–>So, we're going mobile! Connexus will launch entirely in leased space — the Galaxy Cinemas in Barrie and Orillia for Sundays and other space midweek for other environments. Being portable might feel really new and different for some. So this weekend, we'll ask some questions: Other than the obvious fact that a church simply doesn't have a full time facility, are there other reasons for a church to go portable?
Let's play with paradigms in today's post and ask what possibilities there might be to being a mobile church.
Possibility One: Empty Chairs
A full church is cool, but where will we fit your friends? Through two Barrie services (8:30 and 10:00) and one Orillia service (10:00 a.m.) we will start with over 900 chairs for adults in December (plus hundreds of kids' spaces). But here's the neat part: we will have the potential for as many as 2400 seats for adults on Sunday morning by adding a second Orillia service and adding video overflow in adjacent theaters during all services. Kids' space can also expand with it.
Empty chairs are great not because we are in love with chairs, but because God is in love with the people who will sit in them. Watch this video, and pray for people you care about, people God loves. Think of who you'll invite December 2nd and December 9th as Connexus launches. And start falling in love with the people who will sit in those once empty chairs.
Possibility Two: Empty Chairs at Prime Times.
In our culture, for whatever reason, people want to attend church on Sunday morning. Maybe there's something in the water, but even people who don't want to
go to church will only show up at church Sunday mornings when they
eventually decide to go. Leaders have tried to change this, but have found it pretty much futile. Churches that fill up with standing room only on Sunday mornings have tried Saturday night or Sunday evening and watched them fizzle. Through mobility, we have a ton of seats available Sunday mornings, prime time.
Possibility Three: Easier Expansion
So what happens if we run out
of space at the theaters? Easy…you open up a new location in other leased space. Because Connexus will be a video church, exporting becomes
so much easier than in a traditional model. Just pray, find more space, set up the environments and and go. Video church and a single staff and unified eldership team mean that expansion is so much easier and flexible than in a more traditional church plant. Connexus could have many Barrie/Orillia/Oro locations down the road and around the province.
Possibility Four: Appropriate Focus
Because the space is
leased, we are not tied down to a facility with a mortgage. The building doesn't define us. The mission does. While owning has advantages (and Connexus may indeed own a facility or two one day), one of the realities is that when you own a facility and have a lot invested in it, people can develop a tie to a facility that can become greater than the tie to the mission or even to God. Being in leased space is a great way to focus on what really matters.
Possibility Five: Proximity
Chairs are great, but chairs close to where people live are even better. Christians will sometimes drive 30 – 60 minutes to go to a church they like, but their friends won't. If we want to engage your friends, we need to open up as many seats on Sundays and in other environments within a 20 minute drive of where they live.
Get this: Connexus' two locations are within a 20 minute drive of over 200,000 people, including many rural and urban communities. That rocks! You now have the maximum chance of getting your friends to say yes to your invitation into an environment we believe your friends will truly find irresistible.
Possibility Six: Cost
It's still cheaper to rent than to own. At our critical information meetings next Saturday October 20th at 10:00 a.m. in Barrie and Saturday October 27th at 10:00 a.m. in Orillia at the Galaxy cinemas in each city, we'll outline some of these details for you. Don't miss those meetings!
Possibility Seven: It's Not a Church
Entering a "church" can be a barrier to some people. Connexus is unapologetically Christian and totally focused on getting people into a growing relationship with Jesus, but how cool would it be to invite your friends to a theater with you? Everybody knows where it is. Most people have gone there before. Kids think it's sweet. And we know as Christians you can meet God anywhere. There are many people who have their heart set against church who don't have their heart set against God, and this lays down a bridge to them that right now doesn't exist in our region.
So, some food for thought. What do you think? Are there other advantages? What's playing in your imagination?