One major area of development in New Life over recent years has been the plans to move to a bigger venue, by either extending, buying or building a new home. It’s been quite a journey!
Our building in Bridlington Avenue continues to be stretched to capacity through the week, and though the journey is taking longer than any of us hoped, we are still walking forwards to fulfil this dream. I thought it might be useful to recap some of our journey and update you:
– 2008/9 “Extend!”- In about 2008/9 God began to speak to us about having a larger place to meet, in order to contain and release further growth. Having taken professional advice that informed us we could extend our current building to seat 700 for around £500,000, we set about planning it and raising money (quickly raising £100,000!).
– 2010 “Extension overpriced!” – In summer 2010, once fully drawn and costed, the plans turned out to be more in the region of £1.2 million, a massive difference, and we felt before God that this was not a good spend of money for such a small extension, so halted this plan. Over the next period, as the plans had adjusted, everyone who had given to the extension appeal was informed, and everyone was publically offered their financial gifts returned (A legal requirement…though no-one took it!). We continued to raise money for the principle of a future new building, whether bought or built, and looked at buildings all over Hull.
– 2010 Offer on Kingswood Parks Building – In 2010, after a period of prayer and reflection we began to feel led towards investing in the new Kingswood Parks development and put an offer in on a 1900 m2 warehouse building that was available to buy. This bid fell through due to difficulties on the sellers side.
– 2011 Plans to Build – So, through 2011 we prayerfully discussed and planned how to take the dream forward, and eventually looked into building on Kingswood, spending time discussing & making plans, costs, and in meetings with architects, planners, financers and developers.
– April 2012 Launch the Bid to Build – In April 2012 we formally launched the plans to build on Kingswood, continuing to raise funds, and worked with a developer and architect giving us a lot of “free of charge” work to design the building. Unfortunately, the developer stepped away from the project and we were left to continue without them, which has slowed progress once again.
– 2013 New Partnership developing – In 2013, after searching for the right partner for the project, we began to work with a Christian company that is helping churches through such journeys with great success.
– 2014 Plans continue! – TODAY we are working to consider how to develop Bridlington Avenue once the main congregation leaves, and to develop the new plans for a new building on Kingswood.
Don’t be discouraged – Without a doubt, when you start to look towards building a church home for over 1000 people to gather, with school, community, conferencing, performing arts and ministries, it takes longer than most of us imagine! But the length of our project, and the twists and turns, are not unusual for a project this size and some great things have come of this journey:
– We’ve raised over £250,000 of our own money for the project. Well done!
– We’ve learned loads about how to/and not to/build and do such projects. Wisdom is vital.
– We’ve changed as a church – so we truly are growing up in the core strengths needed as a bigger church. This, to me, is far more valuable than bricks and mortar could ever be! But without the challenge of this project, we never would have faced these changes.
And as we’ve not really let the building vision “take” from our energy to reach the lost or be a great, growing church, we can also celebrate all the other good stuff that’s gone on with this journey:
We’ve started a school; held tours, services & outreaches (sometimes for months) in a dozen East Yorkshire Yorkshire towns; done multiple services & multi-site services with hundreds saved; seen amazing miracles with empty wheelchairs and dozens of deaf ears healed. We’ve seen our youth light up ablaze with God’s power and held some of the biggest events, drawing people from across the world to meet God.
We’ve also grown from a little over 200 to well over 400 in the last 8 years, and gone from one campus, to three. We’re now learning how to be “Happy, Healthy and at Home” with a growing family.
So never be discouraged by how long it takes. Just keep walking toward the dream God gives us. With Him, all things are possible! Endure, persevere, keep in faith. Trust God through the twists and turns and He will get us where He wants us.
More news about how we are going to reach Kingswood Parks in other ways THIS YEAR coming soon!