St. Charles Christian Church is a 60 year old congregation that has been through its share of transition. Ten years ago, with dwindling attendance and an aging and sprawling campus, the congregation made a difficult decision: they chose to sell the church building to a local non-profit. They took a leap of faith and moved to a much smaller, modern building in a new neighborhood on the outskirts of the city of St. Charles, Missouri. This development, aptly named “New Town”, is a New Urbanist neighborhood (think Seaside, Florida) in the corn fields, smack dab in the middle of the rich farmland that serves as the convergence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.
This was the ultimate leap of faith for this formerly vibrant and bustling faith community that, at that moment, had a lot more heart than they had members.
Those first years were challenging. Through constant dialogue, much forgiveness and flexibility, a commitment to a ministry that was stronger than the struggles…and the renewing and refreshing grace of God…we now find ourselves a rapidly growing hub of fellowship, family and faith in this diverse neighborhood and in the greater community as well.
It seems we have been in a constant state of prayer around here. Prayers for guidance, prayers for understanding, prayers for forgiveness, prayers for courage, prayers for leadership, prayers for stewardship and many - so many, prayers of thanksgiving.
Now, God’s vision for us is starting to become crystal clear. We have thrown the church doors wide open and are working as disciples to show the love and encouragement of our Creator to believers, seekers, those with questions, those with concerns and those seeking community.
Each and every day here at SCCC is a study of going beyond our membership to welcome others into our safe and loving family. This place is not quiet. We have reinvented “sacred space” to be the place where the work of welcome and encouragement lives. There really aren’t any spots in this home that aren’t regularly moved around and used to their full potential. Here are a few examples:
- During the school year our children’s Sunday School rooms are used on a daily basis for Preschool, Parents Day Out Programming and MOPS activities.
- In summer, we are busting at the seams with youth. We partner with a local daycare that uses our sanctuary, narthex and the entirety of New Town to provide Camp Glory, a day camp that is home to over 60 elementary-aged children. We host a Preschool Day Camp two days a week for nine little ones. Additionally, we have an average of 15 middle school youth who come over to get out of the house and hang out with friends with our Ignite Middle School Day Camp. There they have fellowship, do mission work, go on field trips and make weekly visits to the neighborhood pool.
- Our Service Team and Disciples Women are in constant Mission Mode hosting year round food drives, two blood drives, appreciation events for first responders and other creative and community building activities.
- The broader community joins us each November to pack hundreds of boxes to send overseas for Operation Christmas Child. Our goal this year is 1,000 boxes that will share the message and love of Christ with disadvantaged children around the world.
There are so many things to celebrate here. We could go on for pages. Most importantly though, we are overjoyed that we get to be God’s hands and feet daily here – in a variety of ways.
It’s a very good day here at St. Charles Christian Church. We invite you to check out our website at www.stcharleschristianchurch.org or contact Pastor Chris Franklin at email@example.com.
Story by Susie Pundmann, St. Charles CC Youth Director