I’m excited to share with you that our church has reached an agreement and decided to purchase the Clip Joint building in downtown Monticello! We are currently beginning the process of finding a lender and securing a loan. This means that we will be leaving the Wal-mart shopping center that has been our transitional home for the past two years. It’s been a wonderful stage of growth and maturity for our church.
Since January 2003, we’ve met in seven different locations:
1. Our home… January 2003-May 2003… this is the time where we began to flesh out our core values and discover our initial core group.
2. the BCM at UAM… May-June 2003… We actually only met there for a few weeks before had needed to relocate. The leadership of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention at the time was not comfortable with us using the facility. I was serving as Director there at the time, and it was a blessing to be able to use the facility for as long as we did.
3. the Wesley Student Foundation at UAM… June-September 2003… The Wesley Foundation was more than kind as we met there for our adult worship and used the nearby Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship for our kids’ ministry area.
4. SEARK Boats… September 2003-March 2004… The folks at SEARK were awesome! And the building was an incredible opportunity for us to begin to establish ourselves in the community.
5. North Park Shopping Mall… March 2004-Present… We began renting a spot to the right of what was then Van Atkins. In October 2004, we had to turn that area over for our children! We grew fast! Our adults began meeting at…
6. Hollywood Cinema… October 2004-November 2005… this was awesome!! Although there was no popcorn, the seats were comfortable!
7. North Park Mall 2… November 2005-Present… we were able to rent the spot to the left of Stage (formerly Van Atkins) for our adult worship center. This was more convenient and was a lot less work, as far as set up and tear down!
Starting a new church in the south is difficult in a city, but it’s extremely difficult in a rural area. I am concerned that may churches are neglecting rural areas when they consider church plants because they opt for more immediate “success” and faster growth that comes in urban areas.
Yet, I’m convinced that planting new, vibrant, rural churches in our county is vitally important to proclaiming the message of grace in Christ and in reclaiming the thousands who have embraced Christianity with its forms but have not yet surrendered their lives to its Lord.
Please pray for our church as we begin this new stage of influence and discipleship!
Update.. 4/17/06… We decided NOT to go ahead and purchase the building downtown… We’re going to stay put in the NorthPark Mall for a while…