Dirk Elliott reports good news. Sycamore Creek has a seven-campus vision. It’s third campus will be added on July 1, when the adoption of Asbury UMC in Lansing becomes official.
Director of Congregational Vibrancy and Leadership Development
“Seven campuses, worshipping seven days a week.” That is the God-sized vision Sycamore Creek has claimed. And what a vision!
Sycamore Creek, a new church started in 2000 by the Rev. Barb Flory, met in a school during its early years. They now have their own building, purchasing the former Lansing: Calvary UMC in 2014. Many people in the Michigan Conference are familiar with “Church in a Diner” and “Church in a Pub,” two of Sycamore Creek’s earlier campuses.
“Church in a Pub” closed at the beginning of the COVID Pandemic. The congregation added their second campus by adopting Potterville UMC in 2016. And now, they will add the third campus on July 1, 2022, when the adoption with Asbury UMC in Lansing becomes official. At that time, Sycamore Creek Church will be one church in three locations.
The conversation between Asbury UMC and Sycamore Creek started in the fall of 2021. At that time, the Mid-Michigan District Superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Jerry DeVine, called Tom Arthur, Lead Pastor of Sycamore Creek, to see if Sycamore Creek would be interested in discussing the adoption of Asbury.
Many meetings and discussions followed. The Church Council from Asbury met with the Sycamore Creek Vision Team several times. Leaders from both churches met individually to discuss specifics of how the adoption would work. The finance teams met to have a clear understanding of the financial situation of both churches. They held separate and joint Town Hall Meetings to share the vision with the congregations and answer questions. The Asbury Church Council provided outstanding leadership for the Asbury church, helping the members catch this new vision of their future. Finally, on March 12, 2022 both churches voted to become one church.
After prayer and discernment, Tom Arthur will become the campus pastor of the former Asbury Church, now called Sycamore Creek: Eastwood Campus. Tom and Sarah and their family will move into the Asbury parsonage. The South Lansing campus will receive a new pastor to lead that campus, while Tom will continue to serve as the Lead Pastor. This all is a big change for Tom, who has served Sycamore Creek for 13 years.
Asbury’s current pastor, Jon Pohl, helped move the adoption forward and had already integrated many of the systems used by Sycamore Creek into the Asbury Church. Jon will be taking a new appointment in the Michigan Conference.
The plan is for Asbury to have a “Celebration of Ministry and Life” on July 31 to celebrate the legacy of the Asbury Church. The church will then be closed for remodeling, and the people from Asbury will attend one of the other Sycamore Creek campuses. They will build relationships with Sycamore Creek folks, learn the Sycamore Creek culture, and join Sycamore Creek small groups.
January of 2023 will begin the pre-launch phase. People will be recruited to become part of the Launch Team, with special training on connecting with the community. Public preview services will be held monthly starting in May, with weekly canvassing, networking, community meetings, and come-back social events. The official launch of the Eastwood Campus will be on October 1, 2023.
The Michigan Conference now has eight congregations that have adopted a campus. Adoptions are a great way for churches to partner, sharing resources and strengthening each other.