Building for Community Impact: Community Christian Church Plainfield
Community Christian Church, a dynamic, growing faith community whose mission is “helping people find their way back to God,” launched a new multisite location—Community Christian Church Plainfield—in 2016. Recognizing the need for an innovative space where people could connect and the community could embrace its love for athletics, Community Christian Church Plainfield, the location for the 2018 Alignment Conference, embarked on a complete renovation of a former manufacturing plant with the help of Aspen Group, an integrated design-build-furnish company for churches.
Learn how to create Third Place spaces in your church where people can deepen their relationships with God and each other.
Building a Community Church
This adaptive reuse project included converting approximately 47,000 square feet of former office and manufacturing space into high-impact worship and ministry space for the church. An open lobby welcomes new guests and provides clear wayfinding to every area of the expansive building, including a brand new 900-seat auditorium, a safe and secure children’s area, and a second-floor student ministry area.
The new infant though kindergarten space is spacious and accommodating for parents trying to shuttle kids and strollers to different rooms.
“There are a lot of safety factors that went into the children’s space, and I think people have thoroughly appreciated that,” says John Ciesniewski, campus pastor for Community Plainfield.
Upstairs, the student space for first through fifth graders is laid out as a hub with a theater and open large group space encircled by breakout rooms.
“The kids and student spaces are in the best location we could have,” says BT Norman, executive pastor at Community Plainfield. “The theater in the middle and breakout rooms surrounding is fantastic. It creates an amazing space.”
Sportsplex and Event Center
Beyond the church area lies a new, state-of-the-art Sportsplex and Event Center. This unique two-story, 45,000-square-foot indoor sports center includes six volleyball courts, four basketball courts, and a multipurpose flex sports area, all featuring Porter Athletic Equipment and Connor Maple Floors. The main floor courts are flanked on one side by upper-level studios for yoga, dance, music lessons, and performances.
According to Ciesniewski, Community Plainfield shares the same mission and vision as their sending church, Community Christian Church-Yellowbox.
“We built the Sportsplex with the community in mind. We’re doing community meetings, we have a performing arts center in the building six days a week using dance studios and classrooms,” he says.
For the Common Good
The Sportsplex is connected to the church by The Commons, a unique, open relaxation area that redefines the experience of participating in and watching youth sports. Equipped with soft seating, work areas, large video displays, and free Wi-Fi, this space offers parents and fans a place to relax and work, while their athletes participate in practice and learning sessions with the professional teaching staff of Breakaway Basketball, powered by Under Armour, and other coaches.
“We named the lobby The Commons because we wanted it to be the place where the community gathers,” says Ciesniewski.
Other major offerings of the multisport complex include Futures Basketball and Club One Volleyball. The Sportsplex also has dedicated space for nurseries, childcare centers, and youth zones. Community Christian is continuing to explore ideas for expanded use of the facility along with opportunities for additional community partnerships.
An estimated 1,400 people were at the Sportsplex for its grand opening on June 17, 2017. Five hundred kids participated in training camps, and only two days after opening, a 32-team tournament drew nearly 1,000 people.
“Anyone can create a gym; anyone can create a community center. But not everyone can create an experience for the entire family. That is what makes Plainfield’s Sportsplex so unique; that is the reason people will be drawn to this place,” says Joe LaPaglia, executive director of Aspen VIP.
The new Plainfield Sportplex is much more than an event-hosting facility. It’s a place where people can explore the arts and faith, take lessons, have moments of respite, or connect with friends. Truly, people of all ages can find a place to be involved.
“We wanted to create a spot in our community where people wanted to be,” says Norman.
A Place for Community
The church’s hope of helping people find their way back to God is already being realized as this multisite location has already become a hub of activity and connection for the Plainfield, Illinois, community.
“You can’t miss the building,” says Norman. “60,000 cars per day see it. Since opening the doors of the church on December 21, 2016, we’ve seen about 2,500 new church attenders come through the door, and our overall attendance has grown from about 850 to between 1,700-1800 on average,” he says. “It's up nearly 50 percent since we opened.”
No matter which doors people enter through, at Community Christian Church Plainfield, they’ll know they’ve come to a place designed to connect with community and God at a deeper level.
About Shannon Jirik
Shannon Jirik is a former intern at Aspen Group and a graduate from Olivet Nazarene University. She serves as the Executive Assistant & Marketing Coordinator for Kristin and Danny Adams Entertainment in Indianapolis, Indiana, and as a strategic contract marketer for Keyhole Marketing.