Since I wasn’t speaking at any of our Community Christian Church campuses this morning I decided to go to our Carillon location. Carillon is a gated golf community of about 4,000 people who are all 55+. At our Carillon location our BIG IDEA is adapted to connect with seniors…and it is working. In the last year two years they have experienced 27% and 23% growth and I think they may have had a record attendance today. But that is not my point.
Here is my point – when I walked into our Carillon location today for the first time in more than a year it totally had the CCC vibe. It was weird, I couldn’t exactly identify it, but I could feel it. It wasn’t the music, because the music was a little different than what we do at all our other locations. It wasn’t the people, the people were not the same as at our other locations – they were all quite a bit older. About the time I stood to sing the first chorus I figured it out – these people are all here because they want to be here! Let me say that again – this was a group of people who came together in the Carillon Community Club House because that is exactly where they wanted to be. I think this is one of the unique aspects of CCC culture – we are a community of people who come together not out of routine, tradition, to be seen or guilt. We come together because that is the one place on the planet that we most want to be!
I had the same experience a few weeks ago when I was at our newest CCC location in Pilsen. Again, we adapt the BIG IDEA to connect with a community that is 98% hispanic. So the music is a little different, the people look a little different and in one of the two services they even speak a different language. But I remember Rick Law, a leader who is on loan from our Montgomery/Oswego campus telling me about the new Pilsen location, “it’s working here too…it totally feels like CCC.” What was it? Lots of things! But one of those things is that this is a group of people that are showing up in the Jose Orozco Academy because that is the one place they want to be on that morning!
I’m convinced that this is not the case in most churches. Most churches are not filled with people who really want to be there. I think part of that is NOT having a permanent facility. When churches have their own facilities people will come out of tradition – “this is the church I grew up in”. Or they come because of investment – “I gave $$ to the building campaign ten years ago…I helped build this place”. Or they come because of guilt – “If I don’t go everyone will want to know…”. Or they come because this is the church where the affluent/beautiful/influential people attend. I’m not against permanent facilities. We have a couple of them and they have been a great asset. However, most of our locations are meeting in rented or leased spaces. And there is mainly one reason for people to show up in these locations – that is the one place on the planet they really want to be! And when new people show up in a place where everyone is there because they want to be there – you can feel it! It’s exciting. It’s celebratory. It’s contagious. And soon they want to be there every week too!