’s okay to be angry, just direct it upward.

    “It’s time to recognize that just because you are choosing to move on with Carey doesn’t mean that you are the only ones following the Heart of Christ.”

    In every difficult situation anywhere you are guaranteed to find people pointing the finger before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’. The last thing we should be doing right now (or ever) is blame each other. We ALL need to accept that this situation is a reality, and move on.

    I’m reminded of something that someone said to me a long time ago and it rings in my ear as I write this. I’ll leave you with those five words that I say to myself daily (and occasionally to others), and I think we should all consider doing what it says. Are you ready? Here it is. “Shut up, and love people.”

  14. Carey Nieuwhof says, October 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    John, I appreciate your conclusion. I think that's what people are trying to do, love people. Let's give each other some space and grace to do that.

  15. Tim L. Walker says, October 13, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Great comments, John. I agree 100%.

  16. Rob Ward says, October 13, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    Carey: Thank you for your comments. Space, Grace and Love. Things of God. Remember the story I told at Presbytery back in Sept? I met that person today and their life continues to have been changed since that one service at Trinity. Be blessed in your ministry. We will continue to pray for all at Connexus.

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