TrueNorth's third campus will open doors in Illinois
TrueNorth Church will truly move north when it opens a third campus church in Decatur, Ill., in January.
The new location, Hickory Point Theaters, is in keeping with the church's mission to reach people who don't want to attend a traditional church.
Since its inception four years ago, TrueNorth Church has held services in the gymnasium at North Augusta High School. In January, it expanded to include a campus in the auditorium of Augusta Preparatory Day School in Columbia County.
A band will provide worship music in Decatur, and lead Pastor Steve Davis will deliver the message Jan. 11 via video.
His brother, campus Pastor Shane Davis, will direct the rest of the service.
Steve Davis said the church aims to meet people in places that are comfortable and familiar. He wants people to feel accepted in an environment where they are free to be themselves.
"We would rather take the church to where people are," he said. "We're excited about doing it in a theater."
The theater will open at 1 p.m. Sundays. Davis said a setup team will begin at 7 a.m. each Sunday. Tear-down will be complete by noon, in time for the theater to open for regular business.
The decision to expand to Davis' hometown of Decatur came through a series of discussions with his brother, who was a student minister at a Decatur church until he resigned last month to be the pastor of the new TrueNorth branch.
Steve said Shane noticed his former church's growth came more through members switching churches than from bringing in new Christians, and he wanted to do something about it.
The theater's location near a mall will increase the church's visibility and draw more attendees, he said.
The biggest challenge will be coordinating production and re-creating the same environment from the parking lot to the seat.
Though each church campus will assume the personality of the pastor who leads it, Steve said, he wants each campus to feel like one church.
"It's kind of like when you walk into a Chick-fil-A," he said. If you've seen one, you've seen them all.
"When you walk into a TrueNorth Church, you know what you're going to get," he said.
Though the church has about 600 members, Davis said 1,200 to 1,300 people attend services each week on the two campuses.
North Augusta Campus: North Augusta High School, 2000 Knobcone Ave., 9:30 and 11:11 a.m.
Columbia County Campus: Augusta Preparatory Day School, 285 Flowing Wells Road, 10:10 a.m.
For more information, visit www.truenorthchurch.com.