The church is not the building that it resides in, the bible makes this clear. Its the PEOPLE that make up the church.
Well this PEOPLE – this small expression of the world wide family of God – were just granted use of a new venue for the next 5 years. We are excited to finally be so visible and easy to find, it will mean we can reach more people in the community right where they need it.
Its been an interesting journey over the last 18 months. Many churches have struggled, yet by Gods grace we find ourselves coming out of lockdown in a stronger position than we went in. We have senior leaders and elders in place and God gifted us a building to use for the forseeable future. The story of how we find ourselves here really is a testimony of God’s kindness and provision.
Over the course of a year a non-christian friend of mine who owns a plastics company, gifted us £20,000 towards our social action work! His generosity meant we began to pay attention to what God might be doing and saying to us as the pandemic began to change the face of our nation. What was God positioning us for? How could we help?
As we prayed and sought God the story of the feeding of the 5000 came to us. In this story there is a large crowd that have been listening to Jesus all day. They are hungry but are miles from the nearest town. Jesus has a little fun with the disciples and challenges them to feed all the people. The challenge is met by a lack of faith in almost all of them but one of the disciples, Andrew – steps forward in faith. He presents the lunch of small boy. Five loaves and two fish. Thats all they had. No matter how bad you are at math you’ll be able to see the problem.
Back to the money we had in the bank.
We’d outgrown our office and foodbank storage space. As a leadership team we began to look at some options of a possible shop front. But no matter what doors we pushed, or how much we prayed, we couldn’t seem to move forward. What was going on?
I’m not always the most patient of people. During a particulary furstrated moment I took to my laptop to see if I could widen our search permameters. I began to look for lease properties that I knew were basically too big for us. And there it was. A former council library right on the main shopping street inour community. It had sat empty for three years. I would love to say I was super spiritual and knew straight away this was it but in the back of my mind I knew I’d have a hard time convincing others we should look at it.
Hull’s property prices are lower than most places in the country and yet the 20k we had in the bank was the equivalent of the little boys lunch. But in the hands of Jesus… A long story short; God gave us favour with the landlords who responded so well to our letter describing everything we’d like to do with the venue to help the community. We were able to secure the venue for 5 years at a third of the original asking price. We can;t wait to open the doors to the public during the week in September and have been enjoying meeting there as a church community in person since restrictions lifted!!!