This week I'm starting a series called "What Kind of a Church Would..." to let you know some stuff that is going down at Granger Community Church this summer.
I begin with a decision we made to begin meeting in a casino in LaPorte County, Indiana -- a community about 45-minutes west of Granger. You may have read about this decision last month when we launched our initial meetings in the Blue Chip Casino. Here is the backstory...
In early 2008 we announced the plans to launch three new sites by the end of the year. Before the words were even out of our mouths, the recession landed in our area with a roar and we were facing over 20% unemployment by the end of the year. We were still able to get the Elkhart site up and running, and it continues over 400-strong every week. But before we were able to get site #2 and #3 off the ground, we had to buckle down and ride out a tough recession that included layoffs, severe budget cuts and many people leaving the area to find work.
Our resolve to continue to reach our region had not diminished, and last year we began planning toward our next site. Through a series of what can only be described as "God-idents" (that's the opposite of "accidents"), we determined our next location to be the county to our west. We discovered over 80 families were making the 45+ minute drive regularly, and more than 400 families had visited from the county in recent years.
As we began to look for a place to meet, one door after another was closed. And that's when we inquired at the Blue Chip Casino. Strangely enough, they had never rented a room to a church. In fact, no church had ever inquired.
So, what kind of church would meet in a casino?
- A church that is more interested in reaching the not-yet-convinced than the religious.
- A church that wants area churches to know, "We aren't after your attendees!"
- A church that truly believes culture can be redeemed.
- A church that believes people really matter to God, and sees an opportunity to impact the Casino staff members and customers.
- A church that believes the telling of Jesus hanging with drunks, prostitutes and thieves wasn't just a nice story.
- A church that has stated, "We will exist for the unique transformation and elevation of the neighborhood, city, village or region where we are located."
What are your thoughts? Would you go to a church meeting in a casino?