Far From God to Campus Pastor!

Scott Knollenberg is a guy who found his way back to God at COMMUNITY.  Scott is also our brand new Campus Pastor at our Romeoville Campus.  I asked Scott to share his story with you.  Here it is in Scott’s words:

“In 1998, I was far from God and had just relocated to Romeoville.  I was one of the first residents to move into the HighPoint Community, a new residential development built by 3 partners: HighPoint Apartments, Institute for Community, and Community Christian Church.  Three months after moving in I was playing sand volleyball when I met a guy named Troy McMahon.  After spending 2 weeks trying to figure out who this “Troy guy” was, I discovered he was the Campus Pastor of the Romeoville Campus that was launching in the new Friendship Center.  Despite my past views of church people and being far from God, I made a huge step to attend my first CCC service because I felt HighPoint and its new church was a “cool place with cool leadership”.

Meanwhile, I was finishing up graduate school and advancing my career with Caterpillar.  But God was changing me.  While interviewing for a dream job at Caterpillar world headquarters, I shockingly declined the promotion explaining I could not leave my church in Romeoville and relocate.  On the drive home, I called Troy and asked him to baptize me.  I felt it was finally the right time because this was the first major decision I had ever made that was not about building my own personal kingdom.  Two years later, I left the corporate marketplace and joined CCC staff first as the Kids’ City Director and now I will be the Campus Pastor.  Because of CCC, IFC and HighPoint, I have accepted Jesus and have become a better husband to Michelle and father to my daughter, Chloe Grace.  I’m excited to help make COMMUNITY-Romeoville the world model at reaching and building strong families.  That’s what this place did for my family and there are many more “Scotts” out there in this community who are far from God.”

That is sooo cool!  Scott’s story embodies what we want to see happen in the lives of people over and over and over again.  10 years ago Scott was far from God and today he is leading a campus
with hundreds of people who are accomplishing the Jesus mission!

Great Response To Creating Genuine Community Forum

Creating_genuine_community_1NewThing Network and the Institute for Community co-sponsored this one of a kind event for designed to create partnerships between church leaders and real estate developer – Creating Genuine Community.  This forum had people from all over the country including some of my partners: Bruno Bottarelli, Nick Ryan, Perry Bigelow (Professional Builder Magazine “Builder of the Year“) and Darren Sloniger.  The premise of the Forum is that genuine community is both place-based and Christ-centered.  With that as a foundation we invited real estate developers and church leaders together for this one of a kind conversation.  A few things that I took away from this experience:

  • Community is not intrinsically good.  Community has the potential to be very good, but community also has the potential to be evil.  I remember when we had Carl George consult with us several years ago regarding the birth of the IFC and he said, “If you do this you need a powerful moral influence.  There is the potential for great good; but there is also the potential for ‘all the witches to come out’…evil!”  So, how do you ensure that your community building efforts are going to be for great good?  This is the question that every real estate developer who is interested in creating community should struggle through.  It was Peter Drucker who said, “There are only two groups in the world that are changing people for the better; one is churches and the other is 12-step groups”.
  • Real estate developers interested in creating genuine community need a church.  Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone explains how churches are the best source of social capital, “Faith communities in which people worship together are arguably the single most important repository of social capital in America…  Half of all associations memberships in America are church related.  Half of all personal philanthropy is religious in character.  Half of all volunteering occurs in a religious context…  So how involved we are in religion today matters a lot for America’s social capital.” 

There was a great energy in the room and a terrific conversations about how to create community that is both Christ-centered and place-based.  It will be fun to read the reviews and see where we take this next!

Another Example of an Entrepreneurial Church

Entrepreneurial_faithSunday morning at CCC-Romeoville, Beth Gulczynski and Karen Brostrom greeted me with a newspaper and said, “We raised enough money to buy houses for two families in Rwanda!”  The newspaper they handed me was the local Bolingbrook Sun and the article titled, A Helping Hand told their story.  They raised more than $3,000 and now two homes will be built for Rwandan families that were living without.  Nobody had to give them permission to do this and nobody had to form a committee – this group who calls themselves Woman Embracing the World just started doing the stuff Jesus told us all to do.  I love it!!  Another example of an entrepreneurial church!

The Future of Town Building

Creating_genuine_community_2Genuine community is both place-based and Christ-centered. In order to create genuine community there must be collaboration between real estate developers and church leaders.  That is why on September 19th the Institute for Community and NewThing Network will host the first ever, CREATING GENUINE COMMUNITY FORUM

  • We can see a time when every real estate developer who dreams of a developing a new community knows that a church is essential to that dream.
  • In the future church planters will not plant on their own, but will partner with real estate developers to make sure that the physical and spiritual spaces are in alignment to create the kind of community that God desires for all people.
  • There is coming a day when town planners will understand that to create genuine community it requires having a church at the heart of that community.

With this dream in mind the Institute for Community and NewThing Network are introducing to a limited number (the first 100) of real estate developers, architects, builders, planners and pastors a one-day CREATING GENUINE COMMUNITY FORUM.  Here are some more of the specifics:

  • What: Creating Genuine Community: Church and Real Estate Developer Partnerships.
  • Why: Genuine community is both place-based and Christ-centered.  In order to create genuine community there must be collaboration between real estate developers and church leaders.
  • Who: Limited number of Pastors, Developers, Architects and Planners.
  • When: September 19, 2006, 9am-3pm; tours begin at 8am.
  • Cost: $75 (lunch included)
  • Location: Romeoville Campus of Community Christian Church
  • For more Information or Register:  Contact Pat Masek at 630.388.5205 patmasek@newthing.org

Lies About Reproducing Small Groups

LyingI consistently find that at the core of almost every reproducing church are reproducing small groups.  I bet 75% of the stuff that we have learned about reproducing sites and being a multi-site church we learned first through reproducing small groups.  Over at Easum/Bandy we have been doing some online coaching on the topic of The Reproducing Church and my brother Jon (who knows more about small groups than anyone on the planet) posted some false assumptions we make about reproducing groups. Here they are . . .

LIE #1: SIZE DOES MATTER – While it may matter when it comes to reproducing congregations or campuses, it doesn’t when it comes to small groups. We have seen small groups with just a handful of members, reproduce. The key: leader readiness. When a leader is ready to start a new group, it’s time to reproduce.

LIE #2 – REPRODUCING IS THE SAME AS DIVIDING – Nope, dividing is too closely related to splitting and churches aren’t fond of either term. If you focus on leader readiness the group is not divided or split. The people in the group who want to go with the new leader will go. Others will stay. There’s no dividing or splitting involved.

LIE #3 – REPRODUCING MEANS NEVER GOING DEEP – I was part of the same small group for close to five years, yet we were responsible for launching five new groups within that five years. The core of that group stayed together and experienced a deep level of relational and spiritual connectedness, while at the same time developing new leaders and releasing them to start new groups – reproduce!

LIE #4 – REPRODUCING CAN BE DELEGATED – I’ve talked to lots of pastors who expect their leaders to reproduce small groups, and yet they have yet to walk through the process themselves. If you want to see this happening in the groups your leaders lead, it needs to be happening in your group (whether you lead or not).



Got any others lies about reproducing?

Pippen & MJ Reunion!


This pic is from a skybox at the United Center last night.  I went to the Bulls game last night along with some staff and board members from the Institute For Community.  This is a great group of people doing some great work!!  Our mission:  “to help people build quality relationships where you live and work through the power of genuine community.”  Our first project is in Romeoville, Illinois with the HighPoint Community and we have two future projects in LaGrange, Georgia and Hayden, Idaho.

In addition to good company and great food it was also Scottie Pippen night and they retired his #33 and raised it to the rafters.  MJ was in the house; Rodman was also there and since they played the Lakers so was Phil Jackson.  Most of the old Bulls team was there for the ceremony.  My hunch is that if the old Bulls dressed they could still beat the current Bulls by about 10.