Starting a New Campus
Second Campus Church Adoption of Union Church
As we look to expand our reach in the city that God has called us to, we want to be sure to share God’s story of how it all has come together. The following is a list of questions that have been asked in the process of discerning the opportunities of expanding to a second campus. There are details about finances, facilities, staffing, and some more business centric questions included. While these are important aspects of the discernment process, we want to be sure we are seeking God in what He is doing and where He is moving above all things. The most important part of this process for us is to see God’s hand on every step and His people walking in unity throughout. This particular church has been around since the early 1800’s, I can only imagine that saints of long ago are in heaven seeing their prayers be answered continually. The prayer is that the gospel would shine bright in this area of Taunton until Christ returns to bring us all safely home.
#1. Why Whittenton/ North section of Taunton?
For the past 6 years we have been praying over this area of Taunton. Pastor Matt, along with a few other men, spent 2.5 years prayer walking the city of Taunton and they were continually led to Whittenton. We have held outreaches in the parks and have been led to this area specifically. The Whittenton area of Taunton is the most densely populated area of the city and has approximately 10,000 people living in a 1.5 mile radius of Union Church. We have seen great receptiveness to the gospel and relational ministry in this area. Many of the people who live in this area don’t drive and/or are not familiar with where East Taunton even is. There is a great need for a church that is part of this community. We have received a great amount of feedback and excitement from residents in the neighborhood and in the city about the prospect of CCC having a location there. There is a ripe harvest that God has prepared, He is calling up workers.
#2. How did this come to be?
Union Church’s previous pastor has been working with Jim Harrell and Overseed ministries for the past 4 years. He had also been a part of a cohort led at CCC by Pastor Matt and Jim Harrell, as a partnership with Overseed. The previous pastor took another full time, pastoral position in January and left the church. Union was down to 14 active members and had to decide to close or become part of another church. They have a heart for Taunton and Whittenton, so they wanted to join with a church who was active in reaching Taunton. Union reached out to Jim Harrell in early January and the idea was proposed for Union to join CCC. The members of Union voted on January 31st to pursue the joining of CCC and to take a time of prayer and discernment. CCC hosted a zoom webinar on February 4th to share the vision, opportunity, and to also pray. CCC has been providing in-person and online services at Union for 6 weeks as a way to bless them, regardless of the outcome. Union ultimately was deciding whether to close and let a 170 year old historic church become something else or to continue being a church. The men and women who built Union church all those years ago started with the heart to reach their area for Christ and we know that this is a continuation of those prayers.
#3. Are the Elders in support of this?
Yes. In fact, for something to be brought to a membership vote we must have consensus among the Elders. Here is what each of the Elders has to say:
“I believe this is an answer to prayer, and God continues to affirm it through the unity of the Holy Spirit within both the CCC and Union body” – Pastor Matt
“I am very excited and see this as an answer to many prayers and much ground work in the community. It is also very exciting to see many of the details and logistics come together so quickly, so well, and so aligned. I am encouraged and excited to see what God has in store.” – Chris Dubay
“I am excited about seeing another historic church choose to pursue health, even though for them it means embracing a new identity for the sake of the gospel. Union Church was planted years ago to be a light to the Whittenton area of Taunton. This adoption of Union by CCC enables their local gospel witness to continue for years to come. It is a joy to watch God so clearly lead CCC and Union down this path.” – Jim Harrell
“It never ceases to amaze me the way God works. Union Church’s presence in Whittenton and CCC’s heart for the people of the area coming together is exciting, humbling, and has been a tangible reminder to me that God has bigger plans for CCC than I can imagine.” – Erik Hohengasser
“It is in times like these that we get a chance to see a glimpse of how God is working in all things. To know that so many years ago, He knew that this day would come; that the seed planted by the founders of Union Church would continue to bless the people of Taunton all these years later, and at this time it would have the opportunity to join with CCC to continue serving our community. God is moving in Southeastern MA” – Matthew Mansfield
#4. What is the vision for another location?
As a church, our vision and mission is to branch out and raise up disciples and leaders. We follow a clear focus of Reaching people, Raising them up in Christ, and then Releasing them out to Reach more people for Christ (the 3 R’s). We are not looking to start another location for the sake of saying that we are multi-site or out of ego. We are following the leading of the Holy Spirit and going where God is already working. God has already been raising up a team to serve in this location.
#5. Is this the right time?
This is a good question. It may be easier to say that we still have work to do at our main campus and we should wait until everything is squared away there first. Truth is that there will always be work to do and improvements to be made at the main campus, and every church for that matter. We are actually in a good place with our staff and teams. We will not be stripping the CCC teams and leaving them short in order to staff the North campus. We will be sending members from several different teams and supporting them with our current staff.
As in our own faith journey, above all, God’s timing is not always ours. We do see Him orchestrating His plan with the availability of people and the gifting of each person. This will be something that stretches us. If we want to grow, we have to allow ourselves to be stretched.
#6. What does it mean to adopt a church?
In this case, Union is giving us their property and monies and will become part of CCC. We will be caring for the current members of Union, and they will be invited to be a part of our CCC family. Union will become a part of CCC.
#7. What assets will Union church be donating?
Union will be donating the church building, parsonage, and their current account balances. This is approximately 1 Million in property value and $57,000 in cash. There are no mortgages or liens on the properties. We have already performed title searches on both properties with the help of Paula Schlosser, a member of the Financial Advisory Board (FAB) at CCC. In addition to this, there is a monthly income of $1,600 per month from the lease of the parsonage.
#8. What liabilities are there to assume?
There are no liabilities as far as debt or salaries. They pay property tax on the parsonage as it is rental property currently. There are some updates that need to be made to the church building. (see #12)
#9. What is the risk?
Worst case scenario the risk would be this church location for CCC does not succeed and we are left to decide what CCC does with the property. In addition, there would be property maintenance costs of an older building. Currently it is in good structural condition overall.
#10. How will we staff it?
This is an answer to prayer and further affirmation. We intend on placing a full time campus pastor at this location. Over the past few years, Tom Mello has been leading the Mid-City ministry which includes preaching, training, caring for people, and leading the team. Tom was high on the list for this role. God worked it out that Tom is taking early retirement May 1st 2021! In addition to this, Tom will be volunteering his time to CCC for the first 6 months, which will be a tremendous help financially. Tom and Patty are both are long time members of CCC. Tom has served as an elder and is in line with CCC’s vision and mission. Tom is also very coachable and teachable, he is a caring, confident, humble leader. Patty has served in many places at CCC and has a gift for caring for souls, women’s groups, and general ministry. There are also 20 or so other gifted people who are praying about being a part of the launch team. (see #11) God is truly moving in mighty ways! Every time we have been led to someone to invite to the Launch Team, it has been an affirmation of what the person had already been praying about. The Spirit is moving!
#11. What will the process look like launching a new campus?
This is a very concise overview and has many more details to it:
We are actively recruiting a launch team that will commit to serving at the North Location for at least 1 year. We have been identifying people who have a heart for this area of Taunton and the right gifting for starting a new campus. Training and preparation will take a few months. This time will be spent praying over the area, training on ministry mindsets and methods, and personal growth as a disciple. This is so that when we launch, our team is not only trained in their role, but prepared spiritually in the Lord.
We will want to have the facility up-to-date and laid out for ministry the way it is at the main campus. First impressions are vital to the initial introduction with new people. We want people to come into a place that is ready to minister to them, not come into a work in progress. This is anything from entryways, bathrooms, classrooms, and sanctuary chairs. (see #12 for more info) We will take some time to remodel and retool the facility while we go through the training process as a team. This will be a full functioning church with vibrant kids programs, youth, adult, and outreach ministries. This can also be a new homebased for Mid-City and will no longer have to rent space downtown.
Our focus is to reach people who live within 2 miles of this location. The vision of another campus will not work if we are merely parachuting people in from the main campus who don’t live in the area. We will invite CCC people who live in the 2 mile radius to make that their church.
Through the launch preparation time, we will be prayer walking the neighborhoods, having outreaches in the parks and at the church, holding open houses, promoting the launch date, having meet and greets to get to know people, and hear the needs that are present.
We will set a firm launch date and communicate the progress with the CCC body as we support this new endeavor.
#12. What is the initial cost?
There are not any absolute structural or mechanical costs. The roof will need to be replaced in 5-7 years upon further inspection by a roofing company. The furnace is 25 years old so it may need to be replaced soon.
The real cost is in facility upgrades in order that we can facilitate ministry effectively. There will be costs related to technology, flooring, bathroom renovations, classrooms, doors and windows, paint and minor cosmetic repairs, signage, promotion, ministry outreach, furnace, and some reserves etc.
The estimated initial cost is around $150,000-$200,000. This will be an opportunity for us as a church to give sacrificially to the Kingdom. As a church, some of the best growth years were years of raising money to build the main campus. In fact we raised close to $3 million dollars over a 14 year period. God did this through His people with only a few large donations. The average weekly pledge was approximately $50. In addition to this, there were thousands of hours donated in labor and thousands of dollars in materials donated. Many people came to faith and grew in their faith in the process. You have all given generously and we know CCC has a DNA of generosity. We know as we seek His Kingdom God will provide Matthew 6:33.
#13. What will the annual budget be?
Initially, the budget will be start-up costs. Once up and running, we will have an estimated annual budget of $150,000 including fixed expenses, salaries, and ministry costs. This is conservative, and we will be conservative in allowing the budget to grow as God grows it.
#14. What will the name be?
We have landed on a name that will identify it as a campus of CCC and honor Union’s heritage at the same time: Christ Community North, Union Campus
#15. Seems like this is a bit of a hurried process?
It seems like a hurry for sure! While the opportunity came to us quickly, we have been praying and seeking God for this area of Taunton over the past 6 years. So for those who were in this process, we received it as answered prayer and had a great sense of peace about it. The leadership at Union, upon hearing of our heart the area, also had the same sense of peace. Sometimes God moves slowly, or makes us wait, and then He often answers swiftly. We believe this was a bit of both; we prayed, ministered, sought the Lord, waited, prayed, and He answered. For those who were unaware of the work and prayer we have been putting into this area, it can seem totally out of nowhere for sure. While sometimes there is more time allowed to prepare the church body for certain things, Union Church was put in a position of needing to make a decision more immediately as well. For the teams that have been serving in this area and for the CCC people who live in this area, it was also an answer to prayer.
#16. How do the remaining Union members feel about the adoption?
The current Union members are excited about the joining of churches. Changes, of course, take some adjustment. The desire to see the church filled with people and families growing in their relationship with Jesus encourages them.
#17. How will we do services?
We will use a hybrid approach at the beginning. This means we will have a mix of live preaching and video preaching from the main campus. The worship and every other part of the service will be live.
#18. What ministries will be held at this location?
We will initially focus on starting with the following: Weekend services, children’s ministry both weekend and midweek, Mid-City, community groups, RDCL youth. Long term we would like to offer a recovery ministry, expanded mid-city ministry, and have an affordable after school program.
#19. How can I help?
Please pray for everything on this list and all involved; that it would be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. When pledge drives start up and work days are scheduled, please join in with us!