So, it has been a few months since I posted anything. "Where did Brian go???" Well, as you can see from the last post we have been in the process of transitioning our church from "portable" to "permanent." It went in a few phases something like this:
Facility Search (2011 - Feb 2012)
We looked at strip plazas, stand alone buildings, and warehouse spaces. By my calculations we looked at casually to seriously 7 locations in the central Pasco County area we call home. And, we took people out to pray over 4 of those sites. We finally found the space, the parking, and the price we needed one mile south of SR54 on Gunn Highway in the industrial park. As time went on there seemed to be a consensus this was where God wanted us for at least the next 5 years.
Funding (April - July)
By most estimates this was going to be a $120,000 job. We did not have $120,000 in the bank! So, we started the first capital campaign in the history of our church called "The Next Step" Campaign. We broke it down in two parts. One month of praying and saving, followed by the first offering, then we gave over the next 3 months. It was not the ideal way to do this. Giving over a year or two would have been better, but it was what it was, and people gave what they could give. My faith was stretched in ways I could not imagine. The funding process of this was probably one of the hardest things I have done in my 33 years on this planet.
Faith (Signing the Lease)
The owner of the facility we were wanting to rent held this space for almost 4 months and passed up several other potential tenants for us even though we did not give him a dime. In July they asked us to make a decision one way or the other. Which was perfectly fair. The only problem was we were sitting at about $30,000 of the $120,000 we needed. But, still this seemed like the direction we were supposed to move in. I even prayed a ridiculous prayer after reading about some of the Old Testament prophets and the things they asked God for. I asked God to allow me to get into a traffic accident on the way to sign the lease if this was not His will!!! To literally block me from going down this path. And, because of a scheduling issue I got the chance to do this 3 times!!! But, no accidents. So, with faith and honestly a sick feeling in my gut, I put my name on the line for our church over the next 5 years. Even though we didn't have the money. This was either faith or stupidity.
Fabrication (August & September)
We hired a contractor after getting three different bids and over the next couple months of working with him I know we hired the right one! It was a real partnership. We had work nights 2 - 3 times a week where the contractor would do something during the day and then we would come in at night and do the finishing work. And, it was a A LOT of work! OMG! My body, mind and soul is still trying to recover as I sit here one day removed from our Grand Opening. Walls were built where wide open warehouse space once stood, power and A/C was installed, stages and restrooms constructed, paint, paint, and more paint, carpet, kids stuff, more paint, more trips to Home Depot (I hate Home Depot now) but finally by the absolute grace and favor of God we barely pulled off our Grand Opening. All the volunteers really stepped up and the list of thank you's I owe is massive!!!!!!!!
Finally... we opened the doors officially:
These were just a few of the shots from my phone as I went through the morning. Look for a video or a real photo essay later this week. Again, so many thank you's go out to so many people. I am feeling blessed today. I hope you got a excited if you were there yesterday, and if you missed it, hopefully this gives you a taste of what is in store for us. The best days... have just begun!
Thank you Jesus for being my sustaining source through all this.
Thank you Cheryl for standing by my side and still loving me when I was at my worst.
Thank you Suncoast for letting me navigate this for us, the winds are picking up!!!