As of July 31, 2011, Coram Deo’s Sunday gathering will move to a new location.
Just to be clear: it’s the Sunday gathering that’s moving. Coram Deo is not moving. Coram Deo is a people, not a place. The people of Coram Deo will gather in a different place on Sundays from now on. But they will continue to live coram deo – “before the face of God” – in their everyday life in the city. They will continue to remember that all of life is worship, and therefore all of life is sacred. Church is not what we do on Sundays. It is who we are – the called-and-sent people of God.
We began as a movement of missional communities in 2005. We brought those missional communities together for our first Sunday gathering on November 27, 2005, at 1316 Jones Street in the Old Market. By Easter 2007 we had outgrown that wonderful inaugural venue and moved a few blocks southeast to the Grace University chapel building. For the past four years, we’ve called that chapel “home” on Sundays. We’ve preached countless sermons there, released our worship album there, hosted conferences there, baptized people there, commissioned church planting teams there, and endured sweltering summer Sundays without air conditioning there. We have grown attached to 840 Pine Street. We could easily slip into thinking that it is Coram Deo.
But it is not Coram Deo. We are Coram Deo. And God continues to grace our mission in the city such that we need more space to facilitate the gathering of the church, the worship of God, and the proclamation of the gospel. We currently max out Suckau Chapel with an average Sunday attendance of 500 adults and about 100 kids. That venue just isn’t working anymore. Grace U made it official by terminating our lease this summer (could it have been something I said?).
So, in the providence of God, Coram Deo’s Sunday gathering will move into the brand-new performing arts auditorium at Westside Middle School (8601 Arbor Street) on July 31. The logistics will stay the same as they are now: two Sunday morning services, 9 AM and 11 AM.
A move like this is a good opportunity for me to reiterate our vision. We’re thankful to have cheerleaders and supporters in other churches throughout the city. If you love Jesus, we love you. We’re thankful for you. We’re glad to share the same Savior, the same Bible, the same creeds. If you want to come and celebrate with us in our new space for a Sunday, you’re welcome to.
But don’t “hesitate between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21). If you’re interested in joining our mission and humbly learning how to be a gospel missionary to your city, then jump on board. We’d love to have you. But if you already belong to a Bible-teaching church… we’d encourage you to stay there. If you surmise that the preaching and worship at Coram Deo’s Sunday gathering might be better than “Church X”… you are possibly right. But that’s a bad reason to come. Because we’re not a place to show up on Sundays. We’re a people, transformed by the gospel, on mission with the Lord Jesus.
Here’s another way to put it: our church is made up of missional Christians; Christians who are learning to be missionaries; and non-Christians. If you’re in any of those categories, you’ll find Coram Deo to be a great community. Especially if you’re a skeptic, a doubter, an agnostic… this church was started for (and by?) people just like you. Welcome.