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Q/A Regarding Move to Live Oak Cinema

Questions and Answers Regarding Moving to Live Oak Cinema

On Sunday, August 2 I announced during worship that we have signed a contract to move our worship gathering from St. Matthew’s to Live Oak Cinema beginning at 10am on Sunday, September 6. I hope to answer many of your potential questions about our decision in this Q/A. If you have other questions, please call me.

Q: When are we moving?
A: Our first week in the theater will be September 6 (Labor Day weekend!). We will gather as a church and do two “trial runs” in our new space on Sept. 6 and Sept. 13. Then on September 20, we will “re-launch” in our new space. This is exactly what we did at St. Matthew’s, for those of you who were there for it. Mark out September 20 as a date to invite everyone you know to worship with us!

Q: Why are we moving?
A: We need space - more of it and better suited to our church life. That means room for our growing congregation, a building that better fits our worship and outreach goals, and a more beneficial and strategic time slot. We have been praying for months that God would provide us with a worship facility to rent that will enable Christ Church to continue to grow in maturity and in numbers and to honor Jesus Christ. We have been at St. Matthew’s for 16 months and the Lord has blessed us there tremendously. But it was never intended as a permanent or even long-term rental arrangement. While we could continue at St. Matthew’s for a while longer, wisdom tells us the time to plan and execute a move isn’t after we’ve exceeded our facilities and stalled our growth. Already our children’s ministry space is filled nearly every week and often feels cramped. We don’t yet fill the sanctuary every week (though we will be getting there), but the capacity that’s left isn’t really useable or inviting. These buildings were just not designed for our size or how we are using them, let alone our anticipated growth. Live Oak Cinema is a much larger, more visible, well-located, and better-known space than St. Matthew’s. It is also more comfortable for de-churched and unchurched people that we really want to reach.

Q: Why Sunday morning?
A: A huge benefit of the move is it allows us to worship in the morning. But that's not because the time before noon is “more holy” than the evening! Morning worship is a valuable tool for our church to make our reach both more penetrating (deeper relationships) and wider (appealing to a broader section of our community). For many of us, it was a nice change of pace to sleep in on Sundays. But families have school and work early Monday morning. After a Sunday evening worship service, families are tired and already thinking of the busy week ahead. Sunday evening can be quite a challenge for those with small children or who have heavy responsibilities awaiting early on Monday. Finally, moving to Sunday morning is a wise decision in our cultural context. People expect church to be on Sunday mornings. So in a place like San Antonio, holding a morning service puts a church on the “radar” of many more people, especially busy families. It affords better opportunities for hospitality and loving community to meet in the mornings.

Q: Why a movie theater!?
A: Great question! Especially if you have been in church for a long time, renting a movie theater for a worship service is odd. I get it. But there are a lot of advantages to worshipping in a space like this. First, the theater is a very well-known public space located in the heart of our target area. Anyone in a 10 mile radius in any direction knows exactly where this theater is. That is a huge asset. Second, the rental price per square foot is significantly less expensive than any other potential space. Schools in the SCUCISD district do not rent to churches; strip mall space is extremely expensive due to proximity to I-35 and 1604; and we are not yet old enough or stable enough financially as a church to execute a multi-million dollar property acquisition and building campaign without taking on crippling debt. Third, it is a large space that more than doubles our seating capacity. Fourth, it is acoustically superior to our current set-up at St. Matthew’s. Fifth, it is a place that non-Christian people routinely frequent and thus will feel more comfortable walking into than into a 50-year old Episcopal church building.

Q: Where will my children go in a movie theater?
A: This might have been the first question for many of you, and you’re right to think that way. Families are a big priority for us. This rental agreement provides abundant room for our children’s ministry, with two theaters dedicated just to our kids. Our nursery and 2-3 year olds will occupy one theater and our 4-6 year olds a second. We will transform the front space of the theater each week into a colorful, clean, well-designed fun environment for our children to be in during church. The space in between the theater screen and the front rows is actually much larger than all of our current kids’ classrooms combined. We are very confident that this space will be secure, safe, fun, and enjoyable for your little ones. Our Director of Children’s Ministries, Catherine Sage, along with the rest of our staff and some volunteers, are working on the set-up for kids right now.

Q: How will we do set-up and take-down?
A: The set-up and take-down work will increase from what it has been at St. Matthew’s. However, the good news is that the theater is allowing us to store 100% of our equipment and materials behind the movie screens of the theaters we will be in. So, we do not have the burden of hauling all of our stuff in a trailer every week, unloading it, setting up, loading it back in the trailer, and driving it to a secure location. We also will do almost all of the set-up in an air-conditioned building and will not have to take everything up and down stairs like we do at St. Matthew’s. Our Director of Worship & Arts, Daniel Duce, is going to take on the role of plotting out our set-up and take-down procedures along with the help of other volunteers. Daniel has spent years “doing church” in a movie theater, and he is perfectly qualified to work in this aspect of our ministry.

Q: When will Christ Church DNA meet?
A: Christ Church DNA will meet at 7 pm on Sunday evenings rather than 10 am on Sunday mornings at the Christ Church office.

Q: How can I help?
A: We are very excited for God’s provision of a new space for our young church. He has been extremely gracious to us and his hand has led us every step of the way so far. We need you and want you to be a part of what God is doing here. In particular, do three things: First, pray. Thank God for his guidance of Christ Church to this point! Pray for God to bless our work and planning as we make this transition. Pray for many people to hear about our new meeting place and visit. Pray for conversions. Pray for our staff as they work hard to think about doing everything in a new location. Second, give. We are in a very healthy place financially, yet our expenses will increase with this move. If you are not giving regularly to Christ Church and you call us your “church home”, now is a great time to begin doing so. Giving a tithe of your earnings is one of the main marks that the gospel is at work in your heart. Third, serve. In particular, we need any man who can walk to be willing to serve on the set-up and take-down team. This is also something women and youth can help with - especially in the Children’s Ministry and Welcome areas. Email Daniel (danielduce@mac.com) or Sara (sara.reimer@christchurchsa.com) to sign up. Sweating and working together will be a great way to build community as men in our church and to serve those whom we are trying to reach.

Q: Will this change Christ Church?
A: Yes! And no! Of course any transition of this magnitude will bring change. The Sunday experience will definitely “feel” different - a new venue that is in some ways the polar opposite of St. Matthew’s will do that. Our opportunities and our visibility in the community will change. Our work-load, commitment level and finances will change. But, our vision is not changing. Our commitment to proclaiming the gospel is not changing. Our commitment to building loving community is not changing. Our commitment to missional living is not changing. Our worship style is not changing. Our discipleship process is not changing. Our theological position is not changing. In fact, we believe that our new space will actually enhance and further all of these commitments and principles. And most importantly, our God is not changing. He loves us and he is going to build his church. He is faithful to us and he is for us in Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit is leading us to fulfill the Great Commission, to worship in Spirit and truth, and to love one another as ourselves. I hope you are excited to be a part of the continuing journey of Christ Church…

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