Mission Viejo (CA) Christian Church recently lost a deal on property essential to the growth of their facilities. While the church leaders prayed for the expansion on that plot for years, Minister Mike Maiolo credits God for leading them away from the financial commitment knowing the pandemic was looming. Read about it here: cdf.capital/mvcc. What the church didn’t know was how God would work through them to shift into new opportunities.
American churches across the country have pivoted in the wake of COVID-19. Church services are streaming online. Mission teams have been bombarded with community needs like never before. Children and student programming was cancelled. Church leaders are left wondering what will happen when the pandemic is over.
Mission Viejo Christian Church is finding clarity and purpose as they minister in southern California.
“Pretend we're not able to meet on Sunday mornings for 2 more years.”
Youth Summer Camp
Shift to Simplicity
“What COVID-19 has forced us to do is keep things simple,” Maiolo explains. “Our church is more focused on the Gospel than ever before.”
With stripping church operations down to a bare minimum and increasing community engagement during the Spring of 2020, Mission Viejo found itself being more about Kingdom business.
“I went into a leadership meeting and told our pastoral staff to pretend we’re not able to meet on Sunday mornings for 2 more years,” Maiolo recalls.
What would that look like in the life of their congregation?
Shift to Community Engagement
One of the discussions in the meeting that day was about house churches. MVCC’s vision was fine-tuned to making disciples. The church empowered their life group leaders to pastor, rather than simply be small group facilitators. The house churches gained traction and more people were being discipled through them.
As the house churches grew, the desire increased for the return to large group gatherings. Coming together to celebrate what God had been doing was something the leadership team knew they had to figure out.
Outdoor Service on the Grounds
Shift to One Service
In June, Orange County began allowing outdoor gatherings. Because MVCC has a large outdoor grass space, Maiolo and his team knew the opportunity to accentuate what the church had been doing in their life groups was at hand.
“We’re having one service. I wanted everybody to be together,” Mike reports. “If we were doing multiple services, people would not be together. We’ve had more people get baptized in the last 3 months than we’ve had the entire last year.”
Though the pandemic and not purchasing property the church wanted so badly has dramatically shifted MVCC’s vision, Maiolo has learned a few things.
“Number one, get back to the simple,” Mike reflects.
Maiolo has watched MVCC respond to being simple, while making meaningful impact within the communities where church members have influence. There is a newfound fervor in folks to be more about Kingdom business.
“Second, love people where they are. Just love them. Third, we’re definitely on mission to get everyone to the cross.”