On Wednesday, March 11th, Matt came home from a networking meeting and said a colleague had an insider tip that the school districts in the area were about to close their buildings to all external reservations. Concerns about COVID had been mounting exponentially by the day and, understandably, local schools were trying to do all they could to reduce exposure in their buildings. Experience Christian Church had been gathering weekly at Exton Elementary School since early November. Exton Elementary School was the only physical space we had for gathering; we otherwise work remotely.
We quickly pivoted to online services, streaming to multiple platforms, developing a team of people to interact with and engage our community online. We shifted all of our other gatherings – community groups, prayer opportunities, staff meetings and more online as well. It was critical for us to maintain as much connection as possible with our church community and the greater Exton community.
Our mission, when we could meet physically, was to help people experience God’s love in a practical way. Our mission hasn’t changed! Our new challenge is to fully fulfill that mission in a primarily digital world. Our team continues to wrestle with this! Surely having a building is helpful and easier, but is it essential? In our context, no, its not. We do miss physical gatherings and look forward to a time when it is safe and appropriate to add that back in; but physical gatherings are a conduit for our mission, not the mission itself. Even in our digitally-focused approach, we have been able to connect meaningfully with families burdened in so many ways from this pandemic. We have supplied food for local families in need, worked together to gift $5000 to the West Chester Food Cupboard, crafted masks and supplied an ice cream night for those at the CC Youth Center. That’s the work we are here to do and now we have learned new tools with which to do it!
As leaders, we all know there is nothing easy about leading a company/non-profit! For Experience Christian Church, having a building makes things easier, but it is not essential. We are thankful for this opportunity to reevaluate who we are, why we are here, and how we can serve our community – even in ways that aren’t easy. If you would like more information or if there is anything we can do to serve you, please connect with us as www.experiencecc.org