God On The Move
Q: Why are we expanding?
A: Isn’t that the most exciting question? Expanding is part of God’s plan for His church to continue to reach people. I believe that everyone’s life would be immeasurably better if they could come into a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what we are called to.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners. (61:1-3)
We are specially called and set apart to do this in our community. It is what we have been doing and God has done the miraculous in our midst. But we are only just getting started! So many more need to hear the truth.
Q: Are we really over capacity? I see empty seats on Sundays.
A: The answer is yes! We can seat 119 people in our current setting each service. It may be hard to believe, but people feel like a room is full at 75 percent of capacity. After that point, they feel like a room is too crowded. That means that when we have 89 people in each service, we are full!
Over the past two years, we have watched attendance climb, bump up against this 75% barrier, and fall back. We have seen it time and time again, even just in the last few months. All the studies say this 75% is a real barrier, and our own experience confirms it.
Q: Why not just start another service?
A: A third service is part of our continued expansion plans – we adjusted our service times in spring 2017 to accommodate a possible third service – but it wouldn’t be easy. In order to have a successful third service, we need to grow in our volunteers – it takes 20 people to staff a service. We also need a critical mass of worshippers to create the environment that is conducive to worship and teaching. You are the most important part of every service. We may be uncomfortably full at 75%, but having a too-empty service is just as bad. We need to work up to having a third service to ensure it’s executed well and full of worshippers who feel welcome.
Q: So what’s the plan now?
A: As of May 2017, have the opportunity to move into a larger church space! It’s pretty exciting and it would solve many of our prayers. But it would also take a lot of work and investment, so it’s not a decision we’re taking lightly. Nor are we making it without your input – a church vote will be held on Sunday, May 21st. You can read about this latest step here.
Q: How come it’s taken so long?
A: When we started the Expansion Project at the beginning of 2012, we had been working on solutions for many months. We have explored many alternatives and will continue to do so. One option we explored was merging with another church that had a large building, but very few people. We believed we could do more together then apart. After months of working in that direction, it appears that door of opportunity has been closed to us.
But we still had plenty of options, and one “phase” of the Expansion Project was completed in 2013 On September 29, 2013, we “relaunched” with 200 new chairs, purchased by our generous community members. With these new chairs plus new staging, sound, lighting, we increased our capacity from 119 to 190. That’s 71 new seats each service, 142 each Sunday! This means we can potentially introduce 142 new people to Christ every week.
Q: Can’t we just remodel the church and stay here?
A: We sure can! Some barriers to overcome are:
Time: It will take 6-9 months to get permitting and draw up plans. Add construction time and we’re looking at a total of 18-24 months.
Cost: We’d need to retrofit the building with fire protection systems and air exchange, plus work on water retention in the parking lot, which adds up to an estimated cost of $125,000. New building would cost around $100 per square foot. All in all, it’ll require a large capital investment.
These are all things that we can overcome, but we need to grow now in order to reach these steps. That’s why we’re taking small steps, like adding chairs, to start that process. There are people outside our doors right now who need to know Christ’s love, and buying a chair for them was the easiest step we could take to meet their need. So far, it’s working great!
Q: So what’s our end goal?
A: The goal is that we make room for new people to meet Christ. Our goal isn’t specifically to get a new box, or improve our box, or make our box bigger; it’s to provide a space to develop relationships with Christ. Period. As long as we’re flexible and open to the possibilities God has in mind for us, we’ll accomplish that goal.
At Real Life, we know and wholeheartedly believe that every single person’s life can be immeasurably improved through a relationship with Christ. That’s our goal and purpose as a church, as a body of believers. There are many ways we can do that, but right now, simply giving is all it’ll take to change someone’s life. Thank you for your generosity!