This past year, we conducted our first photo directory. It was a lot of work (for our office admin) but the results were fantastic. Now I have a directory I can put a name and face together, pray for them, and at times, use it as a dartboard (I’m joking). However, the most useful part of the directory was the cover.
For about four years, our council has discussed how to build or put a sign in front of our building. We currently have a 4 x 5 sign hanging on the building, but few (if any) see the sign. It was the “aha” moment I had when I looked at the proof of our directory cover. “There it is!” I exclaimed. The picture of our building from the east side of College revealed a prime place for a sign. In fact, all it required was some paint and artistic ability! So what is the big deal?
“Improvement isn’t always about dollars. Sometimes, the best improvements are stewarding what is already in your hand!”
The Nehemiah project is just that. It is a stewardship of passion for the mission of Christ. Just as Nehemiah had more than an interest in Jerusalem, we should have a zealous passion for the kingdom of God to advance. The Nehemiah project is a partnership between the local mission of our city and the international mission to spread the gospel around the world. Every dollar you give to the Nehemiah project is split in half between our building fund and church planting through the acclaimed network of surge churches.
The TLC Building Fund:
This September we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary as a church body in our beloved city, Terre Haute, IN. We were launched with the mission and mandate to be a “launching pad” for ministry to fragmented souls, like us, while contending against the legalism that has squashed the freedom many have found in Christ. We’re a little different. Our building doesn’t look like a church. It’s a renovated school building that was the 2nd school building ever built in our city. She’s old, (why our building is a female is explained privately in our men’s meetings) but she’s all ours (and Riddell National Bank’s).
Slowly, but confidently, we have remodeled our facility, one room/area at a time. I’ve always believed that our building was a prophetic symbol of what God was doing on the inside of us. Rough on the outside because of the years of enduring father time and the raging weather beating against her. However, God has called us to care for this building as if it were the white house. To overhaul it all at once would take money that we just don’t have. So we are left with one choice – focus on it one room at a time.
Isn’t that how our spiritual walk goes? I must admit, I have prayed the “give me everything I need done now” prayer early in my walk. Some prayers are better off not answered. So, my journey has been about one room of my heart at a time. At times it has been as simple as a fresh coat of paint while other seasons required a wall to be torn down for expansion. However, when the room is finished, consecrated and dedicated, it becomes an area where God can facilitate ministry to the outside world.
That is the goal of our TLC building fund. It isn’t all about making things “pretty.” That belongs to the Pharisees. It’s about preparing a room and a building to facilitate ministry. Lately, we’ve made huge progress. Here is a little snapshot on what has been accomplished:
The infamous stewardship sign:
The handicap ramp of the college entrance served as a great spot for a sign. A little painting muscle (actually – a lot of muscle) and some great design work by Jim Shepard of Baesler’s market made our building visible by traffic passing by. Up to this point, we were just known as the “purple-shirt” people. I’m okay with that too, since it is a symbol of outreach and love for our Adopt A Block ministry.
Welcome Center Ceiling Fans:
It was a small investment that made “big” returns. Our Welcome Center serves as a fellowship time during our services and gatherings at TLC. Unfortunately, when the building was designed – A/C was not thought of. To get some air flowing through this area, three fans were installed that made the area great with functional improvements. Pastor Tim did a great job holding the ladder on this project. I know, you’re welcome.
Kitchen and Fellowship Hall:
I know it sounds weird, but in our school building their was NO CAFETERIA! Don’t get me wrong, there used to be one. However, you would never know it by the look of the old facility. Fallen plaster, no signs of stoves, sinks, or the scent of a functioning kitchen. So, with a lot of hard work and a devoted man and volunteers we have a kitchen and seating area for fellowship and functions. It is “phase I” of our fellowship hall but it is a great space. The Dayton Witty memorial kitchen and fellowship hall is a vital area where connections are made and ministry happens. In fact, at the time of this writing, our VBS volunteers are using the facility to feed our volunteers before VBS and snack stations during our program. Looking ahead, we now have a spot for ministry to be done that could not happen before. Starting in September, we have plans to move forward with dinners every Wednesday night for fellowship before our small groups. It’s part of our responsibility as Christians to not just “love” God but to “love” one another. Here is a great way to demonstrate that love and make deeper relationships. This fall, we project new ministries such as cooking classes starting at TLC to train the unskilled in cooking healthy and efficiently.
Where Do I Go?
It’s a small improvement, but it was needed (a lot).
Your building fund money helped us put professional signs on our entrance doors to direct traffic to the appropriate doors during office hours and service times. This professional upgrade allowed us to remove the infamous “arrow signs” that were in front of TLC. It might not seem like much – but we haven’t “lost” anyone trying to figure out what door to use around our building (you’ll still catch Rick Davis wandering around lost from time to time).
Awnings – run for cover!
So, we used to have a really nice awning on Hampton street. That is, until the wind ripped it in half. Then it served as an awning that dripped water
on you as you walked through it. There is nothing that says “refreshing” to someone walking into the Sanctuary like dripping rusty water on their head.
If that has happened to you in the past – “you’re welcome.” The old awning was not only replaced, but a total of 3 awnings were installed around our entrances to helpfacilitate people in and out of inclement weather. Those fancy cloth awnings weren’t good enough for us. We needed a carport (insert man-grunt) to match our facility! All joking aside, they look really nice and serve as a functional addition to TLC. Plus, they have become a swingset for many preschool children. We aim to please.
As you can see, this year we have made great strides with out building. TLC has become a more functional place to assist people to do the work of the ministry. It is never about the building, but about the people. However, ironically, buildings assist people. So in a round about way, we kind of “do” need a building. It’s just not our focus. Well, it shouldn’t be. I digress.
We are “almost” there. However, it’s not about how we start that makes a champion. It’s finishing strong! We still have work to be done. Our 3rd floor (there is debate on if it is the 2nd or 3rd floor) is the last “leg” of work to make TLC a fully functioning ministry facility. We are approximately 5 rooms shy of being completely done. What’s left?
- Choir/Music greenroom. It’s the old “multi-tiered” room that was used for choir class. This designated area has already been started. Paint, paneling, and cleaning has already taken place. All that is left is some tile to be laid and carpeting. It is a few dollars shy of completion.
- Three additional classrooms need renovation for use. One is currently a weight room (that word is used loosely) while the other rooms are waiting for carpet, paint, and a little tender loving care.
- uturn is functional at the moment, but it needs someone to come along and do some maintenance work. Ceiling repair, flooring, and a little minor remodeling is needed.
All of this plus some remodeling of a few rooms we are using now. Our Sanctuary is in need of new carpet, chairs, and some walls to quiet down the A/C units and heaters that distract the attention away from what is going on. All of this can be done, but it will take an intentional effort to remodel one room at a time with your help in providing finances through the Nehemiah project.
We have chosen to use the faithful and biblical organization founded by Larry Stockstill called: Surge Churches. Pastor Larry has trained local Pastors in every region of the world to plant a church in their area of influence. Historically, these churches only need “startup money” to begin. The Pastors and their congregations will be self-supporting within 12 months time and on their way to planting more churches as a body. For example, you can plant a church in Cuba for only $480.00! Wow. That can be done by a small group or a family. Isn’t it amazing, and convicting, that we can reach the lost for Christ for such a minimal amount!
This explains that while it may cost $250,000 to send a Western missionary to the field, one of Surge’s native workers can be sent out to do the same work for as little as $480 in Cuba. That $480 is the typical salary of a doctor in that Communist nation, and it covers the cost of living for our native worker for one year as he is released to pour himself fully into the task of evangelizing a target area and consolidating the new believers into his church.
After a year, his churchwill have been taught the principle of tithing and will become a self-sustaining ministry. In fact, many of these churches are often able to multiply into more churches as the pastor raises up new leaders to take over his work and moves on to another church plant.
We have committed to our first church plant in Communist China. For just $1200.00 we can plant a church in a land that kills Christians. Although the Chinese Christians are under severe persecution, the gospel is spreading on such fertile ground! Christians gather in hidden homes and places in 100 degree heat inside to worship for over 8 hours a day. We have the opportunity to help plant underground churches on such fertile soil.
So far, we have raised over $1600 for the Nehemiah project. Just under $800.00 is all that is left to plant our first church in Communist China. We can do that! If you would like to see how easy it can be, look at these figures:
- If 20 families gave $60 a month= $14,400.00 in one year
- If 60 individuals gave $20 a month= $14,4000.00 in one year
- If 5 families commit to give $100.00 a month= $6,000.00 in one year
How to Give:
You can give at any time, but we mark a special Sunday every month to give toward the Nehemiah project. Designate your offering above and beyond your tithe obedience to the “Nehemiah project.” What we sow today has the potential of a powerful harvest tomorrow. Let’s finish strong!