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Home | News > ChristMob surprises Lower Wacker Dr with hope
ChristMob surprises Lower Wacker Dr with hope03/21/2013
By Anne Marie Gerhardt
It happens when it’s least expected and can catch onlookers by surprise. A flash mob is a spontaneous public performance that often starts with just one person, grows in numbers, and then disperses as fast it began. Much like the flash mob, Operation: ChristMob started with one person and is reaching people in unexpected ways. It’s become the mission arm of Xperience Church, a new faith community in Hillside/Bellwood. Robert Dixon, a 22-year-old student at the University of Illinois–Springfield and Xperience member, came up with the idea as a way to reach out to the community.
Last November over the Thanksgiving weekend, several Xperience volunteers showed up on Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago to give out medical kits, clothes, and food to the homeless and poor. “I think they were surprised by us,” says Pastor Dwayne Grant, Xperience Church planter. “We call it random acts of blessing. We were able to go and bless the folks and pray with them.”
On Christmas Eve the group "Christ Mobbed" the Lena Washington shelter on Chicago's west side and was able to bless over 50 children with gifts. Grant says these mission projects were possible thanks to assistance and donations from several UMC pastors, churches, and laity across the Northern Illinois Conference.
Like most new faith communities, Xperience is without a physical church building, but that doesn’t stop them from being a church. “Not having a building [to worship in] allows us to think outside the box and allows us to spread the message of Jesus Christ no matter where we are. Our building is where we go to worship,” says Robert Dixon.
Grant, or Pastor “D,” as many call him, holds his office hours at the Starbucks inside the local Target. He also calls himself the Facebook pastor and uses social media to spread the message about Xperience. “I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as evangelism tools – as a catalyst,” says Grant. “We want to be out in the very diverse Hillside/Bellwood community and reach people who have been marginalized, those who are dechurched or those who have been in church and had a really bad experience. We want to help transform people.”
Creighton Harris, 33, says he became involved in Xperience because he was accepted for who he is. “Being an openly gay male and having been pushed away from church before, I am accepted [at Xperience]. Being gay doesn’t make a difference–I can serve, I can teach and know that God loves me regardless of who I am,” he says in a recent interview.
Xperience church holds Wednesday evening Bible study, and Grant has held a few worship services in his living room. The goal is to find a more permanent place to meet and launch in April. And be on the lookout for the next ChristMob when you least expect it. To connect with Xperience, check them out on Facebook/XperienceChurchChicago and their website at www.xperiencechurchchicago.org.