All About Our Move to WT Elementary
Starting on November 8, we will begin meeting at the Withamsville-Tobasco elementary school (WT, for short).
In this blog post, I wanted to give you some more details about this move and try to answer as many of your questions as possible.
First of all, if you are new to Connect, you may be wondering why we’re moving. There are a few reasons.
Room to Grow & Consistent Schedule
First of all, we have outgrown our space at the hotel. That’s an awesome problem, but it’s still a problem. It’s hard to invite your friends to church if you’re not sure where they’re going to sit. At WT, we will have a ton of room to grow.
We also face a very inconsistent schedule at the hotel. We are often bumped from our normal meeting time. The schedule at the school will be consistent, which means no more moving to evening services. Consistency is huge when it comes to sustaining growth.
And at the hotel, we often have to navigate around other groups who are using adjoining rooms. We deal with distractions, room changes, etc. We’ll be the only ones at the school on Sundays, which eliminates this problem entirely.
Another question may be about the location. WT is located on State Route 125, right off of I-275. That makes this an ideal location for us. For all the folks coming from Bethel, Amelia, etc., it puts us right on 125. And it’s proximity to 275 makes it super easy for people who are coming from other areas. Geographically speaking, if we could handpick a spot for our church to meet, this would be it.
Focused on Ministry
But isn’t this another portable location? Yes it is, and we’re good with that. The reason we’re good with that is because this keeps our costs low and our focus on ministry high. The West Clermont school district has made a huge change to the rental fees for their facilities. It was once too cost prohibitive to rent the school. But with these changes in place, we’ll be paying almost exactly what we’re paying at the Holiday Inn right now! And that means that our budget can stay focused on ministry and not on facilities.
The other plain fact is that finding a permanent facility that will meet all our needs is just not that easy. It’s not like there are a million places to choose from. We’ve looked, and there just isn’t much available right now. That doesn’t mean we’ll never move to a more permanent location. It just means that this isn’t where God is leading us right now.
What to Expect
So what is the WT facility like? It’s a beautiful school that opened in 2010. The cafeteria has a big permanent stage, which is where we’ll hold our main services. Connect Kids will meet in several different rooms in one wing of the school. The flow of the building works very well with how we operate each week.
So how does a school become a church? The same way that a hotel does. We will use playpanels in the kid’s areas, and pipe-and-drape in the cafeteria to transform a school into a place to worship. And if our team has proven anything, they’ve proven that we can make church happen anywhere!
Why this Move?
But maybe the biggest question is why? Why is the school a great place for us to meet? The simple answer is that it positions us to further carry out our mission. We exist to connect people to Jesus Christ by leading them into a growing relationship with him. We absolutely believe that the school positions us to do that with greater effectiveness. We’ve already noted that we’ve run out of room at the hotel. At WT, our attendance ceiling is raised BIG time.
And there’s something about meeting in a school. It provides us with a natural serving connection. We want to serve the families of WT, and the entire West Clermont district. We’re going to be looking for any and every way to serve them that we can possibly find. When someone in the district decides to visit a church, we want to be the first one they think of.
A ton of different doors had to open for this to work for us, and we couldn’t have opened any of them ourselves. They were all opened for us, which is why we believe that this is exactly where God is leading us.
Following Our Mission
If you’ve been part of a Connect for a while, you know that we are not afraid to take a bold step so we can pursue our mission more aggressively. And we’re not about to back down now. Our church is not about a building. We proved that when we left a building that we owned to meet in a hotel. And we’re embracing it again as we turn a school into a church.
With everything that is in me, I believe that God is opening up a new and exciting season at Connect. The best really is yet to come!
Mike Edmisten is Senior Pastor at Connect Christian Church.
Connect Christian Church currently meets at the Holiday Inn Eastgate hotel in Eastgate Ohio in Clermont County — a church near Amelia Ohio, Batavia Ohio, Anderson Ohio, Milford Ohio, and Cincinnati Ohio.