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Big Creek Transition

Big Creek Transition

What is this potential Big Creek Transition?

Big Creek's leadership, including Gary and the rest of the Big Creek staff, along with the leadership of Calvary Church are exploring the possibility of Big Creek Campus transitioning to independent status as its own church. Leadership believes this is how the mission of Calvary Church and Big Creek can best move forward. This page is meant to serve as a means of communicating the why and the what and the how of this transition, especially as that information develops.


On Sunday, May 16, the Big Creek membership voted to become an independent church within the EFCA and with Gary Gann as the Senior Pastor. Stay tuned for updates in the transition process.

Gary and Terry on How This Began


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Gary or others will follow up and these questions may be answered at a future Q & A meeting at Big Creek.


Gary, the campus pastor of Big Creek, approached the Executive Team regarding the possibility of exploring whether or not Big Creek should become its own church. The Executive Team along with Gary have had conversations with the elders and the Big Creek staff regarding this. Through those conversations and prayer, we believe that we should ask the campus this question. A potential timeline has been put together to guide the process and future discussions. Processing through that time line should lead us to God’s plan moving forward.    

A combination of events have led to this. The model we have with live teaching pastors leads to people connecting more with campus leaders than with a larger church context. Gary’s steady leadership style and trust have led to a greater sense of ownership of the ministry at Big Creek. We believe there are staff and lay leaders in place. There seems to be a stronger than ever desire for self determination from the Big Creek congregation. This may well be the next step for the development of more leaders and more opportunities for people to grow in their leadership skills. There is strong unity amongst Calvary’s leaders that this is the next best step for Big Creek and Calvary is committed to work to set Big Creek up for success in the future as a church.   

We believe becoming a church will:

  • After many years of being a campus in a multi-site church, it would be best for Big Creek to have it's own contextualized vision, mission and strategy to it's area in the greater St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Pike counties.
  • Allow for the campus to have local leadership through a local elder board addressing the campus needs having greater flexibility and speed in decision making.
  • Give the congregation a better sense of vision, mission and ownership.

There will be challenges and growing pains separating tasks and ministries from Calvary church. These are the major items that will need to be established.

  • Developing a new lay leadership team
  • Creating a unique Big Creek database, finance and budgeting protocols, communication procedures etc.
  • Recruiting people for new positions previously done by Operations/Ministry team
  • Becoming financially independent
  • Deciding what features of Calvary they want to keep and use.

A plan has been developed in study and consultation with other groups who have created churches from their campuses. We encourage Big Creek campus to be involved by participating in Town Hall meetings, being informed, asking questions and voting.

  • Town Hall meetings February 21, March 21, April 25
  • Big Creek votes May 16th, 2021 to become an independent church, part of the EFCA, with Gary Gann as the Senior Pastor.
  • It would be expected that sometime in 2022, Big Creek would be independent.
Update: The Big Creek membership unanimously voted to become independent. Stay tuned for transition details and next steps.


Big Creek has no intentions of departing from the EFCA (Evangelical Free Church of America). Click for the EFCA website


Our desire is that Big Creek is set up for success as its own entity. For that to happen, we believe it would be helpful for Big Creek to have money set aside in savings to be financially independent. To that end:

  • For 2021, the amount Big Creek would pay towards the combined mortgage would be 5K a month. Calvary would cover the rest of the mortgage payment. The hope would be this would allow Big Creek to obtain and save money over and above their budgeted staff and operational needs. All the money Big Creek has received in 2021 over these expenses would be given in 2022 to serve as an operations cushion. Everything people give to Big Creek is designated for Big Creek.
  • Beginning in 2022, Big Creek will continue a rent to own payment towards the combined mortgage that will phase up to 8K. When the mortgage is paid off in 2028, the building will be signed over to Big Creek as their own.

  • Big Creek would continue as a campus.
  • Calvary's leadership would decide next steps.

A percentage above 50% is enough to pass this measure, however, any affirmative vote below 80% would be cause for a pause for evaluation and a delay moving forward. Our desire is to seek and keep unity at the campus.