"Where's your church?" I get asked that quite a bit as I introduce myself around town as a local pastor. It's a hard question to answer when you are part of a start-up. Unlike churches with a street address, our church can't yet be defined by a street address because every place we've met thus far was borrowed. This is an important reminder for us because our location should never define us.
I share this word because it's again time for our young church to change worship locations. As we began to outgrow our first venue at Stage Too we looked for another venue that we hoped would let us continue to grow until we were able to find a more permanent location. Moving to the CityYouth building met that criteria as well as gave us the opportunity to help a ministry serving our city's youth. We knew there was risk involved as we explored the possibility of sharing the building over an initial 6 month period. Now that this initial courting period is coming to an end and the leadership of both organizations evaluate, we have determined it is best for both organizations to not renew.
A couple of things in regards to this decision I'd like to share as many may wonder "why?"
1. Both organizations have grown. God has continued to grow both organizations, and as we each look to meet our growing needs in a shared space we find ourselves at a loss with how to allow our church to have more space for ministry without limiting the new programs CityYouth has started.
2. It's "OK" to walk away. Sometimes there is unhealthy pressure to try and force a partnership that ends up hurting both organizations and potentially straining a healthy relationship that could serve Jonesboro longterm in other ways. Our goal from the beginning was to use the space at CityYouth without creating any distractions for them as they serve these kids. Walking away now allows us to keep this our priority.
3. God will provide. I moved to Jonesboro thinking finding a worship venue would be a piece of cake. My initial ideas for venues didn't work out, but God quickly provided and has remained faithful never leaving us in want. I believe God will continue to supply a place to worship each week.
So where do we go from here? Our leadership and team leaders are currently praying as we look at all our options and begin to evaluate what our next steps should be. Our goal is to be in our new venue at or before September 30th.
How can you help? You can pray. That's honestly the BEST thing any of us can do. I say that of myself, our leadership, and anyone who asks. We don't just want to be in "a" space, but "the" space God wants for us. Only after, do I offer the suggestion of helping us look at possibilities. If you know of an potential sites, please email email@example.com.
We would like to thank Denise and the board of CityYouth Ministries for letting us use their space. We would also like to thank our Christ Redeemer family for their patience and desire to walk with us no matter where we worship! It is so encouraging as a leader to see the support of our membership ready to jump in! May God continue to provide for his church.
Jeff Wreyford, Lead Pastor