Place matters!

Bobby keeps on saying we shouldn’t be having this conversation – the one where we’re talking about buying a building and how to pay for it.

It’s been an incredible few months. We began our capital campaign last night (Sunday March 9th) with our commitment Sunday. We’re asking our church to pledge $500,000 over the next three years on top of their tithes. That’s a small number compared to some churches’ campaigns, but it’s huge for us. We’re less than three years old. We 200+ and growing. We don’t have a ton of doctors and lawyers. We have some but we mostly have people in school and debt up to their eyes to become what they someday will be. We’re a young church. But we have a big vision.

Since moving to Oklahoma City, I’ve driven by 829 NW 13th, asking God to give us that building. We’ve met with denominational friends and leaders who’ve kept encouraging us to pursue it, but also to wait until we were ready. We asked for their help. The last time they said, “Get an offer accepted.” That’s tough to do when you’re a young church without enough money to put down (where it won’t take all of your savings). But Ben Sellers with Wayne Property Advisors helped us work out a lease-to-purchase agreement, which we signed and which was accepted.

I met with my friend Jon (the banker with Legacy Bank at the time) to ask him how much it would take for us to get the loan ourselves without Ben. He told me $350,000. We didn’t have it. It was October and the closing date was November 1. Time was running out for that aspect of the deal.

But then something changed. Bobby and I had a conference in Atlanta (that I didn’t want to go to), and I decided to take some of our brochures we’d put together about the building and our need. I ran into a pastor who hadn’t heard of our project so I told him about it. He told me his friend John would love to hear about just this type of project, and that he’d contact him for us.

After a few phone calls where we told him about our church and what we were up to and what God has been doing – we received a check in the mail for $300,000! Members of our church and a few other generous friends donated another $100,000.

So we were able to get the loan for ourselves after all, and we did sign for the building on November 1st. We’re working to get the building open and ready for Easter Sunday, April 20th. It’s like working on a 30,000 square foot house – all the details, big and small. We’re thankful for JW Peters with Titus Construction and Andrea Meister with Meister Designs for their work to help us with general contracting and interior design.

One more story that Bobby tells. In December he was showing two sisters through the building. One had gotten married there. And their parents had gotten married there in the 1940s. And their grandparents had helped start the church back in the 1920s. They had memories of the people and places throughout the building, recalling so much as they walked through with Bobby.

They said that they were so grieved when the church closed. Since the 1980s, each time the one sister visited back to Oklahoma, they would drive by the church and sit in the street in their cars and pray that one day it would be a church again. They’ve prayed that prayer off and on for over 30 years! Though it’s been an architecture firm and a yoga fitness center and almost many other things (loft apartments and a restaurant were the most persistent choices) – this will be a church again!

And their family will be there. Because these two sisters have a niece who already is a member of City Pres. Bobby’s baptized their kids.

This is a story that we shouldn’t be telling, a conversation we shouldn’t be having? We’re reclaiming this space for what it is and what it should be and we’re looking ahead to what it will be. You’re invited to pray for us, give to us and join with us in telling that story, of making Jesus more believable and beautiful to our city, state, nation and world.

Headshot 2 Nicole Hager