Monday, October 20, 2008

Now, the Discussion Starts!

I want to use this space to update you on the research our facilities team has done over the last several months. Let me start with a little background for newcomers.

The History

Cedarbrook Church started in January of 2003 with about 200 people, meeting at the CineMagic Theatre. We outgrew that space and moved to the Shops Off Broadway mall in the Fall of 2006. This space has served us in many ways, giving us more meeting space and a nice Children's Center but for a church of 400+ we are really cramped, spilling over into other rented space with many of our staff "officing" out of local coffee shops. To rent more space in the mall increases the cost considerably and still only gives us a temporary site.
So we determined a few months back that our next step is to move...not rent more mall space.

We created a facilities team made up of our LEAD Team and added to it a number of people with backgrounds in building, real estate, business and planning. Our goal was to assess our options for a new church facility. We didn't want to assume that building on our land (we purchased 14 acres one mile north of Wal-Mart a few years ago) was the "right" answer if buying an existing building would serve us better.

The Options

We looked at every option that could potentially work for us, some good and some bad, and we came down to these options:

  1. Build on our land
  2. Purchase the former Leever's grocery store
  3. Purchase the former Lehman and Larson building adjacent to Wal-Mart
  4. Be open to any late breaking opportunity that might open up.
Most of our time has been spent on options one and two above. Option three is new to us but has some attractive possibilities. We have hired a capital campaign company to help us raise funds for this effort (targeted to start in late January). What we want to do between now and January is start a discussion and see what resonates with the congregation. What gets us excited? What option will move us to give to make it a reality?

The Plan:
It would be ideal if we all agreed immediately on the best option. But short of that kind of miracle we want to at least engage the Cedarbrook family in a discussion to find out what everyone is thinking. On November 9 and 16 we will invite focus groups representing different subcategories of Cedarbrook attenders (students, townies, rural, parents, etc.) to give us their thoughts and ideas on our options. We also hope to engage other community groups (the Chamber, etc.) to give us their input as well. We will process all of this information, along with other research that we hope to gather, to gain consensus for one of the options. If we can't gain consensus before we launch the capital campaign we will delay the campaign.

My Request:

I have a few things to ask of you;
  1. Pray. This is big. This is huge. This decision will impact the nature and direction of Cedarbrook for decades. We need God to be in the center of this decision making process.
  2. Participate. This is not the time to hang back. We need your input, whether it's through a focus group or email or face to face visit. Keep it positive but don't be afraid to speak your mind, even if you feel like you are in the minority.
  3. Stay open. Like I said, unless a miracle takes place, not everyone will agree on the final decision. This is a time for us to walk in humility and openness, respecting each other's opinions and trusting that God's voice will be heard through a very diverse group of people.
This is a historic time to be at Cedarbrook! This is a time that people will look back on in years to come and say, "Do you remember when ..." God has clearly been with Cedarbrook from the beginning and I know he will speak to us through this process to show us which way to go to best fulfill our calling. So join the journey as we seek God's voice together!