When God changes directions

Leap of faith

Finding God’s will and direction for our lives can sometimes be very tricky. We pray diligently for His wisdom and discernment, we think His answers and direction are clear and we start going down a road that appears to be the right one. Then rather abruptly, His steering causes a sharp right turn and we are on a path we never expected or anticipated. His leading is anything but predictable.

That has happened to our community as we have been praying and working to find our next temporary facility. We have been praying consistently since we learned last year we needed to be out of Southwest Christian High School in the middle of June. It was difficult because most locations that would work for us were already being rented on Sunday mornings.

In our search we made connection with the Outpost Ministry Center and the more we talked to them, the more we felt it would be a great ministry partnership where we both could benefit. It genuinely felt like God’s leading. We worked on plans to remodel their building that would make it doable for our services and acceptable to the Outpost. We had a tentative agreement and took it to the county to get building permits. During the permitting process, the county told us that any remodeling of the existing building would require a fire prevention sprinkler system and an elevator if we used the second floor. This made the project cost prohibitive for both us and the Outpost.

So we had to go back to the drawing board and come up with another plan. We thought we landed on a good one. That was to build a separate building for classrooms that would be attached to the existing building by a breeze way. Again we both thought the cost would be palatable for both of us. But we got bids back for the construction and again the cost was so much higher than we thought, that we knew this would not work. It was a disappointment because we had thought this was God’s leading and felt like partnership was clearly form God.

When we first began to negotiate with the Outpost, there was not another obvious location for a temporary site. But as we were in process with the Outpost, a church that had been renting out Chaska High School decided to merge with another church in Shakopee. So the Chaska HS auditorium became available. We didn’t think much about it, because it looked so promising in our talks with the Outpost. But when God closed that door, He provided the CHS as a great alternative. This is the abrupt right turn I was talking about.

CHS is a great option that God has provided for two significant reasons. First, the cost is less than half of what we are paying at SWCHS today. That will free resources up for a number of areas and provide us with some important financial flexibility. Second, this move (God willing) will help us get into our permanent site much faster than we were planning. We were looking at a two to three year commitment at the Outpost, but, there is no long term lease commitment required at the High School. So, as soon as we have the plans and financial resources in place we can begin the building process. It has been a challenging time finding our next site but God has been faithful and has led us to a great place.

I want to thank all of you that are on this faith journey with us. It is rarely easy following God, but as we do that He is faithful to provide and lead us in ways that we never expected or thought possible. Sometimes our only available form of transportation is a leap of faith. Thanks for joining us in this great adventure of building God’s church!

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“Wow! That was a fabulous small group time”, my wife and I told each other as we left.  I walked away from our small group on Sunday deeply encouraged.  We had a group of 12 people, some new to the group and some have been together for a number of years. Some of us have never met before and some had been walking together through this life for years. The encouragement I felt didn’t come from anything extraordinary or out of place that happened. It was basically a simple small group where we had some unstructured time to connect, did a Bible study and then prayed for each other.  Pretty routine stuff. It’s basically what we do every time we get together.

Then what was it that had me so exhilarated?  It was hard to put my finger on. I really had to think about why this group time was so good for my soul. One reason is the privilege of just being together with the people that have been in the group for a long time. Just going through the ups and downs of life with a small group of people is so encouraging.  Walking with each other through bad medical diagnosis, unemployment or bad employment, concussions, bad backs difficulties with children.  Walking with each other through the joys of answered prayers, new jobs, and restored relationships.  Encouraging each other to go hard after God and put your trust in him when we can’t see any good reason to do that. We have a really good group.

But I had known that for a long time, so that wasn’t the full reason for all my encouragement. Then it dawned on me. I was most excited because the new people that had come to the group were going to get to experience that same deep connection that I have got to experience over the last couple of years.  A while ago our group decided that we needed to add new people to the group so others could experience the community that was so encouraging to us. Now we have added so many new people that we are going to have to multiply and start another group.  But that is exciting because God wants to be sharing and multiplying his love and grace to others.  That’s what he has called us to do.  Now that is encouraging!