As we mentioned this past Sunday, we have set a goal of raising $60,000 over the next 6 months so that we can finally finish off the this great space that God has given to us.  This coming Sunday we are going to collect pledge cards during or service, and then on Sunday night we’ll post here updating how we did!

But I thought we’d take a few minutes over the next few days to share a bit about why we are doing this, as well as what we are hoping to see happen.  So first the why question…”why are we raising $60,000?”

To answer that, let me go back a couple of years to when we first found this former hardware store (actually, two years ago this month). Now, for those of you who part of the Vineyard back then, when  you first came in to see this place, you probably wondered what we were thinking…It was not what you would call an impressive space…there was pegboard covering all of the walls  there were big, ugly, loud, heaters hanging from the ceiling; there were things living in the walls.  In fact as we were tearing out the walls in order to insulate and put up new walls, we encountered a number of things that were formerly living in the walls…(ugh).

One of the most fun nights here was when James was cleaning out one of the walls, found some strangely shaped thing and was picking in up in his bare hands trying to figure out what it was…only to discover it was a dead bird.  (Of course, the night I drove a nail into the palm of my hand, and felt the sensation in my elbow was not quite so fun.)

And the building wasn’t our only challenge…
Lansing has a zoning ordinance that says a place of assembly cannot meet in a high traffic commercial area. So we had to get the zoning changed…that required going all the way to the state government.  There were parking issues.  But everything fell into place…usually a bit slower than we would have liked.

Once we got the zoning issue addressed, our lease began, and we started paying rent.   The problem was, that we didn’t even have a building permit (long story).  And it would be another 7 months before we got one.  Paying rent on a building you can’t actually use does tend to eat into your budget.

But once we got in, we started making great progress…of course when you are trying to do a project of this magnitude, with people who not only are not skilled labor, but also have full-time jobs…things moved along, but there were obviously some challenges along the way.

Then of course, last fall, we found out that our time at the school was coming to a close a bit sooner than we had anticipated, so we spent an insane couple of weeks getting the place into move in shape.  And we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Bill Williams for leading this whole project and seeing it through to where we are now..

As we got to last October, it was clear we’d have to move in before the building was fully ready.  And over the past 8 months we’ve been able to enjoy our new space, (we don’t have to move chairs anymore on Sunday:-)  But now it seems like its time to get the building finished off.  We wanted to give people some time to catch their breath a bit, since we recognize the effort so many put in to get us to this point.  At this point however, we want to take the next step and finish off the building.

Tomorrow I’ll write up some of the things we are planning on getting done with this project…I’ll just mention one really quick here.  The picture above doesn’t look all that impressive, but over the past 8 months our Vineyard Kids have had to use adult size tables & chairs.  Over the past few months some money was given to purchase some tables & chairs for the kids, and today the first batch of chairs came in!  One of the major areas we want to address it to get the Vineyard Kids area where it should be…we really want this space to be a “wow!” experience for parents & kids.  Stuff that is actually built for kids, is a great place to start!

More tomorrow!