The Big Announcement
We say “you belong here” a lot. I think we mean it most of the time too. I’ve heard people tell me how they fee like they belong and that this church has loved and accepted in a way that has made a difference in their faith. Good stuff.
As a church, we want Jesus to be central to who we are and what we do. The “Elevation” thing points us to Christ crucified, Christ rising up to the heavens—drawing all people to Himself, and a triumphant Christ returning in the clouds. Being a portable church for the last couple years has allowed us to remind each other that the church is not defined by buildings or steeples but by the blood of Jesus Christ. Through regularly sharing communion we talk about how Christ is present in a special way. Together we are His body—wherever we are. In Matthew 11:28 our Lord says, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Theologically speaking, the “here” is Jesus Christ.
So it makes sense that if Christ is central to who we are and what we do that when people come into contact with Elevation they experience Jesus. We like when that happens. And we want to see it happen more. That’s why this summer we began praying that God would provide a place for us of “our own”, where we could more effectively present the Gospel in our part of the City of Vision and Progress.
The Wyoming Junior High cafeteria has served us well and we love the school. We pray for the staff, students, faculty, parents and neighbors. We feed 25 children on the weekends through Hand2Hand. We’ve helped recruit mentors through One Wyoming 1-on-1. Most of us live within walking distance of the school. Yet we want to be able to minister to them more effectively and we were pretty sure that being in the cafeteria together for a couple hours on Sunday was only the beginning and that we could do so much more if we had a place of “our own”. So we asked God to provide a place us to present our true refuge: Jesus.
Around the same time (and right around the corner from the Junior High), our sending church, Beverly Reformed, was celebrating 100 years of ministry and asking what the next 100 years would look like. They decided to welcome another church on their campus that would insure for the foreseeable future that a gospel presence remained committed to Wyoming Park. We were invited into the conversation.
A couple months later a friend and supporter asked if I’d like to talk to his father, a local business leader a couple minutes from us, who wants to see his financial resources put to use for the Kingdom before he goes on to glory. Of course I’d like to meet him! When we were together the gentleman asked “what is it you’d like to do as a church but can’t?”. Knowing how many kids we have, how children have a way of bringing parents along with them and how many kids live in our neighborhood, I said we’d love to be able to minister to youth in a more effective way.
“What’s holding you back?” he asked. I thought about it and replied that a physical place to use throughout the week would be first, but also staff. Another full time staff person would be key since I am straight up maxed out just focusing on the adults. I told him about the potential building at Beverly and he asked what it would cost to hire someone. I threw out a number and he wrote a personal check on the spot—with a promise of more when I bring the new hire in to meet him. I was pretty much blown away. Such a super generous gift to the church encouraged me and I wanted to get to work right away.
Having not thought about youth ministry all that much, I began to dream a little. Any staff we call would have to love #wyomingMI and display strong character and competency. I bumped into Beverly’s part time Youth Director and the Holy Spirit made me pause. They have some kids still in the church but would like to see more come to know Jesus. We seem to be reaching people outside the church. Their Youth Director is someone in our neighborhood who is a leader, who loves the kids here, who has a huge ceiling for growth. What if we took that money, paired it up with what this leader is making to bring him to full time and integrate he and those young people into the life of our new, growing congregation?
After some prayer and conversation with Beverly leadership, Elevation’s and the Beverly Youth Director, the idea of partnering seemed to make a lot of sense. Moving into Beverly’s property, working together to reach the neighborhood with Elevation taking the lead and Beverly helping out? People responded very enthusiastically. It fit the path Beverly voted to pursue. It helped carry out our vision for reaching our City. It resonated with the Youth Director. It leveraged the generous gift we received. We put it all together in the form of a formal proposal.
Last Tuesday night, Beverly Reformed Church’s board voted unanimously to offer their multipurpose building on the north side of their property to us for Sunday worship and throughout the week. They voted unanimously to offer Nick Armstrong as our Youth Pastor. They voted unanimously to let us take over and remodel the building as we see fit. In short, we will work together to reach the neighborhood.
Beginning Sunday, December 6, we will worship in at 2100 Lee Street SW, just west of Parkview Elementary School.
In January, Nick Armstrong will come on board as a full time Youth Pastor.
Over the winter we’ll be doing some work on the building in order to maximize it for ministry throughout the week and to transform it into a true community center for the Wyoming Park neighborhood.
There are still plenty of things we’ll need to work through but we’re moving forward. God seems to be doing some amazing things and it’s up to us to be obedient and faithfully press on, into the opportunities He is authoring.
Circling back to the beginning, our “here” now has a permanant "here". And it’s right where you belong.