"Not Religious? Neither Are We" was the thematic campaign used by creators of a new, hipster-like church established in the Silicon Valley by ministers who came from the 'Down Under' just to share with other Christians how to be 'Up and Above' with God. Called C3 (Christian City Church), members consist of one church at three locations. The group just erected 33 billboards across the Bay Area this week to draw attention to their belief that Jesus is interested in people experiencing His love and grace through a personal and genuine relationship, not by earning His approval through behavior modification or fitting into certain religious molds.
The C3 movement is led by pastors Phil and Chris Pringle of C3 Church Oxford Falls, and is a global movement of churches connected together by the mission to see 1,000 churches planted around the world by 2020.
Regarding what has occurred in California, Pastors Adam and Keira Smallcombe, along with their three daughters, Madiha, Zali, and Zara, said they moved from Newcastle, Australia, in January 2012, in response to the call of God to plant a church in Silicon Valley. Their faith step led them to launching C3 Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, which branched into two other locations in San Jose and San Francisco.
The Smallcombes' refer to their leadership as "audacious faith, genuine relationship and a passionate pursuit of Jesus."
The couple believes the innovative culture built at C3 Silicon Valley challenges many peoples' perceptions of church. In fact, they claim the Bay Area-wide campaign they launched to start the church, "Not Religious? Neither Are We," had a global effect, with many people impacted by the powerful message of a God who wants relationship, not just religious traditions.
What do they mean about "not being religious?" They said they agree with religion often being viewed as "irrelevant, out of date and disconnected" to modern society. They also state some people believe being religious is about following a set of unrealistic rules, or reaching a form of righteousness through strict behavior, or even believing in an unrealistic and impersonal God.
C3 teachings come from the belief that Jesus also is "not religious," that He is and always has been about "relationship."
Both the Smallcombes indicate they enjoy being compelling communicators of the gospel, and are focused on being part of revival in Silicon Valley of more people coming into a relationship with Jesus and following Him.
One of the videos shared on the church's Facebook page during the last 24 hours includes a rapper who says: "I say I'm not religious, because I rather relate. I say I'm not corporate, because I'd rather create." The video goes on to include comments about guilt, making money through a job that isn't loved, and the seeking of spirituality. It also alludes to people saying "religion is love," but "I've heard too much hate."
Several of the church's supporters are voicing they appreciate the creative manners in which C3 is approaching ministry. For example, last week's sermon message was "You can't alter the past, but you can bring the past to the altar."
C3 outreach efforts currently include dinner parties, structured classes, welcome events and an interactive school of leadership.