RELIGION TODAY: Area churches unite for more impact

South Valley's new "multi-site revolution" adopts a unique

It is hard for a modest-sized church to do all it wants to do:
present quality worship services, support foreign missions, provide
spiritual development for its members and impact its local
community with God’s love. Financial and human resources go only so
far, and something has to be neglected.
It is hard for a modest-sized church to do all it wants to do: present quality worship services, support foreign missions, provide spiritual development for its members and impact its local community with God’s love. Financial and human resources go only so far, and something has to be neglected. Recognizing this fact, hundreds of churches across the country have entered into multi-campus mergers that allow them to better focus their resources to reach their goals.

For nearly a year, Gilroy’s South Valley Community Church has been pondering this “multi-site revolution,” becoming one church meeting in multiple locations, sharing a common vision, theology and staff budget. On Sept. 18, four congregations will launch “One Church: Many Locations,” a unified ministry to better meet the needs of South Valley residents.

Besides reaching more people for Christ, the multi-site approach will:

– Bring together the best aspects of large and small churches

– Encourage members to invite friends, family and neighbors to attend a church in their own communities

– Increase options of worship locations and service times

– Allow for different expressions and innovations in ministry

– Improve stewardship of funds and other resources.

SVCC, The Kelton Campus at 8095 Kelton Drive, meets Sunday mornings at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m.

Incarnate Faith (iF campus) was established more than a year ago as a congregation of younger members who enjoy a more intimate and casual worship style. It holds services on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the Castlewood Professional Center at 7777 Wren Ave. in Gilroy.

The Hispanic Campus is a congregation of Latino members who meet at the Kelton Drive location, holding services in Spanish at 6 p.m. on Sundays. Begun several years ago, this ministry has continued to grow and is now ready for an equal partnership.

The Hollister campus was founded independently 10 years ago as Hollister Christian Fellowship; it meets at 2350 Technology Parkway, Unit A, and Sunday service time is 10:30 a.m.

With the new multi-site model, there are new roles in leadership and ministry for each campus:

– Teaching pastors are gifted preachers and teachers, challenging people to grow in Christ.

– Campus pastors are strong at shepherding, caring for people and helping them advance the mission of God

– Executive pastors have strengths in administration, planning and executing. They lead in maintaining alignment while supporting each campus.

Don Skow is the founder of Hollister Christian Fellowship. After 10 years of trying to meet the needs of his congregation alone, he is looking forward to working under this new model.

“It will allow me to concentrate on shepherding and nurturing members, the area I’m best in,” he said. “The congregation will benefit from the additional resources now available, separate people to focus on areas like preaching and finances.”

The launch date for this new way of doing church is Sunday, Sept. 18. The campuses will celebrate their merge by beginning a five-week series called “unleashed,” designed to help people understand how to make a difference in the world.

On Oct. 16, the church will celebrate “Compassion Sunday.” After a brief gathering at the Kelton site at 8:45 a.m., church members will head out to do service projects in the community from 9 a.m. to noon. Projects will be done in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and Hollister. The residents of these communities are welcome to join in and can contact the church for more information.

Among the locations to be served are the following:

– Live Oak Adult Day Services

– DreamPower Horsemanship

– City of Gilroy Demonstration Garden

– Public parks in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, and Hollister

In addition, each participant will be encouraged to bring a new or gently used jacket or coat to donate to the area’s homeless. For more information call (408) 848-2363.

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