“Seven years ago when I arrived I made a conscious choice that I was going to love
these people and I have loved them, and loved them, and continue to love them.”
This is how Senior Pastor Chad De Jager begins his answer to the question, “Has this past Covid-year been your toughest to date?” And this is hints at a uniqueness of Christ Community Church in Lemont, IL. So many senior pastors speak of 2020 as the most-difficult year of their ministry lives, but Chad chooses to begin to talk about his love for this congregation, and how he desires to build a place that leads with love. This church of 350 seeks to live and love like Jesus, and this commitment begins at the top. Chad has put in some hard work to help the staff team grow in health and love for each other. “We’re in a really strong spot, and a place of health, and I don’t want to screw this up with this next hire,” says Chad. Being an optimist who never stops seeing potential, Chad is looking for the type of leader who wants to buy in and build a ministry.
About the Church and Area
Christ Community is a church that is rooted in the Reformed Church of America (rca.org) and sees itself as neither left nor right in this movement, but intentionally in the middle. “We are committed to the RCA and we’re going to live in that tension in the middle,” says Chad.
It gathers weekly in a multi-purpose gym that doubles as the sanctuary with basketball goals hoisted out of the way. Young kids run the halls as the church is reaching young families in the surrounding communities. Averaging about 350 pre-COVID, it is a multi-generational church with all ages in attendance.
Lemont is a suburb of Chicagoland. Surrounded by forest preserves and large trees, one would never know they are a short 25-minute drive to the heart of downtown Chicago. Light rail services the area as well.
About the Ministry
The worship ministry is anchored by a 4- or 5-piece band and a couple of singers. On occasion axillary instruments or a small choir are used for variety. The congregation sings songs of lyrical and theological depth and integrity.
There is a part-time music associate who is an organizer, vocalist, and pianist who will prove to be helpful for whomever takes this role. She is carrying much of the worship leadership in the absence of a full-time person.
Challenges and What is Next
There’s a sense amongst the team that a new level of recruiting, onboarding and training is going to be required to move the ministry forward. While there is a solid rotation (almost two complete bands and tech teams) of individuals, more equipping will be required for the future. “We’re looking for a skill set and some warmth,” says Chad, “loving people and serving people will go a long way at CCC for the next worship pastor.
A great candidate for CCC will be one who:
// love of people and pastorally minded
// leads modern worship, but appreciates all musical styles
// engages the congregation in singing vs. a high presentational style