(Play History Video)
(Illuminate Series Slide)
All right! Let’s go!
This is an exciting day for our church, and I’m so glad you are here with us this morning.
My name is David Sorn; I’m the Lead Pastor here.
We are going to be talking at length about what our plans are for the future.
Today, my aim is to give you a broad overview of what those plans are.
And then, in the subsequent 3 weeks, you’ll get to hear even more.
In that video, you just heard about some of the defining moments in the life of our church…and now, we’re launching into another defining moment.
That’s why I want to ask something of you right here at the outset:
Would you do whatever it takes to be incredibly engaged and connected here for the next 21 days?
To be here each Sunday during this Series (or catch up on the app if you were out of town).
And we have a couple of events coming up (that’ll you hear about in a minute) that we really want you all to be a part of as well
We are calling this teaching series, and this next phase of our church’s story, Illuminate.
To illuminate something is to make it visible, or bright, by shining light on it.
And that is what Christians are called to do to the darkness around us.
Before we jump into details, we need to start, as always, in God’s Word.
This is from Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount.
And He is giving the people a vision of how His followers should live and act.
And here is what Jesus says:
(Matthew 5:14-16) – NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(A Light on the Corner Slide)
Next week, we’re going to talk about how Jesus calls Himself the light of the world.
But here, we see that Jesus also calls His followers the light of the world.
And if we look closely at the text, notice in verse 14, Jesus doesn’t say, “I want you each to become a light.”
He says, “You ARE the light”
If you are one of His followers, you already are a light.
You’ve been given the responsibility to be a light to others.
To illuminate their path to God.
Because that’s the purpose of being a light.
That’s verse 16:
That others may see how we live, and then, not glorify us (“Oh you’re such a good person, NO”, but glorify our Father in heaven!
And so, if you already are a light, it’s critical that we don’t hide our Christian walk from anyone.
Jesus says that’s like taking a lamp and putting it under a bowl.
The lamp loses its very purpose & function that way.
And so do we when we hide what we believe in and WHOM we trust in.
No, one of our core functions as followers in Jesus is to Illuminate the darkness around us.
And that’s true of our personal lives (and we’re going to talk a lot more about that in the weeks to come), but it’s also true of who we are together as a church body.
We are like a city on a hill.
This church, is a beautiful light, on a great big corner of this city.
And God is using it.
And when we come together, when we put our lights together, God can do magnificent things through us.
And God is doing that, in our midst…right now.
People are flooding through these doors every Sunday.
Neighbors in our community, co-workers among us, are asking, “What’s happening at that place? What’s going on?”
And together, we are illuminating the darkness around us and giving glory to God.
I talked to a guy about a month ago who was at the bottom of the bottom.
And he told me, “I drive by here every week…and I see the cars, and all the people…and I knew, I just had to come in and find God”
And He came…and He gave His life to Christ.
And not only is the light shining brightly from our corner, we are illuminating the darkness as we disciple new believers to go out and follow Jesus in their everyday lives.
Since we have opened the doors of this building, we have seen 190 people come to Christ
190 new believers!
And we don’t just leave them hanging.
We disciple them.
As soon as they make a decision for Christ at the end of the service, we begin matching them with either a believer from our church that they already know at our church or a member of our follow-up team.
And we then disciple them, 1-on-1 for the next 8 weeks on how to follow Jesus.
How to read the Bible
How to pray
How to serve and trust God
With the goal being by the end of the 8 weeks they are connected into a House Group.
We are disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
So much so, that, as many of you know, we are beginning to run out of room.
In fact, let me show you what’s been happening here since we moved into this building.
(Attendance Graph #1).
In the light grey on the left, you’ll see our attendance history up to this point.
We moved into this building from our rented school with 500 people in February of 2021 (2 years ago this weekend actually)
“But, that was less than a year into COVID, and so we didn’t publicize that we were open.
And yet, even then, in 7 months, we grew by 150 people by saying nothing.
We officially opened this place and did our Grand Opening in September of 2021, and continued to grow from there.
Growing to 850 by February of last year.
And at present day, we are averaging somewhere between 1250 and 1300 people every Sunday.
And so, we have been constantly trying to forecast out what growth will look like for the future (and you can see that in the dark grey)
When we get to 1400, we will be very tight in here…
…that is, we’re pretty much out of room, even at 4 services.
There is one thing we do to help as a quick interim solution.
As many of you have experienced, our main choke point is parking, and so ever since we secured that corner lot 6 months ago, we’ve had a plan in place to add parking there as soon as we can.
Extra parking spaces would increase our growth cap in the building to something like 1600 people on a Sunday.
Which if things slow down a decent amount (like they do in this model here), we’d be completely out of room (even with extra parking) in 18 months.
But, as many of you have asked me, what if they don’t slow down?
(Show attendance graph #2)
Here’s what that looks like. Check out the blue line.
If things don’t slow down here, we’re on pace to run out of room in the next 6 to 10 months.
And so unless we act, the days are coming, when we will be turning people away at the door, and we won’t have room.
In fact, in some ways, those days are already here.
Many of you were here just a little over a month ago when we were out of room back at 3 services.
And a family of 5 walked in, couldn’t find a seat, and so they walked out.
And I was visibly frustrated about it, so I said something about it out loud in my message, and some of our people ran out after the family.
And we found them seats, and they stayed.
And amazingly, the mother of that family, heard the Gospel, and gave her life to Jesus Christ.
And I felt like God gave us that as a picture, and a warning.
That there are indeed hundreds more who are going to want to come here…your friends and family who one day may yes to your invitation…
…and if we don’t have room for them, we may be forced to turn them away on the day they finally come…
And I never, never want that to be our situation.
BUILDING EXPANSION DETAILS
And so….we need to knock down some of these walls and expand this building.
As I begin to show you our plans for how we’re going to do this, I’m going to ask our Ushers to hand out our Illuminate Booklet that our staff has put together for you.
(Ushers hand out booklets)
If you have extras at the end of your row, no worries, they will come and get that.
I believe at defining moments like this, it’s important to communicate as clearly as possible.
So we’ve personally put together this guide to help you understand this exciting next step.
If you don’t have the booklet in front of you later, a PDF of this is available on our website as well.
I want to ask that every single person in this room read through this booklet today…or sometime this week at the latest…
We want you to feel fully informed.
(Put up House Group Q&A slide)
In fact, I’m going to come to ALL 17 of our house groups THIS week.
And I’m going to personally do Question & Answer sessions about Illuminate and our expansion...and I’d love to see you there.
So, if you can, make it a goal to try and get this Booklet read before I come to your group this week
If you’re not able to make your House Group this week, or you’re not in a House Group (yet!), I will be doing a Q&A between 2nd & 3rd service in the Meeting Room here next Sunday as well.
All right…let’s start looking at how exactly we’re going to expand this building, and thus reach more people for Christ.
Let’s take a look at our floorplan on pages 8 and 9.
(Put Floorplan on screen)
The yellow is our original footprint…the building we are in now.
And so you can see the lobby will expand outward into our current parking lot.
We’re expanding from 6 to 11 kids’ classrooms
The worship center will expand backwards.
In fact, when we built built the shell / the roof structure of this Worship Center, we built it for Phase 2 expansion
And so if you look behind you, you’re looking at the 2 of our current kids classrooms on this side, and the Meeting room and some office space on this side.
We built those rooms within this worship center, so expanding it is as easy as knocking down those walls and adding seats in the back.
And then on the left here, you can see that we’re adding adult classroom space for our Renovation U program that is exploding, and this also allows us to have extra meeting space on Sunday mornings (which is currently very tight right now)
And then we’ve got an expanded office space for our staff which is also growing quickly and has grown from 9 to 17 just since we’ve moved into the building.
Okay, now that you’ve got a sense of how it’s laid out, do you want to see a video of it?
All right! Take a look at this video from our architects at Station 19
(Play FlyThrough Video) and narrate the video as you go.
(Floorplan on screen)
You might also be curious about our fully expanded Parking Lot
You can find that drawing on page 10 of your booklet.
(Show Parking Lot slide)
Currently, our parking lot goes from here to here.
Right now, we have 208 parking spots, but honestly we needed closer to 270 for the current size of our building.
This new plan gives us 510 parking spots!
We will also have a right in / right out off of 125th, and are hoping to add one on Lexington Ave as well!
If you have more questions, there is also a Frequently Asked Questions guide in the back of the Booklet, or come to a House Group this week and ask me personally.
I wanted you to begin to see our Illuminate Booklet this morning…but at this point, I’m actually going to ask you all to put the Booklet under your chair for a bit.
Because what we’re talking about today is so important that I don’t want you to miss it.
(A Light on the Corner Slide)
Alright, our original building we are currently in is 21,000 square feet.
We are adding on 24,000 square feet.
The original building cost $6,000,000.
This project is currently slated to cost $8.75 million dollars.
It’s higher because it’s more square feet
We’re also doing work within current footprint (knocking down walls and such.)
And, everything costs more after 2 years of inflation, supply chain issues, and more.
With all of that in mind, at a cost of 8.75 million, we need to raise an additional 4 million dollars in giving over the next 3 years.
As far as timelines for breaking ground, our plan for the last year has always been to add 70 or so parking spots this late Spring, and then break ground on this building expansion a little over a year from now in Spring of 2024.
However, even though we’ve already been open here for 18 months, over the last few months, we are growing so fast, that our growth is literally speeding up.
Since we opened, we’ve been growing at about a 45-50% pace, but now it’s increased to 65%.
And because of this now, astronomical growth, we’re going to need to adapt from our original plan to build in 2024.
(Show attendance graph #2).
And so this blue line (and you could make a case that it should be even steeper than this) is becoming the most likely scenario.
And if we keep the standard plan, and we wait until Spring of 2024 to build…
… if things really slow down, that’s probably okay.
But if things don’t slow down, and we still wait until 2024 to build, we are absolutely going to we be turning away large groups of people …probably every week, for over an entire year.
And so, based on the movement of God that’s happening right in front of our eyes, we need to break ground this summer.
However, in our recent talks, the bank has told us that if we want to break ground not in 2024, but this summer, we are going to actually need over 4 million dollars in 3 year pledges.
So think of 4 million as not a goal, but more like a floor.
4 million dollars would allow us to get to Phase 2 and break ground in a little over a year, but it’ll actually take over 4 million to break ground this summer like we think we need to. .
I know that’s a lot, but let me share, what I hope is encouraging news.
As you might imagine, there is a long runway in getting ready for something like today.
And along that runway, we’ve had some early conversations with people in our church and leaders in our church to make sure we’re ready for this next season
And so I’m excited to tell you that from those early conversations with people within our church, we’ve already received 1.6 million dollars of pledges.
But we still have 2.4 million to go, and honestly, probably more than that if we’re going to break ground this summer like we think we need to.
But we serve a big God.
And as you saw in that video, and many of you have seen with your own eyes over the years, God has been SO faithful to this church for SO long.
He has miraculously moved over and over and over again.
Even when it looked like the odds were stacked against us.
But if God is going to do this, it will take all our participation.
We need to be like the people who believed (and sacrificed) back in 2014 when these days seemed ages into the future.
That kind of faith is the history, the legacy of this church.
And I pray it continues to be our future.
If this is going to happen, I believe we’re going to need participation from every single person in this room.
It’s not going to happen otherwise.
It’s that big of a stretch.
COMMITMENT SUNDAY & CONCLUSION
And so here is how this will all come together:
(Put up Commitment Sunday slide)
Three weeks from today (on Feb. 26th), the Illuminate series will conclude with a “Commitment Sunday”
We’re asking you all to pray about making a 3-year financial pledge on that day.
A pledge towards how we can continue to Illuminate more of the darkness together.
And it’s a pledge of how you will give…and that’s “above and beyond giving”
So, it’s in addition to what you may already be giving to the General Fund here.
In other words, we can’t all move our regular giving to the Illuminate Fund, because then the heat won’t be on next week because we wouldn’t be able to pay our gas bill 😊
But please hear this: This is a spiritual journey first.
Do not start locking in a financial number yet.
I believe all financial decisions should also be spiritual
What I am asking every single one of you to do now… is to pray.
To seek God…on how He would use you in this.
But let’s continue to trust in God
He is doing absolutely amazing things here
Like I said, 190 people have already given their lives to Christ!
You’ve heard their stories at Baptism Sundays.
Lives are being absolutely transformed.
Marriages are being changed.
Souls are being saved!
The light is shining out from this corner!
This is a city on a hill that cannot be hidden!
And we want to see more of that.
And listen, I want to be very clear: We are not gonna change who we are.
We are going to keep doing what we’re doing.
Teaching what the Bible really says
Getting 80% of our people into House Groups
Leading people to Christ
We’re going to keep planting autonomous church plants out of here as fast as we possibly can!
We want to continue to be disciples who make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.
And God is doing that here.
You may say, “David this is a lot…there are a lot of people here”
And I say, “There are 55,000 people in Blaine alone who are on the path to hell right now.”
But I say, not in my city.
Not in our county.
We’ve got the light
You are a light!
We are a light!
And we’re gonna do whatever it takes to illuminate the darkness
END OF SERVICE
All right, we’ve come to the end of our service, but I do want to let you know that if you’re hearing about a movement of Jesus that intrigues you…
Would you do 1 of 2 things for me today?
Would you either take one of those Bibles under our chairs and start reading it for yourself? Start at the Book of Matthew and find out what it’s all about.
Or 2) Stop by after the service and talk with our follow-up team about how you can have a relationship with Jesus by believing He died on the cross for your sins.
On your way out, don’t forget your Illuminate Booklets, and I’ll see you, at your House Group this week!
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.