It’s amazing what God is doing when it doesn’t look like he’s doing anything at all.
Two years ago, we felt we should expand our facility to make more room to love more people. We noticed people were being turned away do to lack of seats, and that our ability to reach our community was being impeded by our lack of space. God had already led Vista on a journey that allowed us to meet in a school cafeteria, a basketball gym, and our current facility, and we really believed that expanding was simply our “Next Phase”.
The Next Phase involved increasing the size of this auditorium for worship, adding new kids and student spaces to invest in the next generation, and additional lobby and parking spaces to allow circulation. However, just when we thought we were ready for construction to begin….we hit a few roadblocks. Our construction bids came in much higher than expected, lenders seemed to be nervous invest in what they saw as a “start up church”, and we began to question whether our church was really healthy enough to take on more growth. God seemed to hit the brakes and put us into a season of waiting.
While it would have been easy to question everything, we always knew that God was still leading Vista, and that faithfully waiting was the best thing we could do. So we’ve waited, and we wanted to let you in on a few things that have happened in the waiting.
We’ve strengthened our leadership in three ways
- We recently moved to a co-pastor model with Dave Jeffreys and Austin Fischer sharing leadership over Vista.
- We have added two new elders (Steve Brischke and Mark Whittaker) to strengthen our spiritual leadership.
- We have added to our staff team (Nick Followwell, Community Pastor; Jonah Fox, Missions Coordinator) to make sure we can disciple the people God has brought us and unleash our resources into our community.
We’ve challenged our church to engage in the discipleship pathway
- The number of people volunteering has grown by 50%.
- Nearly 200 households have began to give on a consistent basis for the first time.
- We’ve had nearly 100 profess their allegiance to Jesus through baptism.
New opportunities arose around expansion
- We assembled a team of experts within our church to help reduce cost without reducing square footage.
- We had the opportunity to purchase 4.2 acres to our west which will prevent us from getting landlocked in the future. We would not have had the cash to move forward had everything happened as we expected in 2016.
- We saw growth in the Student Ministry and adjusted the plans to create a new student-specific environment.
- Our financial health continued to grow, allowing lenders more favorable conditions to work with us.
As you can tell, God has been very busy during this period of waiting.
In May, we prayerfully evaluated our position and ultimately felt like God was giving us just enough information to take a step forward in faith. We put the project back out to bid, but we knew that several trains had to reach the station at the right time for us to be able to move forward. Our capacity for debt service had to increase to a certain point, our bids had to come back within a very small (and low) window, and we needed to prove to ourselves that our church was in a healthy spot to begin the Next Phase. In early June those questions were all answered with a resounding “green light”.
Therefore, we are excited to announce that we are officially moving forward with our Next Phase!
While we celebrate as a church family, we want to be clear on what we are celebrating. We aren’t celebrating metal studs and drywall. We’re celebrating God’s faithfulness to continue to lead the Vista. We hope that if you happen to find yourself in a season of waiting, that you can be reminded and encouraged….that God is still with you….and that his plan is infinitely better than our own. We have also learned that you can’t always manufacture the next step on your own (God knows if that was the case then we would have built something two years ago). You have to be willing to pause and discern God’s will through prayer, and then be willing to take a big step of faith when you may by only 90% certain. But once you take that step, you can often look back and see the signs that God was with you and for you the whole time.
Wondering how you can be a part of what God is doing through the Next Phase project?
In 2016 we asked our whole church to consider giving above and beyond for three years to help make this financially possible. If you are new to Vista, we would ask you to consider joining in on that same commitment, whatever the amount is each month. Every bit helps. This entire project was only made possible when our whole church stepped up together and committed to something. You can setup auto recurring giving (and even plan the stop date to be three years from today) online at www.thevista.tv/give
Other questions about Next Phase? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org