The Story of Connections Church
Imagine what it would look like to connect with people who are far away from God, turned off to church, think truth is relative, may struggle with addictions, isolation, and have lost hope that there is a single savior to heal the ills of our world. Imagine what it would be like to build relationship with people like this who become so inspired that they discover their passions, and, want to reach out to the world around us in mission as we together serve breakfast to the homeless, clean up a park or sweep someone’s porch, or bring clothing and goods to children and their families holed up in Orange County motels?
This is the vision and call of Connections Community Church: to be a missional minded church connecting with people at a heart level and finding out where God is already at work. God has called us to reach people who are radically separated from God, missing from our places of worship, love them, and build relationship with them. Our prayer is that through this they might find relationship in Christ, become radical ambassadors for Him, reach out to the world around us, and help change lives. Our venues will be from The Improv, Irvine, to gambling casinos, bars, clubs, parks, beaches. We will “go” as Jesus did among the people.
Research data shows that 6 million people are unchurched.
Why now? We are called to do this in this place and time in Orange County, California because time is short and research data shows that 6 million people are unchurched. Not only that, but, God has shifted our personnel and drawn together our current core group of six people for such a time as this, and, has so gifted us that we have the people skills, organizational and ministry skills, and the burden to reach out to souls described herein. Our team includes: Mr. Stephen W. Taulbee, Pastor of Recovery and Christian Education; Mr. Sam Dobbins, Administrative Intern and Youth Leader; Ms. Michelle McCord, Team Leader for Business and Marketing; Ms. Yvette Davis Russe, Social Media and Networking Intern; Ms. Meg Parsons, Recovery Ministry; Dr. Saundra J. Taulbee, Lead Pastor, Administration, Small Groups, and Preaching.
Our philosophy is a sense of belonging.
Our philosophy is we want to draw people into our small group(s) so that they experience a sense of “belonging before they believe”. We will gather together regularly around a meal at pastors’ home following a mission outreach for the day where they can raise questions, doubts and share fellowship. Our hope is that some may begin to wonder: “Why are we doing this?” . Our response will be: “Because this is what Jesus would do”.
Over time as God leads, people will be shepherded into groups for discipleship and/or recovery. When we reach a critical mass of 25 or 50 people we will gather together for a weekly corporate worship celebration in a warehouse yet to be found. Our hope is that people rich and poor, red and yellow, brown and white will come, raise hands together and sing to the Living God who makes himself known to us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Our history and our mission.
Our brief history reveals that God birthed Connections Church in May 2009 in Menifee, Ca where we met and worshipped for a year and a half. At that time our group consisted of 4, Tom and Peggy Nowell who drove every week from Mission Viejo to worship with Stephen and me. During this time the Lord led us to pray about our mission and focus. We searched the scriptures seeking God’s direction. One by one we shared. The consensus was that the Lord was leading us elsewhere. This was confirmed by the passage the Holy Spirit quickened to my heart: Acts 16, where Paul describes having a vision of a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us”.
What happened next.
We began to vision that Macedonia in our 21st century context would be a place with diverse people, near industry and colleges, a center of commerce and trade. This was Irvine. The rest is history, except to say that Tom and Peggy so believed in the vision that they were our benefactors for Stephen and I to make the move to Orange County, until Stephen could draw out retirement money to repay them within 30 days.
Connections is a 501C3 nonprofit organization. We receive donations to develop funding to pay intern salaries, and ultimately operate our own faith-based community counseling center offering sliding scale fees.