I have often wondered why you don't read more about the various works of God in the Churches across this country. We hear and read of many personal testimonies of God's power and love but what about the Church collective endeavors. Surely He is at work doing wonderful things in many Churches today as He did in the past and will in the future until the Lord returns. In Hebrew's we read about the steps of faith of a few and how God blessed them and enabled them to accomplish far more than they could imagine for His glory. If each Church in this country would record but one step of faith they took together, I'm sure we all would be encouraged and praise God for his mighty power and works. Maybe other Churches would also take more steps of faith because of what they learn from the history of other Churches. It is with this thought in mind that I provide some history about LACC.
The original members of the Church formed sometime in 1962 or 63 and came from Springfield or Medway, Ohio. I don't believe any of those original members still attend LACC, however, they did many things for the Lord ie formed the congregation; built a nice facility that would hold about 125 people; conducted Sunday and weekly services and started several mission support projects that still exist today. In 36 years, only two Preachers (Evangelists) have served at the Church. This is a remarkable testimony for these Evangelists and the congregation that supported them. I wish I knew more about the founding members and their steps of faith but I could not find any Church records that might give me that insight.
I started attending LACC in 1986, if I remember right. At that time the Church membership was less than 100 people. The Church was very traditional and membership had not changed for several years. The size of the facility was a limiting factor for growth both for Sunday School and Worship services. Double worship services were started sometime in early 1990 along with a change in the style of services. Praise and worship was emphasized with modern music and use of overheads. A lot of people started using their talents in many ways. The spirit was positive and growth begin but we soon realized the size of the facility was a limiting factor. The foyer into the main sanctuary was about 10' by 10' and more class rooms were badly needed. The building was not designed for easy expansion. Membership grew to about 130 but the facility was not going to accommodate more people. Sometime in 1993 it was apparent to everyone that we needed to start a new building program if growth was to continue. The vision was a multi-purpose building that could be used not only for worship but for various youth activities and fellowship. Most of the new families were young with small children and a multi purpose facility was the way for the future. The goal was that with a larger facility (seating up to 500) we could grow three times.
We had the land to build a new facility but a multi purpose building was going to be a very expensive project. We first thought the project would cost around $500,000, however, we soon learned it could be up to $900,000 including the furnishings. We started a building fund and told everyone what we felt the Lord wanted us to do. After a year we had raised $10,000 which was not sufficient even to get a building design. At this rate it would be years and we needed the space now. It became apparent we needed some professional help. We used the $10,000 for a consultant for a stewardship campaign. He challenged our faith and also knew how to plan and organize a very effective three year Together We Build campaign. To my surprise we received commitments of $230,000 over three years. Funds started coming in but even with this it would still take years to raise all the amount needed. With much reluctance we started seeking other sources of funds from local banks. The prospects did not look good since the old building was the only asset we had and with the commitments we would still need close to $670,000 after three years. I don't know how it happened (the Lord does) but someone suggested we issue bonds for the entire construction and let the commitments be used to pay the bond holders monthly payments. This sounded favorable but the license and legal requirements were extensive and we again realized we needed professional help. The Lord provides and at the right time a person showed up who knew about Church bonds.
After much prayer and discussion we decided to consider selling bonds even though this approach might not yield sufficient funds to complete the facility. The bonding company advised that we might be able to sell up to $700,000 of bonds but an appraisal of the existing building would be needed. Also we would have to build financial records; get the States approval; advertise the bonds; pay for the services of the bonding company; etc. All of this was time consuming and very expensive. We had a construction estimate, which was about $800,000, but some of the work we could do ourselves and get the building cost down to about $700,000. We decided to proceed with the bonds but at the last minute the bonding company advised we should not try to sell more than $625,000 of bonds. I think even the bonding company had doubts about the project. We deleted from the construction estimate some major cost items such as painting, carpet, parking lot paving and decided to proceed even though the construction contract was still more than the bond issue. We had no idea how we might pay to furnish and finish the inside of the building but the Lord did.
Members in the Church and their families bought about half of the bond issues. The balance were sold over the market to other congregations. We had to wait until at least 80% of the bonds were sold before we could start construction. Finally after $70,000 of expense and over two years we broke ground.
The construction was not without its problems. We experienced several months delay before it was completed but it ended less than the contract amount. We saved on those items we did ourselves and with the extra time, we ordered chairs and completed most of the carpet. The Lord does provide and on 10 March 1996 we had the first service in the new facility. Since that time we have gone on to complete and beautify the facility inside and out as shown below:
NEW BUILDING - FRONT VIEW
NEW BUILDING - SIDE VIEW
My main purpose for writing this record is to encourage other groups of believers in Christ that when the vision to build is clear, take the step of faith and do what He wants. Since that step many have accepted the Lord (the main objective); we have continued to grow (450 people attended last Easter); membership is over 200; the budget has grown over three times; $65,000 of the bonds have been paid; we have added a full time youth minister; and a number of new ministries are on going. Was it worth the step of faith? It sure was. Is He through with us? No way. The new building will hold only 500 people but it was designed so that it can be expanded when needed. Could it be that we will have to take another step of faith in the near future? Or should we wait on the Lord's return?