My dad used to own an ’84 Chevy pickup truck that became my main driving vehicle when I got my license. I had some history with that truck. I got hit by a drunk driver…in a Taco Bell drive-thru, backed into lots of things, scraped the side on our garage door…3 times, and plenty more adventures. One that I’ll never forget (that I highly discourage anyone from trying) was seeing how fast I could hit speed bumps. When I hit one at about 45mph, the front of the truck came off the ground, then slammed back down. All the dash lights, headlights, and radio quit working and I had to drive home in the dark like that. I don’t remember what excuse I came up with to tell my dad, but somehow I weaseled my way out of that one. I should have never done that and I learned an important lesson: there’s a reason they say to slow down before coming to a speed bump. That would make sense.
If you read my earlier blog, Curve Ball, you know that Awaken Church hit a bit of a speed bump this week that I’m mostly to blame for. I should have done my research earlier before we ever signed a lease to make sure everything was ok with the building to hold church meetings in. Unfortunately, I didn’t. So, with a little under 3 weeks till our first church service, we quickly realized that we had no building to meet in! That’s where the body of Christ came in. I had people from around the country emailing, texting, and calling, saying they were praying and offering advice. It was so cool. At first, I tried to be real positive about it. That only lasted so long though. Soon, the weight of having no meeting place and only a couple weeks left till our start date really hit me. Wednesday, I started to freak out a bit. I drove around for 4 hours in the afternoon trying so hard to find another place. Nothing. Finally, I made one last phone call on a place I saw on my way home. That place wouldn’t work either…but the guy told me of one more property that he owned that might work. We set a time to go look at it on Thursday and I drove home. I was reminded of Nehemiah, who also dealt with some major issues and speed bumps as he followed God’s call on his life to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Whenever something came up, he immediately prayed (check out Nehemiah 1:4, 6; 2:4; 4:4, 9; 5:19; 6:14; 13:14, 22, 29). He faced people who mocked him, others who attacked him, as well as plenty of hardships and set backs. Despite the attacks, his battle cry was “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us!” (Nehemiah 2:20), and that is exactly what I needed to remember. I calmed myself down once I got home and remembered my original vision for the church: this is God’s church, not mine, therefore, this is His problem, not mine. From the very start, I committed to not trying to build a team of people or support or stress out about details, instead, I would allow God to build the church. I never wanted to get to a point where I would look back and be tempted to say, “Look what I built.” Thankfully, there’s no way I can say that about the place we hope to sign the lease on this week. It seems like the perfect place for us.
After lots of prayer, I finally received the phone call we were hoping for on Friday morning. Our landlord from our first building said it would be in our best interest and his if we went somewhere else. He even said he’d give us a full refund, including out deposit and first month’s rent! Incredible. My name was on the 1-year lease. Technically, he didn’t have to refund anything.
I don’t want to jump too fast with this other building until we know things are official, but here are a few fast facts:
– I already put a call into city hall to research fire code and zoning before we sign the lease – things are looking good.
– We will get 900 more square feet for only a few hundred dollars more per month.
– It’s divided right in half with 1200 square feet for a big meeting room and 1200 for Awaken Kids ministry.
– The Kids Ministry area already has 4 or 5 classrooms pre-built, which will save us lots of time and money!
– The building is 1 mile from the college campus now and almost touching the park we want to have a sunrise service in next Easter!
I could go on and on about how great this building is, but I’d rather go on and on about how great God is. It’s possible that we don’t end up with this building because God has something else in mind for us, but things are looking promising. He truly is building this church and I believe this speed bump, although I allowed it to get to me, was just a way for God to prove His sovereignty once again and test my faith (I guess I partially passed, but I could have done better). I believe God saved us from meeting in a building that wasn’t ideal but we were willing to make work. He has this way of doing things last-minute with me, and I guess I’m learning to be ok with it – it forces me to pray more, like Nehemiah. I know one day, we’ll look back on all the speed bumps and be able to say something like what was said in Nehemiah 6:15 – “So the wall was finished,” or in our case, “So Awaken Church began.”
Thanks to all those who were praying or offering advice. God truly showed Himself faithful and the body of Christ proved to be the support that we all need. Keep up those prayers.