In 1998 Community Christian Church went multi-site and at that point in time there
were only a handful of churches in the entire country that had more than one location. We not only started a second site, but a third site and continued to reproduce. We will reproduce our ninth site this year. And we are the only church that is currently offering training for how to reproduce locations. Today, most of the largest churches and most innovative churches are multi-site churches.
In 2007-08 we are going to become the first church that I know of in the country
to be not just multi-site, but poly-site! Not just a church with multiple sites, but a church with multiple kinds of sites. I’m convinced that we need all kinds of
churches to reach all kinds of people. And I want to give you permission to
start your own church!!
While 80% of Chicago was not in church this last weekend, I’m pretty sure that about 1/3 of the people who live in Chicago will not come to the kind of church that we have created. For a variety of reasons they will not. It might be style. It might be fears. It might be something from their past. It could be a host of other reasons and
But what if we went to them?!? Jesus said “go into the world”…not “bring the world to us”…right? What if we started churches…small little communities that practice the simple 3C’s (celebrate, connect and contribute) where we work; in our neighborhood; at coffee shop / local hangout; where you workout or play in some league.
Alan Hirsch told me a story that gave me the vision for how we can do it at Community Christian Church. A guy by the name of Shawn Tunstall had been a Christian all his life, grew up in church but had a not-so-positive experience, not because of church, but because he was ADD and dyslexic, which makes sitting through church rough which is why I’m on stage, at least the ADD part, people tell me. Ya think? So Shawn gave up on church, and started using his Sundays pursuing his love of water skiing.
The first Sunday he went out with two of his non-Christian buddies and just before he was about to put in, he got an attack of the guilties. So he says, “Guys, I’m Baptist and I’m feeling guilty for not being in church today, so do you mind if I read a bit of Scripture first?” The guys seemed a little uncomfortable, so he read the shortest Psalm he could find (he knew the short ones well because he was dyslexic). Then he said “We Baptists pray for needs, so anybody got any prayer requests?” One guy said he was unemployed and the other guy said his grandma was in ICU. So Shawn prayed for the guy’s job, and the other guy’s grandmother, and then asked God to bless the day and the boat and then they went skiing.
The following Sunday the two guys brought a bunch of friends, and Shawn did the same thing with Bible and prayer. But this time he said, “We Baptists like to see if there are any answered prayers.”The one guy said he’d gotten a great job, and the other guy’s grandma had been released from ICU. At that point he asked if there were any other prayer requests. All these hands went up. They prayed, asked God to bless the day, and went skiing.
They now do this weekly and there are more than 60 people who come out, have breakfast, read a bit of Scripture, pray for each other, take up an offering to give to the poor, and water ski. And they bring spare parts so if another boat breaks down, they can help out. Shawn says of this experience “I think I accidentally planted a church.”
I’m not sure it is fair to call this an initiative because I only want to see about a 5-6 of these started in the next year so that we can all learn from them. These alternative communities of CCC that will not come to our weekend service; instead they will do all 3C’s out there. They will report in monthly at Leadership
Community with their progress and we will learn together. Why? We need all kinds of churches for all kinds of people…to help people find their way back to God!