Bel Air Campus Re-launch
What are we announcing?
We are so excited to announce a BIG MOVE for our church – the RE-LAUNCH of our Bel Air campus in its new home … the Arena Club! As part of an innovative new partnership, our Bel Air campus will soon begin to gather in a newly renovated Arena Club space.
The goal is to launch publicly with worship services in our new location on Sunday, May 7 – but this is somewhat contingent upon technology upgrades, construction schedules, etc., so stay tuned!
And regardless of the launch date, the preparations begin NOW! We all need to be praying, dreaming, planning, and recruiting DOZENS OF NEW SERVANT LEADERS – like YOU!
The short answer is that we believe this move will help us in our mission of making MORE AND BETTER DISCIPLES of Jesus Christ!
We believe that this creative new partnership with The Arena Club will result in all kinds of ministry opportunities – including many that we haven’t even envisioned yet.
And it will immediately move us way further down the field in the following ways:
- Midweek presence
- In addition to continuing to meet in homes and restaurants around town, we’ll now also have the ability to meet during the week at the same place where we worship on Sundays.
- Commons / lobby / gathering space
- One of our more significant challenges in The John Carroll School space has been the lack of a good place to gather before and after worship services. That problem goes away with this move.
- At The Arena Club we will be able to store all of our supplies on-site, so time and energy that we have been giving to hauling and additional setup and tear-down can now be redeployed in other ways.
- We will now have permanent, 24/7 signage – as well as regular inclusion in the digital sign – on Hwy 22, helping us spread the word of the existence of the MCC Bel Air Campus to thousands of more people every week.
- So much more! For example:
- More capacity for future growth
- Incredible potential for special events
- Growth of Student Ministry presence at our campus
- Expanded MCC “footprint” – moving a little over 3 miles further “out”, expanding our radius
- Separate spaces for Mtn Kids
- Same room for worship every week
We don’t know all that God will do through this move, but we are confident that it’s going to be amazing!
Why not just buy an existing building or buy a property and build our own building?
We were open to, and actively pursued, these options diligently and prayerfully but we simply never got to a place of peace about buying a building or property. God has brought us that peace about this partnership with The Arena Club.
We’ve worshipped at The Arena Club before. Will this be the same setup/experience as it was then?
The short answer is NO! Slightly longer version: Heck no! No way! By no means! Absolutely not!
Our lease agreement with John Carroll has always specified that once or twice per year, they were allowed to host other events on their campus which would necessitate our meeting elsewhere. Most of those times, we have met at the Arena Club. When we have met there in the past, although it has always been an overall very fun and positive experience, it has been an über-temporary setup with even more setup and teardown work, and even less of a sense of permanence than what we had at John Carroll.
With this new arrangement, all of that will change. We’ll have an amazing LED wall screen just like we have at our Mountain Road campus. There will be permanent sound and lighting installations and a permanent stage. We’ll black out the exterior windows. Just like at all of our other campuses, there will
still be some setup and tear-down work – but all of our storage will be on site. We will have an office and you will see our logo on some walls and signs and Mountain groups will be utilizing different spaces throughout the week. We will have permanent signage. And we will be upping our hospitality game in many ways.
Again: We always enjoyed our times meeting at The Arena Club before, but this is going to be totally different and way better! It will feel 100% like Mountain, and we’re confident you’ll want to invite all of your friends and neighbors.
What’s in it for The Arena Club? What is the specific arrangement?
This will be a lease agreement where Mountain is granted certain spaces at certain times, officially. And, beyond that, we are just kind of “moving in” and “making ourselves at home” with a desire for this to be a mutually beneficial relationship.
Mountain hopes to make more and better disciples of people in Bel Air, Forest Hill, Churchville, Darlington, Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, and the surrounding areas. And we hope to be a blessing to Arena Club members and staff, whether they choose to be part of our church or even believe what we believe or not! We will seek to be a blessing without being a nuisance, and we will work hard not to interfere with the normal, excellent experience of Arena Club members.
The Arena Club is at an exciting time in their history, having just built a new Sports Factory building and created another partnership with athletic trainer Chip Smith. (This is part of why the possibility of leasing some space to Mountain became an option.) The Arena Club, of course, hopes to grow their business, adding members and programs and quality to all that they do. If some Mountain folks also sign up as member of the health club, then great – but there will be no pressure to do so! Keith and Kathy Rawlings, owners and leaders of the Arena Club, are Mountain members who model their life and business off of what they learn as growing disciples of Jesus. They want their health club to be a place where people can find resources and support for getting healthy in every way – not only physically but also relationally, emotionally, and even spiritually. And they see Mountain’s increased presence as a great way to do that..
Has this type of partnership been done before? Are there any other churches that meet in health clubs?
One of the exciting new developments in church leadership and multi-site strategy is for churches to form creative partnerships with different kinds of businesses to share space and accomplish Christ’s mission in creative ways that are mutually beneficial. We are excited to partner in this way with another kingdom-centered organization, The Arena Club. With regard to the health club partnership, specifically, there are some other churches doing that. We already have some connections with one of them, called New Life Christian Church, in Chantilly, VA (DC area). Theirs is a very different arrangement than ours will be, as they actually own and operate the health club (called NZone). But we look forward to visiting them soon and learning whatever we can from them that might help us to do this well.
What about our relationship with John Carroll? Did something go wrong? What are our plans going forward?
First, we want everyone to know that there is nothing wrong with our relationship with The John Carroll School! The partnership and mutual affinity between MCC and JCS are as strong as ever, and there was no negative event that precipitated this change. For the past, nearly seven years, Mountain’s Bel Air Campus has met on Sundays at John Carroll, and it has been, overall, a great experience. Hundreds of thousands of times, people have walked into the JCS building to attend a Mountain worship service, and time after time they have met God and been loved, encouraged, and challenged. More and better disciples of Jesus have been made as we became, and realized that we really could and should be, a multi-site church.
There are many different approaches to being a multi-site church, and for the last seven years, we’ve made great strides in fulfilling our mission through a “portable church” model for worship services week after week. This, of course, involves a lot of time and energy that goes into hauling and extra setup and tear-down that could be deployed in other ways. Well, now we can redeploy those people and redistribute that energy! And when you factor in all the other reasons mentioned above, we are really excited to move into a less portable and more permanent situation that we feel offers some new opportunities to accomplish our mission as a church.
So, though it will no longer happen every week, Mountain Christian Church and specifically the Bel Air Campus look forward to continuing to partner with The John Carroll School in creative ways in an effort to build Christ’s kingdom and make more and better disciples!
What is the financial impact?
The financial impact to Mountain is that, due to our increased building usage and access, our lease payment will increase over what we’ve been paying to John Carroll. A big part or what this means is that we, the Bel Air Campus, will have to grow! And we are confident that we will.
The financial impact to John Carroll is that they will at worst break even, replacing the income they received from Mountain by hosting sports tournaments and other events that our partnership has precluded them from accepting – and at best they will actually enjoy increased overall income from these new hosting opportunities.
Who will lead this effort?
The MCC Bel Air Campus will continue to be led by our current staff team, which is:
And this team will continue to be led and held accountable by the elders and senior staff leadership team of Mountain Christian Church.
How can I help? How can I get involved?
So glad you asked!!!
We are approaching this re-launch in many ways just like we would a brand new campus launch. It’s time for MANY PEOPLE to step up and be welcomed into serving and leading roles!
Please consider re-upping at what you are currently doing and/or stepping into a new role in one of the following areas:
Welcome / Hospitality
Mtn Kids (birth through elementary)
Mt. 54 (4th and 5th grade)
ECHO (middle school)
Collide (high school)
Young Adults (age 18-29) ministry
Worship / Technology
“Glocal” (global + local) serving
Groups (small and/or midsize)
Medical emergency response team
Video / Photography
Pastoral care / counseling
Spanish language ministry
Contact someone on the staff team and stay tuned for upcoming vision events and training events in order to get involved!