Barrie and Orillia Locations

–> We should know in 15 days if Connexus will be able to purchase the facility currently used by Trinity.  But if not, the big question is, where will we meet?

You already know we'll be moving to two campuses in that scenario, one in Barrie and the other in Orillia. We're happy to announce that the Sunday morning home of Connexus will be at the Galaxy Cinemas in each city —  on Commerce Park Drive in South Barrie and at West Ridge Place in Orillia. 

It was so cool to move through these cinemas last week with our staff, elders and some consultants who specialize in portable church.  Rich Birch and Nadine Russell, two of our staffers, have incredible passion and imagination when it comes to creating irresistible environments, and as they walked around with the consultants, the theatre became transformed in our minds' eye into environments which actually are as good or better than our current facility (see the quotes at the bottom of this post).  It's hard to describe all the things you can do with the right resources and the right people on the job.  I wish you all could have been there, and quite possibly, in 7 weeks, you might be!  Best yet, we can grow to an attendance of over 1000 people in each location each Sunday. 

Some of you remember our days at Guthrie Public School when load in and load out for a much smaller church took a while.  No more.  Rich Birch has a long relationship with PCI (Portable Church Industries) and we would engage them in these environments so we can completely construct our Sunday environments (tech, kids, foyer and more) in about 75 minutes and tear them down far less time.  Watch this video  to see what that process will be like.  It's amazing.  Our e-team will be in charge (that stands for environment team).  If you want to be part of one, email us at [email protected]

Midweek, we're still looking for space for environments like KidStuf, student ministry and Christmas eve, not to mention office space.  We're ready for the staff to hang out at my place for November if need be. 🙂  But those spaces are much easier to find than weekend space, so that should come together shortly.

Financially, believe it or not, it's a wash whether we stay here or hit the road.  It will cost us about $500,000 to buy our current facility (plus upgrades), while the cost of launching Barrie and Orillia will be $250,000 each for all the equipment, including our video stuff.  The rent for our environments will end up costing a little less that what we currently pay for heat, water, hydro and interest payments on the mortgage at Line 7.  Although the costs are about the same we are adding around 50% more capacity to invite people to church!  (People have kept asking . . . you'll be able to contribute early in October.)

Imagine having premium environments in two major cities where you can invite your friends.  How cool would that be? Plus, people associate going to the movies with good times, unlike schools (not everybody liked/likes school) or other facilities we might have rented.  Just about everybody knows where the theaters are, too, so that just makes an easier invite. 

Right now, we're absolutely laying it all before God, but it's good to know we've got some places to go that we're very excited about no matter how this turns out. 


Carey Nieuwhof
Lead Pastor
Connexus Community Church

P.S. Here are some quotes from some of our team who have toured the theatres that we would use:

“I think that it would be an incredible opportunity to go where no church in this area has gone before in an effort to reach people who otherwise have no other chance.  The theaters are not a step down, and in fact may very well be more effective in reaching those who don't like church.”- Pat Dryburgh

“The Galaxy theatre facilities will definitely open up an incredible range of possibilities.  It will mean a new venue of course, but it will also provide exciting points of connection with people who have long lost interest or trust in ‘church’.  We have found the Cineplex management team very helpful, and looking for ways to help maximize our experience.  This is shaping up to be an amazing partnership.  I believe that embracing a ‘portable church’ model will initiate a new era in team building among our staff and volunteers.  We will develop a greater sense of shared investment, and really get to know and depend on each other in a whole new way.  I’m excited about the future that God is forging for us both in terms of extending our reach and intensifying our sense of community. Connexus will bring a courageous and relevant ministry to both the Barrie and Orillia regions.  I have no doubt that it’s going to capture your imaginations.”  – Patrick Voo

“When I told my granddaughter that she might be doing church in a theatre, she thought that would be great and so would the popcorn, sometimes when you see things through the eyes of a child it puts everything in prospective.”   – John Atkinson

“I didn’t think that movie theatres would be able to host our Sunday environments because I wasn’t sure that we’d be able to transform them fully into UpStreet, Waumba and Xtreme.  But after looking at them much closer, I am so excited for this potential future for our church.  I think these locations will help us create irresistible environments for our friends and family!”   – Rich Birch



  1. Steve Wells says, September 29, 2007 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for providing so much information about what is happening. The video is great!I find the prospect of meeting in the theatres very exciting. To me it matches perfectly with the mission of the church, which is to be church for people who don't go to church. Well, meeting in a theatre is not going to church in the standard way. Besides, if it is true that "the church" is not the building but rather the people who go, then we won't essentially change whether we meet on the 7th Line or at the theatres.

    Did I say that I'm very excited about the idea? I think we have the opportunity to be in the vanguard for the way church is delivered in the 21st century. Every week we are encouraged to "bring a friend" to church the next week. Well, in this way we can "bring a church" to our friends!

  2. Carey Nieuwhof says, September 29, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Hey John…We're working on the issue of what to do with the equipment we've purchased. It, too, is part of the asset list that belongs to the PCC. We have a meeting this Tuesday, October 2nd with regional Presbytery reps where we are going to discuss many of the assets such as sets, tech equipment and some furnishings which we would need whether we stayed in the building or left. Obviously, if we got the building, all that would come with it. If we were not able to negotiate for the building, we would still try to reach a deal to either have the denomination donate much of that equipment to Connexus or see if we could agree of a reasonable price for it. It would still be cheaper than buying it new.

    Please know that in the event that we can't reach an agreement, the start up costs for the Orillia and Barrie campuses already include complete set up on much of that stuff, so this would be a "bonus". Still, we think we would be able to use it in a way that perhaps the denomination might not be able to, so a deal would make sense.

  3. Carey Nieuwhof says, October 3, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    Steve…thanks for the encouragement. Let me just say that what you wrote in your post is what people have told me in person over and over again. It's so much easier to invite their friends to a theater than to a church building. People are excited about this. So while moving has it's downsides, you can bet it has it's upside too. Funny how God provides regardless of how this all turns out, isn't it?

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