Archive for June, 2012

“God Opens a Window…”

Posted in Church Planting on June 21, 2012 by Waypoint Church Partners

You’ve heard it before: “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

I never fully understood that saying because a window is really a much smaller opening and could be on a different story and therefore very difficult to climb into and out of. I’d like the saying to go, “When God closes a door, He knocks down an entire wall,” or “When God closes a door, it’s just so He can kick it in,” but that doesn’t quite have the same effect.

All jokes aside, we’ve all had doors slammed in our face. Doors that we thought were God’s will in our lives. Doors that were good things… godly things… that just didn’t work out. It usually feels like God is completely shutting us out, and that cracking open of a window is just not big enough for all of our hopes and dreams to fit through.

When the twenty remaining members of Chapel Hill Wesleyan decided to officially close the doors of their 25-year-old church, it must have felt like failure. Not long ago they were a thriving young church of 140 who were blessed to buy property at a steal in Chapel Hill in 1996. One of their members was a contractor and took an entire year off of work to build the property, asking only for money for supplies. God was working, moving, and growing their church.

By Easter 2008, however, it was a different story. Their faith never wavered, but their attendance steadily dropped until Easter morning, when the remaining 20 congregants decided that Chapel Hill Wesleyan was no more.

That could have been the end of the story. It could have defeated them. But the courageous members of Chapel Hill Wesleyan had the wisdom and vision to see past the slamming door and through the window that God was opening.

Rather than simply calling it quits, selling the land, and dividing the spoils, they decided to gift their property to another younger, thriving church plant in the area – LoveChapelHill. The guys at LCH were honored but had no real need for the space on Sunday mornings, since they have a specific vision for the downtown area of Chapel Hill.

A little over a month ago, these guys came to Varsity Christian Church and said, “We have this space we will never use. Recently, we have other groups who have come to us and would like to rent it. We told them we are in deep talks with another local church about the space. You guys are that church!”

To catch you up, in case you don’t already know, Varsity Church was planted by Chad Simpkins in Chapel Hill in January 2011 with the help of the VEF. They’ve been meeting in the Regal Timberlyne 6 Theater since day one, and since then they’ve grown to about 80 members. Their current space has some definite limitations, mostly in the weekly set-up and tear-down, and the layout simply doesn’t suit their needs in a number of ways. The Chapel Hill Wesleyan building, on the other hand, is a much better fit.

Chad took some time to reflect and pray before giving an answer. He says, “After talking to our management team, seeking advice from people outside of Varsity and after speaking with our church leaders, we felt this was a move we couldn’t pass up.“

 There’s still much to do – LoveChapelHill and Varsity are working in conjunction to remodel the space and not only make it more modern and family-friendly, but also turn it into a Community Center that the surrounding neighborhoods can use throughout the week.

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