ABOUT US

 

 

Welcome to unapologetically positive,

judgement-free faith in Jesus.

 
 

3 simple values

 
We exist to share Jesus.
The faith Jesus started isn’t about judgment, rules, or guilt. It’s all about the good news that God eternally loves you, welcomes you, and taught us to do the same. We believe sharing Jesus and His message of love trumps everything.
(“Go share the Good News with all peoples of all nations.” -Jesus in Matthew 28:19)
 
We believe God deserves better.
Less boredom, obligation, negativity, and guilt. More creativity, joy, and difference-making… in our lives, our work, our families, our churches.
(“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and spirit.” -Jesus in Matthew 22:36-37)
 
We believe everyone is welcome.
No restrictions, no politics…period.
( “A new command I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, love one another.” -Jesus in John 13:34, Mark 2:17 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” -Jesus in Matthew 7:2)
 

Our Mission

Big Life C.C. offers real faith with real freedom for real people to make a real difference.
Welcome to unapologetically positive, judgement-free faith in Jesus.
 

Affiliation

Big life is an independent local congregation of PneuProject, and was helped to start by
 
 
 

church rules

We exist to share Jesus.

 
Which means we exist to share judgement-free faith. We agree to set aside our differences in individual faith journey, lifestyle, and political perspective in order to seek Jesus alongside one another with encouragement, positivity, generosity, patience, and humility.
 

“In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love.”

In essential beliefs – we have unity.
There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all, (Ephesians 4:4-6).

In non-essential beliefs – we have liberty.
Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?  …So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God,(Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22).

In all our beliefs – we have charity.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing, (1 Corinthians 13:2).

 
 
 

statement of belief

 
As members of the Christian Church, we confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God,
and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.
 
In Christ’s name and by his grace we accept our mission of witness and service to all people.
We rejoice in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in God’s covenant of love which binds us to God and to one another.
 
Through baptism into Christ, we enter into newness of life and are made one with the whole people of God.
 
In the communion of the Holy Spirit, we are joined together in discipleship and in obedience to Christ.
At the table of the Lord, we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ.
 
Within the universal church, we receive the gift of ministry and the light of scripture.
 
In the bonds of Christian faith, we yield ourselves to God that we may serve the One whose kingdom has no end.
 
Blessing, glory, and honor be to God forever. Amen.
 
 
 
 

ministry team

 

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Geoffrey Mitchell, M.Div., PneuProject Founder and Big Life Community Church Lead Pastor has spent over twenty years crafting skills and habits in his preaching that leads to tangible Jesus-following life change in people of all ages. A modern Apostle, he is able to preach congregants towards self-reflection, self-assessment, and desire to choose to follow the way of Jesus through baptism.  He has served the Gospel through teaching and baptisms of hundreds of adults while serving churches sized from 100-800 attendees. 
Geoff is also passionate about Texas Christian University football… as well as helping pastors learn the preaching skills and habits that translate to the life change of their congregations.  He works with small gatherings of pastors for training and conversation, planning for their specific ministry context, and ongoing mentor relationship.

For inquiries about baptism, and pursuit of the Gospel life, contact Geoff at geoffrey@pneuproject.org or 331-575-9105. 
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Kyle Singleton, PneuProject Minister of Discipleship and Spiritual Development is devoted to servant leadership.  A long tenure in managerial work gave him deep insight into human nature and motivation.  He has invested in Biblical teaching and training ministries, passionately serving congregations in teaching and group settings that focus on transformational life change.  Most importantly, Kyle is able to meet people where they are and guide them towards Gospel-focused life that is built on humility, self-reflection, and the guiding of the Holy Spirit in the way of Jesus.  
To invest in the process of Spiritual Development & Discipleship ministry in the congregation, Kyle is available for counseling, teaching, and insight into resources. Email kyle@biglifecc.org
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Chris Baker, Founder of INK 180, PneuProject Missionary has spent seven years serving the least of our society repair their relationships to self and God through intimate servanthood, prayer, and work.  Through hundreds of interactions, he has learned the humbling and powerful lessons of the missional life and has developed a passion for inviting Christians of all spiritual maturity into serving the least. 

Chris teaches groups and congregations all over the country the high calling towards Dangerous Faith, the Missional Life.  Contact chris@ink180 for information.

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Marissa M. McClure Mitchell, PneuProject Founder and Director has spent the years since coming to faith in Jesus starting ministries, worship services, and creative boundary-busting opportunities for people to encounter faith in Jesus.  She has developed skills in assessment, problem solving, and creative expressions of faith that have invited hundreds of people to follow Jesus… even when they thought it was beyond their capacity be part of religion.  Marissa communicates the irresistible Gospel through her skills in design, communication, the arts, music, and people management and development.  One of the most difficult aspects of modern church is starting new things, yet Marissa launches with success, excellence, longevity, and results. Email marissa@pneuproject.org

 Big Life C.C. History

Faith on the American Frontier

The tradition we come from is one of the oldest denominations born in the US – on the wild, 19th century frontier. In a massive outdoor festival in Kentucky, the Cane Ridge Revival, over 10,000 people found a new and fresh reason to pursue Christianity. It was faith that rejected denominational divisions and focused on faith in Jesus through personal independence and freedom.

Faith that is Free

Barton Stone, a minister and abolitionist wanted people to concentrate on the big things, Jesus as savior, and stop getting caught up in all the things that churches tend to get caught in, like denominational distinctions, traditions, and practices. He wanted people to have the FREEDOM to disagree on the non-essentials and the ability to focus their unity on the essential aspect of Christianity, faith in Jesus.
Within this free system, each Church congregation is fully independent, but the larger Church of the nation and world remains in community – built around the only belief that is central, faith in Jesus.

Faith with Reason

Alexander Campbell, wanted to build the Christian faith in a way that focused on Jesus, using individual insight and reason to distinguish between essential and non-essential aspects of faith. He believed each person could work out their faith questions through approaching the Bible for themselves, while focusing on the essential unity of faith in Jesus as a community of believers. He felt reason and intellect should never be in conflict with faith, but should augment faith.

Faith with Personal Freedom, Independence, & Unity

Stone & Campbell came together to unify their two movements characterized by the hope for Christian unity:
Christianity should not be divided, Christ intended the creation of one Church.
A number of slogans have been used this movement which are intended to express some of the distinctive themes. These include:
“We are Christians only, but not the only Christians.”
“In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love.”
The Denominational Church / movement they founded together was known as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), merging their two movements into one faith. This faith is defined by:
1. Personal Liberty – each person is responsible to choose and cultivate faith for themselves.
2. Congregational Independence – each congregation is fully independent in all aspects of ministry.
3. Christian Unity – all believers are united in their central belief in Jesus as Savior.
Additional habits of this faith tradition include:
1. Baptism of believers as Jesus was baptized – at an age of personal decision through immersion under water
2. Celebration of the Lord’s Table through Communion that is open and available to all who believe in Jesus
3. Equality and personal responsibility of believers
Big Life Community Church is a congregation in formation, becoming a new, fully independent church of this movement.

Faith that Values Mission, Equality & Education

Eureka College was founded in 1855 by a group of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) abolitionists who had left Kentucky because of their opposition to slavery. When the school was founded, it was only the third school in the United States and the first school in Illinois to educate women on an equal basis with men. It educated and prepared students for missionary work.
 
Abraham Lincoln spoke on campus in 1856. President Ronald Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932 with a degree in economics and sociology, and the college has continued to be closely associated with his legacy. In 2010, Eureka College was designated as a national historic district by the United States Park Service. It still functions as a liberal arts college.

PneuProject

“Real faith for real people with real freedom.”

PneuProject is a spiritual mission that exists to start large, creative churches, that share Jesus with people who don’t go to church. PneuProject believes that welcoming, inviting, and including people to experience faith is the first step to them building their personal relationship with God, and giving God better with their lives. Building invitational faith opportunities is one of the most important works of the Church.
 
PneuProject takes a fresh look at Jesus, removing judgement, politics, and exclusion from the religious experience, returning to the faith Jesus started that is all about radical, world-changing love, authenticity, creativity, and community. It’s real faith for real people with real freedom.
 
PneuProject’s first local congregation is Big Life Community Church, launched September of 2012 in Oswego, IL. The goal of PneuProject’s first local congregation is to create a large, vibrant, reproducing church, many of whom are baptized or return to faith through its ministry work.  This congregation will include missionaries, artists, seekers, and will be defined by its focus on Jesus, servanthood, creativity, and generosity.
 
PneuProject is a new project built to share faith in new ways, named from pneuma, the Greek word for breath, wind, and spirit, used most frequently to describe God in the New Testament.
 
PneuProject’s launch was funded in majority by the New Church Establishment Committee of the IL & WI Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Big Life C.C. was started by PneuProject and is a fully independent congregation, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) movement.

Big Life Community Church

Big Life Community Church was launched in Oswego, IL in September of 2012. It is a congregation that expresses the history on which it has been built.
 
Big Life C.C. is judgement-free faith, built on taking a fresh look at faith in Jesus. In its one hour gatherings, Big Life C.C. encourages people to take next-steps in their faith through unapologetically positive faith, faith for the other 6 days of the week.
 
Big Life Community Church is Gospel faith, big table faith,  big tent faith, where people can gather and be encouraged in their faith in Jesus regardless of politics, personal faith history, or lack thereof.  Big Life C.C. follows the teaching of Jesus to love, share, grow, welcome, and reject judgment.
 
Big Life Community Church measures success by the life change of the people affiliated. Big Life C.C. baptizes people choosing faith in Jesus – many for the first time, or the first time in a long time. The people of the church are responsible for their own faith, with encouragement from the church, to be growing in generosity, invitation, mission and positivity over the course of the weeks or months or years they had been connected to faith through Big Life C.C. and the ministry of Jesus.
 
The impact on the community includes mission ministry INK 180, Young Life, Wyld Life, foundation of the Oswego Special Needs Prom, Home & Farm Artisan Market, as well as the servanthood of individual believers to causes and organizations they believe advance Jesus.

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not sure where I stand politically; is Big Life Community Church liberal or conservative?

Big Life Community Church is neither… or both.
“As an essential ethos, PneuProject and the Christian Church upholds the right and necessity of each individual to freely grapple with faith and life issues.”
We exist to share Jesus. His life & teachings are paradigm-shifting, life-changing, and challenging.
But very intelligent, committed, and compassionate people don’t always agree on where faith in Jesus leads politically! It isn’t that they lack conviction in what Jesus lives and teaches – not at all. Some simply feel that faith in Jesus leads them to believe and vote in alignment with Republican positions, while others feel led to vote Democrat, or Independent, or Libertarian.
Here is where we are hardliners: Jesus.
1. Jesus welcomed everybody. He got very angry with religious insiders who felt they could determine who was in, and who was out with God. Yet he welcomed even those leaders when they would choose to come to learn from him. So everybody is welcome at Big Life Community Church; sinners, hypocrites, the judged and the judgmental.
2. Jesus commanded us to love each other. He didn’t command us to like everything everybody did, nor did he command us to only love people we already like. He commanded us to love one another as He has loved us, through relationship, service, and sacrifice. We exist to share Jesus’ message of love.
3. Jesus asked for everybody to choose Him. He revealed God to men & women, ‘sinners’ and religious leaders alike… and so should we. He asked us to love God with our whole mind, heart, and spirit, and so we strive to give God better.
So if you are looking for a church that offers simple answers of liberal or conservative political purity, we would love to help you find that church – but we are simply not it.

How can different perspectives/ beliefs be included in a single church?

Big Life C.C. is part of a 200 year old tradition that was formed on the American frontier by people fed up with denominations and factions separating Christians based on habits, dogma, and preferences. They wisely decided that faith in Jesus should be central and first – that any other belief would fall far secondary to their focus on Jesus. They understood that people would, by nature, be forming their own beliefs and should have permission and freedom to do so as their faith in Jesus informed. However, unity and focus on Jesus must never be given second fiddle to any personal interpretation. A motto of the early movement, “In essentials, unity; in opinions, liberty; in all things love.”
As a church works to live it out, it means that in every gathering, whether of 2 or 2000 people, there will be independent individuals of many different personal convictions. As an essential ethos, big life uphold the right and necessity of each individual to freely grapple with faith and life issues (one of our mottos: “It’s faith with the freedom you deserve.”) Faith is always an individual decision & relationship between you and God. The church is a place of community, worship, and servanthood that brings individuals together to focus on Jesus.
So practically applied, even when individual pastors, teachers, worship leaders and believers may vocalize their personal ideas, they speak for themselves. Individual convictions, even when articulated from individuals holding positions of organizational prominence, should not be confused to override the unified focus on Jesus first, and the essential independent ethos of the church that places all personal conviction secondary.

Who leads at Big Life Community Church?

Servant Leaders lead. At Big Life C.C., those who God calls and equips to lead, lead. You will see women and men, young and old, those with advanced degrees and those who have learned through living, serving and leading with the gifts God has given them.
In a world where gender, credentials, and tenure typically define the hierarchy of leadership, we strive to follow the Jesus model of leadership. Leadership = service as God created you and I to serve. Leaders here are those who serve others, lift up others, and empower others to serve as God created.

Why is “Big Life Community Church” named the way it is, and why is it logo all small letters?

Jesus made a big promise in the book of John. He said, “I came to give you an abundant life.” (From John 10:10) In other words, Jesus came to give those who choose to follow Him a big life, overflowing in goodness.
But Jesus was also the master of the humble. He led through servanthood. He was called the least.
When we were working on the brand identity in the logo, “Big Life” or “BIG LIFE” did not capture the essence of this teaching. Humility is at the core of what we try to share: serving, loving, sacrifice, encouragement, as Jesus did. So we made the letters all small case. But the concept is REALLY big, Jesus’ message is the biggest, most abundant, richest words ever articulated in humanity, and that is our hope for the life of every person involved.
Following Jesus is an abundant, vibrant, dynamic, humble life. It’s a big life.

Does Big Life C.C. believe the Bible?

Yes, Big Life C.C. loves the Bible.  Every aspect of what we have created is built on Biblical foundations.  We believe the Bible serves as a unique compiled record of God’s interaction with people. It is the eye-witness account to Jesus’ divinity, good life, and world-changing teaching. We also believe that it gives testimony to the sort of interaction believers can expect to have with God’s Holy Spirit into present day.
Big Life C.C. approaches the Bible through scholarship, research, and study into ancient languages and culture in order to better understand the original meaning and intent of the scripture and how it applies to modern life.
However, we do the heavy lifting, so you can experience faith without the barriers of misunderstanding and confusion. Worship at big life presents the Gospel in easy to understand language using modern examples and stories, so you can apply the goodness of the Bible for real life faith.
Our hope is that as each believer gains confidence in what they hear at Big Life C.C., they will approach the scriptures themselves, through Bible reading, smartphone and tablet apps, devotionals, etc., and begin to grow their faith understanding through their own experience of the Bible.

What is Communion?

Communion is a symbolic meal everyone is invited to share to remember Jesus’ life, teaching, and ultimate sacrifice:
Jesus told his followers this as they finished what would be their final meal together,
“My time has come. I am going to my death. My body is going to be broken – yes. But I am doing it for you, willingly, freely, because I love you so much. You are worth it.
I am like this bread, torn apart, broken, but I am broken for the best reasons – for you.
And my blood is going to be poured out just like this wine, but I let it flow openly as a new promise for you. I am promising that nothing can separate us anymore, not any part of life, no matter how bad, and not death either.
When you gather together, do this and remember me and what I have taught you, know how much you are worth to me, and remember how far I am willingly going to prove it.
I love you.”
So each week we share in a simple bread and cup to remember the greatest Love.

Why does the church talk about money?

Jesus talked about money a lot. In fact, according to Jesus, where our money goes, our hearts follow. (Matthew 6:21)
We say it would be “spiritual malpractice” if we did not share God’s good teachings about how we can use our resources. Our hope for each person is that we follow Christ and grow in love and courage, and set aside fear… even when it comes to finances.