Over the past 6 months the church leadership and myself have been seeking Godâ€™s direction as to what to do about the growth of our church. Weâ€™re growing. While there is room in our 9:00am service, our 10:30am service has been at or near capacity since August of 2013. We could do three services but it would really task our volunteers. Regardless we have to do something to accommodate more people. We identified land around the church and one major piece became available right next door to us on Rosalia. It just seemed like the logical choice. We would stay in the location and eventually try to expand. Buying the land and house next door seemed like a logical choice. But as I prayed, I didnâ€™t feel a peace from God about purchasing the property next door.
It came down to one day inÂ November that our leadership team was scheduled to meet. Cory Potter, our Family Life Pastor at the time, shared in the meeting, â€œI came today not wanting to say it, but I sense God saying, â€˜the house next door is not big enoughâ€™â€.
Cory, thought I had a peace about the property and didnâ€™t know what God had sparked in me just a few days earlier. Near the beginning of October we had been getting guests visit that had been going to Family Worship Center here in Sanford. I inquired about it from someone and they mentioned that the Family Worship Center had lost their building on 25th street.
I drove by it for a few weeks not thinking much about it, but one particular day I sensed God saying â€œPULL OVER NOW and find out about it.â€
I pulled over and called the realtor about it. He said it was in foreclosure but that it would be coming available soon. I didnâ€™t go looking to move, but I couldnâ€™t shake what I sensed God saying to me. Over the next couple of weeks I kept it to myself and just prayed about it, but I sensed God saying â€œGerald, Iâ€™m going to give it to you. You can trust me.â€
But how do you tell people that God told me anything! But finally I got up the courage to tell our leadership team, this is not just a good ideaâ€¦this is what I sense God clearly leading us to, in fact He told me that He was going to give it to us.
Thatâ€™s where I began to get a little scared. What if what I sensed God said, doesnâ€™t happen? Then Iâ€™ll look like fool, and everything I know to be true of how God speaks to me is wrong.
It came to a head Jan 5. Our leadership team had an opportunity to tour the building. It was a very exciting walk through. Everyone was excited. Dreaming. We had planned on offering a low ball offer, but then the bombshell was dropped. Another offer had been turned in and was being considered.
I immediately began contacting everyone I knew of that would have experience in these kinds of situations. They concluded that theÂ best Business sense was to offer the full price. So I emailed our financial institution and asked them to increase our credit line by $79,000 so that we could offer the full asking price.
On Monday, Jan 6 In speaking with one of directors, Brent Ufer (I had called him letting him know the details, what we were up against). I told him, Brent everything I know to be true of how God speaks is riding on this. I know what God said. His response to me was simply, â€œREMEMBER GIDEON.â€ He didnâ€™t know that God already speaking to me about Gideon. â€œIf God said it, you can trust Him.â€
Three things had to work out that week: 1. The Other offer that was turned in had to fall through, or at least not be accepted 2. We didnâ€™t have the needed financing yet 3. We didnâ€™t have a specific offer in mind.
I spoke with our friend who is our lawyer and he prayed with me, gave us his advice and God confirmed the # of $600,000 $40,000 under the asking price. The other offer could have been more. Everything I know to be true of Godâ€™s voice in leading me through prayer, scripture, other believers, circumstances was riding on this: If Iâ€™m wrong, then I donâ€™t know up or down of how God speaks.
But I knew whole heartedly that we were not to offer the $640,000 price because God wanted the glory. We were to offer the lower price and trust Him.
As we found out: â€œOur response to Godâ€™s instruction will determine the direction of our lives.â€ I submitted the offer of $600,000 last Thursday afternoon. We waited over the weekend. Then this past week they accepted our offer of $600,000. The realtor said it was the fastest they have ever moved. It was the perfect timing. I thought buddy you donâ€™t know the half of it.
A few quick details about the building:
ITâ€™S LOCATION: 2462 S Park Avenue, Sanford (at the corner of 25th Street & Park Avenue)
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 23,000 SQUARE FEET (we presently have around 5000 sqft)
PARKING: 115 paved spots (we presently have all grass parking for aboutÂ 80 cars).
TRAFFIC COUNT: 20,000 cars a day pass by the intersection, versus 2000 cars a day on Sanford Avenue
SEATING CAPACITY: 240-250Â Â (Currently we seat 80 comfortably)
FINANCIALLY, this will raise budget by about 10-15%. But itâ€™s no different than the 15 past years where we see God leading us to grow, budget is in faith, and God somehow provides each step of the way.
We could do the building and pear down ministry with our present giving. But I donâ€™t think that is what God is calling us to do. Heâ€™s calling us to trust him. Where He guides He provides. Heâ€™s providing us with space to fill it up with people that need to know Him.
TIME FRAME: The Contract officially began on Wednesday night, Jan 15. From Jan 15-Jan 30 we conducted a survey,Â a building inspection and our church voted to officially confirm what the Directors sensed is Godâ€™s great provision and direction for our church family. WeÂ are inÂ the phase of getting all of our necessary documents together and sent in and then we would close on Feb 28.
If our current buildings sell quickly we could move from here to there as quickly as April 1. Our target date to officially begin if all goes to this schedule is Easter, April 20th.
QUESTIONS:Â You may email or call the church office if you have any questions regarding the new building.
Our current church building is a beautiful little building. But we are pushing the limits of its capacity. Just like with hermit crabs (Iâ€™m not comparing us to a crab) however, if a hermit crab outgrows its shell and does not change shells, the shell will eventually put so much pressure on the crab that it will kill the crab. Just like the crab we have to make the choice, do we stay here and let this pretty little shell eventually kill us, or do we change shells. As pretty as this shell of a building is, we eventually will have to move.
I was resigned to staying here at 1607 S. Sanford Avenue, until I heard God speak. Then I couldnâ€™t help but respond. I encourage you to pray and respond to Godâ€™s leading and join in on Godâ€™s great gift to our church family. Our Response to Godâ€™s instruction will determine the direction of our lives and the lives of many here in Sanford and beyond!
For the Cause of Christ,