Rumours and the Real Story….

I heard a rumour yesterday that I bought the old Canadian Tire store in Orillia to start a church.  That's news to me.  I haven't got nearly enough Canadian Tire money for that.

You may have heard a few rumours flying around about what's happening at Trinity and what might or might not happen with Connexus, the church our team will be leading as of November 1st. I know many of you are asking this question: if Connexus can't buy Trinity's current facility, what will happen next?  Well, there is a plan. Want to hear it?

The plan is to launch a Barrie campus and Orillia campus in December (Unfortunately, we couldn't meet in Oro as our current facility is already the largest venue in Oro).  We are in the final stages of research on several stellar facilities in both Barrie and Orillia (we'll keep you updated). We would plan to hold our grand opening in south Barrie on Sunday December 2nd, 2007, and in Orillia on Sunday December 9th, 2007. 

Under this plan, Connexus would launch immediately as a multi-site church, with Bracebridge coming on-line in September 2008.  All sites would feature live music, lives hosts, stellar kids ministry and probably an "upgrade" to the experience we currently have.   The preaching would be done live at the Barrie site and video-cast to Orillia and, later, Bracebridge on a one week tape delay (the message from December 2nd in Barrie will be used in the other campuses one week later). The quality of the video we are planning will be top drawer. Obviously, with the week tape delay thing, special arrangements will be made for Christmas and Easter where a week delay doesn't make much sense. As for mid-week, staff would gather in rented space and community groups would, as always, be based in people's homes. Other environments would use space we would find elsewhere.  Renting is actually quite reasonable when you are used to paying a mortgage!

Our team is totally pumped about this option.  While we're doing our best to secure a deal for the current facility, there's a growing sense in which we feel that not getting the building is probably not the loss we all feared it might be.  It would be great to keep it, but God has a way of providing. While bringing relevant church to two nearby cities would mean a drive for the people of Oro (hey, we do that anyway!), it also means for the majority of people in this region, church would be much closer to their front door, which makes it so much easier to invite friends.

So…there you have it.  Contingency planning as it's happening in real time, and it has nothing to do with Canadian Tire.  Whatever you hear tomorrow, check back here for the real skinny.  In the meantime, keep praying that we stay closely tuned to what God is doing and that He uses whatever we offer Him in powerful ways. 

P.S. The articles of incorporation for Connexus (it will be a charitable, not for profit corporation in keeping with Canadian law for churches) were delivered this morning to Industry Canada, and we anticipate that Connexus will "exist" legally within three to four weeks.  We're thankful.



  1. thebassman says, September 21, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Live video-cast… very cool! Why the week delay down the road, though? Why not just continue live?

  2. Carey Nieuwhof (Connexus Community Church) says, September 21, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Bassman…great question. Rich can comment more specifically, but I think the issue is cost of live satellite time and also the possibility that so much can go wrong with a live feed. It's more complex than a week tape delay, so we think we'll start with tape delay, and then once we have that mastered, who knows? Carey

  3. thebassman says, September 21, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Very cool… Looking forward to it. Perhaps doing a taping of an early service in Barrie, then driving the DVD up to Orillia for later services would work, too (like have an 8:30 service in Barrie, but the first service in Orillia not until 10 or 10:30…) – at least for the date-sensitive services like Christmas & Easter…

  4. Rich Birch says, September 22, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Hey guys . . . I wonder if anyone else is looking in on this conversation?

    Walk before we run. Generating a great video to export to Orillia on a week delay is a new skill set that we are going to need to develop. Giving ourselves a week in the middle gives us a number of strategic advantages . . .
    – Service Programming – it allows us to reuse special programming elements from Barrie in Orillia. (example – a band could play a great U2 song in Barrie one week and then play the same set the following week in Orillia.)
    – Training – We will be adding a new volunteer team of 30+ people that will be responsible for the live video production in Barrie and then exporting that to Orillia a week later. This is not a small deal. There are a lot of moving parts to make sure that the video is quality so when we invite our friends from Orillia they aren't distracted by a bad video.
    – Cost – The cost of live is not cheap. I spent the last four years working on getting it going at The Meeting House (a church of 4000+ people) and their budget was just getting to the range where it could even be dreamt of.
    – Why? – There really isn't any compelling reason in our programming line up for "live" satellite. At TMH we did it because their teaching pastor does open forum "q&eh?" every Sunday morning. So they want to be able to to take questions from their various locations.
    – Christmas & Easter – Often people are concerned about these 2 Sundays out of the year. We can learn from other churches that have been doing this for years about how to stick handle around these Sunday. I think you'll see it will make those "special events" even better for inviting our friends to!

    It's funny. One of the "universal" experiences of multisite churches is how much "video teaching" becomes the greatest "non issue" in the overall mix. People engage pretty quickly with it . . . especially folks who are new to the whole church thing.

    Good discussion!


  5. thebassman says, September 22, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for the reply, Rich! Yeah, not sure too many people are following this new blog yet. Using Typepad to comment may be a reason for lack of comments, too… one more thing for people to sign up for. Also, the subscribe link needs some tinkering – it's not universally user friendly currently (I sent an email to Carey about it already).

    Anyways, great feedback. It should be an interesting experience. Will the video be made available online as well? It would be great for people to be able to download and watch them if they missed church, etc. 😉

    If we could do the video production live, it could still be used on other campuses the same day… but you're right, even with a really experienced team, that would make it tough to have really high-quality video each week.

    Great reply, Rich… this is the type of info I think a lot of us want to know… the why's and how's of this big transition. Keep it coming! 🙂

  6. RobWard says, September 22, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Rich: Not that I understand much about this but, regarding the tech issues, wouldn't it be easier to start out in one location and then branch out to multiple sites?

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