By Jim Nieman
The Christian Church world is bigger than Goodyear, Ariz., and Refinery Christian Church is taking steps this year to ensure their people know it.
Inspired by visits to other churches while he was on a recent sabbatical—when he began collecting T-shirts from those churches—lead pastor Chad Goucher decided that this year he would introduce Refinery Church to the ministries of Christian churches and colleges from across the nation during their weekly “giving moment.” The plan is to introduce one church or college each week throughout the year.
“We are a ‘small c church’—we’re just a church,” Goucher told Refinery Christian during a giving moment from January. “But then there’s a ‘Capital C Church.’ That’s the bride of Christ, the global body of Christ—Christ followers, many of whom are worshipping right now at the same time we are.
“This year, we want to make that very visible and very tangible,” Goucher continued. “And so . . . in these giving moments . . . we’re going to talk about and we’re going to celebrate another church, a ‘Capital C Church.’ And we’re going to thank God for what he’s doing in them, and encourage them, and lift them up in prayer.
“When we do these things, it unites us with the body of Christ.”
That particular day, Goucher highlighted New Vintage Church in Escondido, Calif., and their lead pastor, Tim Spivey, and Tim’s wife, Emily. He showed pictures of Spivey and NVCC and explained some of that church’s history, all while wearing a New Vintage T-shirt.
The ministry leader who presents the giving moment each week wears the highlighted church’s T-shirt. And when Goucher presents the giving moment, he also preaches in the sister church’s T-shirt.
Some of the other ministries highlighted thus far include Christ’s Church of Flagstaff (Ariz.), Journey Church (Jackson, Tenn.), Pantano Christian Church (Tucson, Ariz.), Great Lakes Christian College (Lansing, Mich.), and Mt. Pleasant Christian Church (Greenwood, Ind.).
A SABBATICAL IDEA
During that recent sabbatical, after Goucher asked for and received a baptism shirt from a church that first time, his wife, Malisa, was curious. She asked, “What are you going to do with that?”
“I told her I didn’t know, but I asked for a shirt at all of the churches that we visited, and all of them were very generous,” Goucher said. “While driving, I thought about how we could take this experience home with us so that our people could know about other churches and what they are doing. That led to thinking about how we could do that and support and pray for these churches.”
After returning from sabbatical, Goucher “sent out a message to the churches that are a part of The Solomon Foundation and told them what I was doing and asked if they wanted to participate.” Dozens of them did so, and he now has about 45 church and Christian college T-shirts.
The people of Refinery Christian Church have responded “in an amazing way,” Goucher said. “They love the fact that we support other churches and are not looking at them as ‘competition.’ . . . It has changed some people’s view of our church. They see it as much more kingdom-minded than ever before. We have also seen an increase in in-person giving during these moments.
“The response has been much more positive than anticipated. It has created a ‘freshness’ and an ‘it’s not about us’ attitude in our people that was totally unexpected.”
A map is helping to link folks from Refinery with the featured churches.
“This will allow our people to visit sister churches as they travel and also get an idea of the Restoration Movement churches,” Goucher said. “That has been very valuable, and we have already had several people use it in the first two months of it being operational.”
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.
Great idea, Chad! Thanks for your encouraging heart.
I think this is a great idea from one of the most innovative pastors I know. Also, I love seeing that Mount Pleasant Christian Church t-shirt! Thanks, Chad, for taking a positive and tangible step toward unity and connection!
I love how Chad leads us and gives us the bigger picture view!
Thanks for praying for our church!