From a comedy club to a church

By Chad Weber

September 9, 2013 Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 9:30 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- At 6:30 a.m. Sunday in Bloomington, a group volunteers arrived at the Laugh Comedy Club to begin a transformation from night-club to church.

"We were just looking for a place that was different where other churches weren't meeting," said Innovate Church Lead Pastor Shawn Kidle. "Just something where we could have that special thing for us."

Sunday was the grand opening for Innovate Church at its new location renting out the Laugh Comedy Club in downtown Bloomington.

The church had previously been holding services at the Eastland Suites since its inception back in April.

However, Lead Pastor Shawn Kidle decided the best way to reach young people was to go where they go.

"This is a real comfortable environment for people who aren't used to traditional services with pews and choir robes and stuff like that so that's people we're targeting," said Kidle. "This is the perfect place for them."

"It's not a threatening giant church building," said volunteer Nate Morrison.

The transformation process takes up to three hours including stage set-up, sound equipment, and the conversion of a storage area into a kid's classroom and play area.

Once the work is complete, hours later at 10:30 a.m., the service is ready to begin.

"Real relaxed," said Kidle. "Real casual, about an hour in length. In fact this week we are opening with Ozzy's 'Crazy Train'."

Kidle said interest has been growing since the church's move to the club three weeks ago, and hoped Sunday's grand opening would transform more than just a comedy club for a few hours.

"We are just trying to show people that there can be a casual environment like that and a place like this that they can meet Jesus," said Kidle.

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