One year, a new location and hundreds of regular attendees later, Roberts and his church are looking forward to a future that can provide better worship experience in the community.
“That goal of ours has never changed,” Roberts said. “Our focus is still trying to get as many people involved to make this city a better place overall.”
Instead of being “a church in a bar,” Roberts feels it more accurate to call it a “city church” now.
With the goal of helping people connect with God in mind, Roberts is looking to expand the options available to churchgoers. Thus, Connect Rome’s new location at The Nest and Sunday worship services at Mount Berry Square mall isn’t headquarters; instead it will be more like a spoke in a great worship wheel.
“I feel people are overwhelmed by mega churches with a lot of members in one location,” he said. “I like the intimacy of smaller locations, and I love the idea of being able to create revenue with the church.
“We’re not a church that doesn’t use our space for six days a week, and we’ll never be that church.”
He said because the church donates the money it generates through The Nest, there are opportunities to create other locations tied with his overall goal of providing Connect Rome worship services around Rome.
One of those ideas would possibly be a consignment store devoted to outdoor gear inside the mall that would sell clothing, bikes and even kayaking gear.
The idea is just one of many. It is the execution of those ideas that can sometimes bring the church problems.
For instance, when he announced that Connect Rome would have a permanent location by this past Sunday, he knew it would be a challenge.
“But we had people who came in here and in 19 days turned this into an incredible space,” he said. “And 85 percent of those people didn’t even know what Connect Rome was this time last year. That says something.”
With a year of expanding attendance and the move to a somewhat smaller but more marketable venue, Roberts feels good about the church’s future. They hope to have new locations in West Rome and back in downtown in the coming future. The church will also soon start holding a third worship service on Sundays at 1 p.m. as long as crowds continue to grow.
Roberts’ ultimate goal is and always has been making it easier for people to connect with God. So long as he has a vision for the future, he thinks the church will be on the right track.
“We don’t want people to come to us,” he said. “We want to go to the people.”