Home Articles & Excerpts Christ Community | Champaign, IL

Christ Community | Champaign, IL

  • John Elliott
  • May 6, 2015
  • Series: Church Profiles
  • Categories: Church Planting Articles, Latest News

Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church

The short version is that me and two good friends from college wanted to devote our lives to making disciples of Jesus Christ and came to the realization that church-planting was a great strategy for doing so. So we planted Christ Community with the prayerful hope of disciples making disciples, missional communities planting missional communities and, eventually, our church planting more churches. I continue to labor toward that end. 

How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?

Two pieces of advice:

  1. Go after your "dream team". We did so and many said no. But others said yes, some of whom surprised us. You just never know how God is moving in people's lives.
  2. There's no such thing as over-communicating to core team members about the vision of the church and their specific role in pursuing that vision. Conflict often emerges when people's implied expectations are not met. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?

As leaders, we failed to slow down long enough to properly care for our own souls. 

What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant? 

Seek counsel from Godly people around you whom you know and trust. Church planting is not something you want to wander into unless you're all in and trusted counselors are confirming that call.

What’s the most important thing you’d want to share with a new church planter?   

Don't make it about you. That's something we all know in our heads, but our flesh betrays us at every turn. You will experience joy and peace in ministry to the extent that you truly believe your identity is secure in Christ and not dependent upon your performance in ministry.   

How do you pastor your family in the midst of starting a church?


Protecting a weekly sabbath (that isn't Sunday) has been huge for us. Every Friday we rest, reflect and enjoy time together. It was a challenge for me at first, but the fruit has been more than worth it. My wife and I also did some marriage counseling early on in the life of our church that put our family on a much healthier trajectory.   

Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?

"Dangerous Calling" by Paul David Tripp. It's not explicitly about church planting, but it addresses the greatest temptation that church planters face--putting our identity in ministry performance instead of Christ. I wish I would have read it years earlier than I did. 

Church Profile: Christ Community
Launch Date: September 2011
Location: Champaign, IL

Mission, Vision, Values of Church 

Christ Community exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ who are receiving God's love in the gospel, sharing God's love in community and extending God's love on mission. This DNA gets expressed as we lead weekly renewal gatherings and empower a growing number of missional communities. In light of our university town context, we embrace the opportunity to win young leaders to Christ, build them up in the gospel and send them out to be witnesses all over the world. 

What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?

God has been so faithful to plant, grow and care for our church, even when we as leaders had no idea what we were doing. HIs constant faithfulness in spite of our faithlessness and cluelessness (at times) is a huge sign of his grace.  

How can we pray for you?

Pray that I'd faithfully follow Jesus into costly discipleship as I invite our people to do the same. 


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