If you are reading this blog post, you probably know that Church isn’t about four walls. But sometimes, I think we have a hard time actually making that happen. What would it look like if the Church was actually “anywhere?”
Over the last four years at First Capital Christian Church, where I get to pastor, we have seen an incredible philosophy shift happen where our people have begun to truly grasp the idea of “Church Anywhere.” We saw it start with a digital expression of our worship services, but then it morphed into something we didn’t see coming. We saw our people use our Digital Church model and morph it with our Physical church model. We saw our people be “the Church” outside of the walls of First Capital’s broadcast campus and we have seen God move in a mighty way since then.
18 micro-site locations. Average of 651 people gathering together to worship with our online material. 171 baptisms in 2019-2020 (so far) off site. God had really shown up in a HUGE way.
You can hear more about our story here:
- Podcast 004: Tyler Sansom and Church Anywhere (Small Church, Micro-Locations, and Church Online)
- Podcast 017: Stories from Church Anywhere
- Podcast 018: Randy Kirk, Church Anywhere, & Not My Kingdom
- Podcast 019: Church Anywhere & Discipleship
So how do you even begin to this philosophy shift? All I can tell you is how we did it.
- We got to a point where we realized that our mission statement, “To Help People Find and Follow Jesus,” was not “To Help People Find and Follow First Capital.” Once we made that shift in our minds, allowing people to go out and do ministry was much easier. But we had to get to the point that we were okay with people not coming into the building. Maybe you are in a position to begin that shift at your church, but if not….it is worth a conversation with your senior leaders. Feel free to use our story as an example of what God can do!
- Let people follow their passions. We realized that the current generations, specifically millennials were more attracted to “causes” and passion than they were the traditional church model. So we decided to use digital mediums and digital church services to help people find and follow Jesus through their passions. For example, one lady was passionate about kids in the foster care system. So we helped her establish a micro-site at a local youth shelter…where she and her team have baptized five family-less kids in the last year. Another couple is passionate about homeless people and had already established a homeless feeding ministry. They approached us about starting micro-locations at two homeless shelters, so we helped! They baptized 15 homeless people last year! When people are unleashed to follow their passions for kingdom work, and we use technology, or whatever medium we can to help them…amazing things happen!
- Just make an ask. We have started several micro-sites in neighborhoods by simply finding social people and asking them to host watch parties at their houses. Usually, those end up including a meal and lots of social interaction! During the first week of this COVID-19 crisis, we encouraged our congregation to have watch parties and MANY of them followed suit. People want to help the local church; most of the time they just need an ask.
One of my favorite stories from “Church Anywhere” over the last few years has been Steve and Lori Carpenter’s story. They fit the bill on all three of the above points. They were our very first neighborhood micro-site and we had simply asked them to do church in their home using our Online Services. It went pretty well for a while following the traditional church model, but Lori and Steve are passionate for helping special needs adults, so we encouraged them to follow that passion! Now, they are volunteer campus pastors (our language for Church Anywhere leaders) for a church of about 15-20 faithful special needs adults, workers, and parents. They are helping people find and follow Jesus, Anywhere.