I often stand in the hall of our community building and look east through the glass doors toward the old building. In the morning especially, one can look through the doors of both buildings and see clear through to the parking lot. The old building hall is long, the floor really shines, doors line both sides and it reminds me of the V. A. hospital I frequently visited when I ministered in Kansas—orderly, straight and institutional.
Even though clean and well kept, it doesn’t look very user-friendly. As you walk down the hall searching for classrooms it’s like looking into stables with the split doors. There isn’t much here that shouts at first glance, “We love your family and want you to join us in worshipping our God.” Now peek inside a classroom door and many of them do show we care. The building was designed in the mid-sixties when formality was what counted.
Vickie and I visit other churches when we vacation and the newer buildings really do say we love kids, we love teenagers, we love people of all ages. Architecture and design can say that as well as provide accessibility. Our current structure just doesn’t lend itself to remodeling, either. This summer and fall we have faced some repair issues that indicate we are just at the beginning of a season of repair work. After all, the main building is about 50 years old. If we are going to proclaim Christ effectively in Longview and help believers become committed disciples of Jesus, we are going to have to do something facility-wise.
I once was asked what my dream would be for a new building. Well, since I am dreaming—I would like for someone to give us about 4 million dollars. Then we could stay right here at 2400 McCann Road, build a new worship and classroom structure in the field on the west end of the property and put in more off-street parking. Then we could tear down the old building and build a youth center. (Well, if I am dreaming why not dream big?) Unless you know something I don’t, that’s probably not going to happen. I think the acceptance of the new proposal and move to this new location at the old movie theater on Highway 31 is what is best for LCC in the long run.
Here are some reasons I think this new proposal is good for LCC:
- Longview Christian Church is a destination church. A very few people attending live within walking distance and most drive several miles to attend anything held at the building. I am really unaware of any real neighborhood churches in Longview.
- There is no practical way to redesign the present building to match our ministry needs.
- Maintenance on infrastructure is going to become more challenging in our present facilities. The discovery this summer of high voltage arcing in the meter base of our electrical system was frightening.
- This current proposal is more to the size of our anticipated growth. We were only going to build out about half of the building in the previously proposed building.
- There is green space on the proposed site.
- Many of the safety concerns that were raised about the previous proposal are not major issues at this new site.
- Selling our current property, buying this proposed building and remodeling it are very much within our ability—with just enough “unknown” to lead us to trust God for direction.
- Repurposing buildings has become good stewardship of churches all across America. Repurposing this Longview icon does two things: 1) helps us be good stewards of God’s resources 2) shows the community that we are more about ministry than about structures.
It is exciting thinking about moving into that theater building once it is fixed up. I am not the only one who thinks it is exciting, either. LCC is about to enter her second 25 years of ministry and this gives us the chance to have a facility to meet our ministry style. If you are a part of the LCC family I hope you, too, will experience the excitement in partnering with God in ministry in the Longview area and beyond.
Working with God in ministry is hard work but worth the results.