Well, if you’ve been to church at all over the last month you know that all sorts of things are happening. Our construction crew has finished the demolition portion of our redesign and repair of our exterior, and are in the beginning phases of the reconstruction.
As I’m sure you have seen by now, not only are we getting a new drive through for the kids and teens area, but we also have new windows (that don’t leak or allow ants to bore through) that allow a tremendous more amount of light in and really open up the front of the building. They say that windows and doors are the eyes of a building, so I guess our building is getting an eye transplant…sounded better in my head!
Our construction crew also has the entire North side of the building resided, is beginning on the backside, and have started laying the brick on the front. Once the brick is completed then they’ll be able to finish of the front exterior and the drive through, and our facelift of what is becoming our teen and kid’s center, will be complete.
This week the crews have marked out the areas that will be excavated and the big beefy machines should be on site later this week as well. Our hope is that when you arrive on Sunday you’ll see piles of dirt all over the place and the beginnings of Lake Friendship…seriously, it’s gonna be like an acre and a half!
Our goal for the MOMENTUM giving is to be at 50% by December 31st, right now we are siting at 47%. I know that some of you have been giving consistently over the last year and I want to thank you and congratulate you for helping us get this far! I also know that some of you have only given a small percentage of your commitment, and I’d like to challenge you to get caught up in the month of December. Help us celebrate reaching 50%, push us over that mark so that we can start the new year right on track! The exciting thing is, you don’t even have to wait till Sunday to do it, you can jump online right here: Online Giving, and get things rolling.
See ya Sunday!
We finally have some movement beginning to take place (and the people rejoiced)! I’m sure most of you noticed that the pavement on Emerson was about 90% done on Sunday, and as of today (Tuesday, Sep 9) it is completely done and ready for marking.
What you may not realize is that under that road we have laid our new sanitary line hookup and our new storm water line hookup. These two accomplishments will allow us to begin moving forward on the creation of our new retention pond. If you are not familiar with where the pond will sit on the property, take a detour over to our plans on the wall next to the Nursery to get familiar with where you will begin to see a huge hole in the ground in the next month or so. I know that the retention pond isn’t something that most people get super excited about, but it will allow us to detain all of the rain water run-off of all our new hard surface areas, and should prevent any type of flooding. Again, not exciting, but essential for us to keep moving forward.
We’ve also been able to work out an agreement with the City that will allow us to do work on our current building exterior and some interior, while we are waiting on the final approval for our full project financing by using the monies already given to the MOMENTUM Project by people like you who have so graciously and generously sacrificed! This will allow us to build our new drive through and resurface the exterior to match the new building, replace our leaking wood framed windows, and expand our infant nursery (and all the infant nursery volunteer rejoiced)! These things will have a direct impact on how we do ministry and the way our building is seen by the community.
So, to wrap this all up in a profound, intellectually stimulating way…“Stuff is happening people!”
Well the old expression goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Have I ever mentioned that I have a rather driven personality? I don’t know about you all but I don’t think I can wait an awful lot longer before I start having to gnaw on something (or someone) to relieve the tension!
Thankfully, things are moving, but as with everything that has anything to do with governmental red tape, it moves way slower than what we’d like. On the very positive side all of our information for financing is in the lenders hands and we have multiple banks who are now ‘competing’ for our business, this usually means good rates, which means a savings in the long run…even better!
On the exciting side…if our bond issue is resolved and our meeting goes well with the City, then nothing further stands in the way of us breaking ground! We don’t have a date yet since it’s still dependent upon those last two hurdles being jumped, but all signs point to go as of right now.
You will notice that some of the property next to Emerson road is already getting dug up. This is a part of the improvements that are being done to the road and are a part of our new acceleration and deceleration lanes that will make coming and going much easier on Sundays and for our Childcare parents when all is said and done.
Finally, as I shared with you recently, we just reached 40% of our $627,000 committed to the MOMENTUM project, way to go Friendship! If you made a commitment and haven’t yet started giving or your a little behind, I’m going to challenge you to start or get back in rhythm to help us reach 50% even faster. Let’s keep moving forward to make an impact that’ll last a generation!
Well, this is what we are currently seeing all around our building right now! I’m thinking that I might pick one of these bad boys up so that I can fit in with all of the cool kids. I wonder what type of gas mileage they get?
We’ve had some pretty cool things take place over the last month. Now, we’ve still got a long way to go, but pretty much all of our meetings have gone fantastic. We even had a huge answer to prayer in our excess dirt removal and actually have a couple of different people willing to take it off of our hands with no cost to us.
Here are the big items on our plate right now, and almost all of it is in the financial areas. Our finance team is working over time to get all of this information together and correct so as to not hold up the project, but here is what you can be praying for:
- The City is requiring us to get a Bond for all of our site-work. Bonds are really not a big deal, unless of course you’re a church! Then it can become a real process. Be praying that we can get this completed and ready to present to the City by the Board of Public Works meeting on June 14th!
- Our final architectural plans are almost ready to be submitted to the State. This is the last major pre-construction hurdle. Pray that the State approves and that the City signs off.
- Compilation of the last several years of financial records. Think of it as doing your taxes…blindfolded! Yeah, that’s kind of what this is like.
The 3 people who are carrying the load are Don Stewart, Jessica Seelye, and Nita Conaway. Please be in constant prayer for them as I’m certain the numbers can get overwhelming at times.
Here’s the really exciting news: If all goes well with getting our financing in line, and there are no unforseen hiccups at the June 14th BPW meeting, we can apply for our LAP (Land Alteration Permit) and we can begin moving dirt. So, let’s all pray that the big boy dozer’s aren’t just at our neighbor’s next month, but are roaming around our land too!
That’s all for now!
The snail pace of the pre-construction process continues. We gave our site design (parking, sewer, storm water, ect…) to the City and they came back with some alterations, and we have re-submitted it with the areas they asked us to address. So, the next phase is submitting the actual building/construction designs for approval.
I can’t tell you how anxious I am to begin seeing ground moving on our land. All of the dirt mounds piling up on Worthsville Rd are just adding to my anticipation! If you are as excited about us moving dirt as I am there are 4 things I’m asking you to do:
- Pray! Our biggest asset as we work through the submission, permit, and bonding process with the City are your prayers. We believe that prayer changes things! So, pray that our builder move quickly, that the City responds quickly and reasonably, and that everything would take place on God’s perfect timing.
- Talk! Share your excitement for the building with everyone you know. Talk to them about what will be happening there, talk about how it will allow our Childcare, which by the way is awesome, to grow and impact more families. Talk about the coffee shop whose proceeds will be used to help people who are hurting, lost, and lonely. Talk about how our teen ministry will finally be able to have a space of their own. In short, talk about it, build the excitement!
- Commit! Last year we presented the MOMENTUM project and many of you committed financially to give over and above your regular offering to make the project a reality. If you were not a part of Friendship then and you’d like to know more about it and potentially become a part of MOMENTUM yourself then go to our dedicated website, read the information, watch the amazing stories, and commit to being a part of the MOMENTUM at Friendship Church! If you’ve already committed, then let me say “Thank You!” and keep up the giving!
- Invite! Once our building is complete we will have seating for 600 in the auditorium and our kids space will double. As we build over the next year our vision of glorifying God as an effective and influential church isn’t being put on hold! Some may say, “Where will we put more people right now?”. That’s a great question, I really don’t know…but we’ll find room. Lack of space will never be an excuse for us to stop doing what God has called us to do, and when the time is right God will let us know what the next step is. Kind of exciting, isn’t it!
Just remember, when God’s people, pursue God’s vision, in God’s timing, we can expect God-sized results!
Some great news everyone! I recently had a meeting with the City of Greenwood and the subdivision planner to the West of us. As we all sat around the table attempting to resolve the domino effect that we were experiencing the subdivision planner came up with a fantastic idea that allowed not only us to move forward but also the subdivision! That means that both of our projects can continue to progress, and hopefully without much further delay.
At this point we have to get back with our engineers to change some of our drainage and road issues and hopefully be able to work with the subdivision in creating a great timing solution that works for both of us. So, as of right now, our engineering firm is beginning to work on the layout. Once that is done we will present that to the City and get an initial approval to apply for a land alteration permit (basically allows us to start moving dirt).
The unfortunate part of all of this is that this process has caused us to be about 4-6 months behind our initial desire of breaking ground in December. The positive part is that this is allowing us to get to know more of the people involved in the project and be able to build positive relationships with them. In fact, I’d like to give you a few names of people who will be influential in the ongoing progress of our project and ask you to be specifically praying for them.
- Paul Claire (Subdivision Planner)
- Mark Richards (City Engineer)
- Paul Peoni (Assistant Engineer)
- Bill Peeples (City Planner)
All of these men I’ve been able to get to know throughout this process, and I can tell you that I am personally praying for them, and I’d like you to join me.
Well, that’s all for now, keep praying hard and I’ll keep you up to date as things progress!
Wow, I’m simply amazed at how our MOMENTUM series went, and I’m in awe of how excited and supportive everyone is of the project. For those of you who don’t yet know, we did reach our goal of $600,000 committed to the project over the next two years, and on our Big Give Sunday 25% of that amount came in, that’s just astounding by any measure!
Our hope was to break ground still in 2013, unfortunately do to some circumstances beyond our control that have recently taken place we will need to delay the groundbreaking a little bit. We are still hoping to be able to get started early in 2014 if we can make some pieces move the way we want. Here’s the skinny on what has happened and how it affects us:
- First thing that happened was that a Greenwood resident, East of us on Worthsville Rd, is fighting the Eminent Domain ruling. This has put a six month delay on the construction of Worthsville Rd. This does not affect us…directly, but as you’ll see below it has a pretty substantial domino effect.
- Because the City of Greenwood has had to delay the project for six months, they’ve chosen to start on the West end of the project across 31. Again, this has no direct impact on us…but wait!
- The subdivision directly to the West of us across Emerson Ave needs to tie into the new storm water system that the City is building into Worthsville Rd, BUT that is also being delayed, so the subdivision has also decided to delay starting. Now, this has a direct impact on us because our current drainage goes onto the property they are building on so they were going to have to take our drainage and connect it to the new City storm water system. They also were going to bring Emerson up to a County Road designation (thicker pavement and a little wider lanes).
So, because all of this is delayed, that places all of the improvements (road, drainage, moving of utilities, etc…) squarely on our shoulders, which if it stands will mean a potential increase of $250,000…yes, that’s six figures!
We are in the process of working with our construction team to determine exactly what it might cost us, and if there is some way around, or some way to work with either the City or the subdivision to find a positive solution. So, be praying very, very hard that God gives us a clear path and gives us precise directions!
WARNING, SPIRITUAL APPLICATION COMING!!!
As I think about this process I can’t help but think about the verse I began Sunday’s message with:
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. – Proverbs 24:24 NIV
Rarely can we trace a path of ruined life back to one ‘huge, monstrous bad decision’. Granted, there are some of those, but more often then not it’s a small decision, that leads to another, and another, and another. Then one day you find yourself in a place you never wanted or intended to be, and it often impacts other people.
This gentleman who is fighting the City is not going to win. If it were for a strip mall or another parking lot, yes he would have a small shot, but no one has ever won an Eminent Domain case when it involved a road. So, not only will he lose his case, but he’ll also lose his money for the lawyer, which means the money that he would have gotten for his property will be significantly diminished or he could lose it all together. His decision also affects all of the people who would benefit from the new road, the people who would be purchasing the new homes, the guys who would be employed to build those homes…well you get the picture.
Moral of the story folks, every decision and every choice matters which is why Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16;
“Watch your life and doctrine closely!”
Keep praying for God’s best team, because it’s on it’s way!!!
Several weeks ago I shared with you that we were in the process of working through the initial phases of the building process. We have been diligently working with our site engineer to determine exactly what kind of space we have to work with, and the exact amount of square footage we can actually build within the limits that we have. It’s been a very exciting but taxing process and I deeply appreciate your prayers as we continue to look at design concepts and begin getting an idea of how much it will cost us to take the next step in fulfilling the vision that God has given us to “Glorify God as an effective and influential church!”
I am so excited about this process and I am amazed at the incredibly smart and helpful outside people that God has surrounded us with to guide us on this momentous journey of faith! We’ve got some awesome things planned for this Fall as we begin to unveil what God is calling us to do. I’ve already seen God work in some amazing ways and move some mountains that we weren’t sure how to overcome. Each of these ‘obstacles’ have been moments that have tested our resolve, our faith, and to be quite honest…our patience!
Although most of these stories will have to wait until the Fall I’d like to share one exciting obstacle that we’ve already found our way around. As we delved deeper and deeper into this process we realized that it was going to take us much longer than we anticipated to complete all the pre-construction and the construction phase. This in itself was a little discouraging, because we are so excited about this next phase, but it was also causing us to have a little concern because we are continuing to grow at such a rapid rate that we very well might outgrow our building before our new building was finished. Our biggest concern was our children’s ministry which is already operating at about 90% capacity. Considering that we’ve been consistently growing by about 25-30% over the last two years, the likelihood that we would more than max out our available space was very real. Especially in our back room where we are averaging over 30 kids in the 10:30 service…process that for a moment: 30 K – 5th graders in the same room for an hour!
So, late last week we made a pretty significant decision that will allow us to continue grow. We will be converting the current office space on the right side of the foyer back into kid’s space for Sunday morning ministry and for our preschool and childcare. This move allows us to split the back room into older and younger kids and allow us to do ministry to them more effectively since it will be a smaller age bracket. It also gives Friendship Kids Childcare additional space to grow by another 20 or so kids. By the way, they are already at capacity this Summer and at about 90% for the Fall, how cool is that!
The biggest change will be with us as a staff. Since our office space will be gone, Dustin, Traci, and myself will be going mobile. Essentially, we will be working either in our home offices or at various locations when we meet with people. This will not be an easy transition, but we believe that if we do it right it will be a smooth one, and give us the necessary room to continue to reach people for Jesus Christ; which is what it’s all about!
Over the next couple of weeks as you stop by the church building you’ll notice that we are cleaning out our offices and beginning to move furniture into storage. As a part of that move Dustin and I have been going through our libraries and setting aside books that we have read or we now have in digital format and set them out on a table in the back of the auditorium. As you can see we have well over 100 copies of books and we are giving them away to you our church. If you see a book you would like to read, take it! We want you to use them as a tool to help you grow spiritually mature as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Well, I think that’s all for this installment! Keep praying, keep believing, and keep living like Christ!
Well, it’s been a busy couple of months around Friendship Church! For the most part that explains why I took a two month absence from posting another blog post. Besides all of the normal stuff that happens I’ve been doing a lot of preparation work for our future building project.
To give you a little background on how we got here; two years ago we were looking at our growth and realized that very soon we’d be out of space in our building. We talked extensively at that time and actually met with a small group of men, all of whom are elders today at Friendship, and prayed through, talked through, and did research on whether or not we should consider building. At that time we decided that it would be a better use of our resources to begin doing two services, even though all of the “experts” told us we wouldn’t be successful. We believed that was what God was calling us to do. It was a HUGE step of faith, and I’ll be very transparent and say, I was nervous! We launched our two services for the first time in March of last year, a little over a year ago. Since then we’ve grown by 35% or almost 100 people, we’ve seen over 50 people come to know Christ, disciple over 120 through our Workshops! Suffice it to say, it was obviously the right decision and God has blessed us beyond measure.
So far this year we are running just shy of 300 people each weekend, and our kid’s ministry is packed to the gills! If we continue growing anywhere near our current pace, we will outgrow our facilities in a year or less. We’ve spent the last several months, praying, talking, and researching all of our options and we are confident that this time we need to build. Right now we are in the slow, not very exciting, phase of the process. We’ve been talking with financial people and getting ourselves in the best position possible; we’ve had quite a bit of site engineering done, to make sure we know all the potential “surprises” that may come up; and we’ve met with the City of Greenwood to find out there…um…demands ( I jest of course, they’ve actually been very helpful). All in all the process is going along very smoothly and we are excited for this next phase to begin!
Here’s how you can be praying:
- Wisdom: we are going to be making a lot of decisions as we continue to move forward, and we’ve got a tremendous group of elders. However, you can never, ever pray or have enough wisdom when making decisions that will have such a significant impact as this potentially could.
- Vision: one of the reasons that I believe God has blessed Friendship is because we are constantly moving forward towards our vision of “Glorifying God as an Effective and Influential Church”. We don’t want to become so bog down in decisions and details that we stop pursuing the vision.
- Faith: God is doing some pretty amazing things, and I’ve been around long enough to know that when God is moving He’s going to ask us to take some pretty big steps, which means we’ve got to have some pretty deep faith.
- Focus: All of us elders have full-time jobs where we have responsibilities, and on top of that our families. Times like this demand a lot of meetings, and extra hours of reading and research. It can become overwhelming, and cause us to lose focus or get frustrated. I don’t know about you, but no decisions I’ve ever made when frustrated worked out well!
Thanks for praying for us and for the future of Friendship Church! That’s all for now, but keep an eye open for the next update…