"Change is happening in our church, not only in the adults but in children, youth and even marriages. I believe that when God makes these kinds of changes in a local church like ours, that we have the chance to willingly become partners with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven." ~Sr. Pastor Ken Abramson
The Making Space for Change building campaign is about creating more space so that we can more effectively minister to people's hearts, to families and to our community.
Our vision has always been, "Together in Christ, Making Him Known." We strive to be a church that has unity and we strive to show the love of Jesus to everyone, everyday. That vision has brought us far and is amazingly attractive to others.
The growth we have seen creates an OPPORTUNITY for us:
Ezekiel knew that God was in the business of change, even for entire nations. God told the nation of Israel,
"I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed." (Ez 36:26)
Likewise, with this group of people called GREFC, God is giving people new hearts and bringing new people to change their hearts.
We've submitted our loan application to the bank and are waiting approval from them to begin construction. We are hoping to start construction by the week of June 4 at the latest to prepare footings for the precast concrete panels which will be on-site the week of June 18.
We hope to have a time lapse camera in operation during construction so that you can keep an eye on things as they happen. Check back with this page often to see construction progress.
God is changing: HEARTS
Deb Grooms knows what it means to have God change your heart.
"Brothers and sisters, it is my joy to lead us in the most important part of this journey we are on. Honest and earnest prayer must come above and before everything we do.
We must make prayer central to this effort because it is through prayer that our own hearts are brought into alignment with God's heart and we become convinced of the part that He wants us to play." ~Scott Bainville, Elder Chair
Prayer got us to where we are now: a passed vote to build and in the final design phase, on the cusp of breaking ground. You were faithful in prayer and God, as always, was faithful in answering those prayers.
Now is not the time to stop praying. If anything, we should be praying more than ever:
So I urge you to please keep praying vigilantly to our ever-faithful God.
Grand Rapids Evangelical Free Church (GREFC) started as a six-person Bible study in November of 1983. These six people had to step out in faith and made sacrifices for the vision of the future that they saw. And God honored that faith and sacrifice.
We believe that God is going to continue to grow us in the coming years and is positioning us to see Him do great things at GREFC!
GREFC leadership has prayed and discussed the timing of this project numerous times over the past two years, and came to these conclusions:
· We believe we are at or near our capacity in utilizing our facilities and parking.
· We have had numerous times over the last two years of our Sunday morning services being uncomfortably full (75-80% full)
· Christians new to our community, attenders from other churches, and de-churched individuals are finding GREFC a place of health, and deciding to make this their church home
· Our parking is continuing to become an obstacle as second service attenders struggle to find adequate parking
· We believe that God is calling us to expand our ministry toward children with new initiatives like preschool
· We believe that ministry to middle and high school youth is more effective with adequate space for activities that are relationship building (i.e volleyball, dodge ball, floor hockey, etc.)
· We desire to become more intentional to the generation of young adults beyond high school and multipurpose space would greatly benefit that desired ministry
· We’ve seen a convergence of new leaders and people in key roles coming to our church within the last few years that have changed the trajectory of the ministry of our church. God seems to be using this time and these people to help expand the ministry of this church.
Tools are necessary to help get the job done; instruments to help us be more effective at what He has called us to be and do.
As we consider moving forward with a building project, may our primary goal be to construct a building using Jesus Christ as our chief cornerstone!
The plan calls for newly added space in 4 areas:
A large multi-purpose auditorium including a new east entry, a north storage area, and new bathrooms.
A new vestibule for the main entry.
A new infants nursery area will be created by enclosing the current nursery entrance.
A new student ministries room will be constructed to the north of the existing Worship Center.
Current spaces that will be renovated include:
The current worship center will be divided into a coffee/fellowship area and a children's classroom.
The kitchen will be bumped about 2 feet into the current nursery space.
We'll construct a coat hanging room that will also provide more wall space in the foyer.
The current offices will be renovated into conference/adult education space and a hallway for the new bathrooms.
The current Student Ministries room will be converted to new office space.
The parking lot will be expanded to the East and the entire lot will be paved.
Multi-purpose Auditorium, Storage, East Entry, and Additional Bathrooms (1a): Envision a new 350+ seat Worship Center with a larger stage for the worship band, plenty of space for everyone to find a seat including people visiting for the first time. Additional storage to the north will hold a mandatory sprinkling system and have room for chairs, tables, and room dividers that Student Ministries will use for small-group break-out sessions. Of course, there will also be plenty of room for a game of volleyball or dodgeball. The new space will also enable us to hold weddings, and community events and concerts.
New Main Entry Vestibule (1b): For energy savings and comfort, we'll be adding a new vestibule to the front entry to keep the cold air out in the winter and the cool air in during the summer.
Additional Nursery Space (1c): This new space will result from enclosing the current nursery entrance to create a separate infant space. Parents will rest easy knowing their infants will have a separate, quiet space away from the rough and tumble world of crawlers and walkers in the adjoining nursery.
The current Student Ministries room will be converted to additional office space to house all of our staff on-site. There is even enough room to house a future pastor/ministry staff person.
To make the most use of our space, we will be framing out some additional rooms in our current worship center.
New Fellowship/Coffee Space (3a): With updated coffee-house decor, this space will be a welcoming spot for coffee and fellowship. It offers a space for our Young Adult/College ministry to gather, as well as offering more space for the Family Meal each week.
New Student Ministries Room (3b): While Student Ministries will heavily use the new auditorium for their large group gatherings, we still wanted them to have a dedicated space for BRICK classes, small group gatherings and hang-out space. This room will also serve as an adult education space when not being used by Student Ministries.
Children's Large-Group Space (3c): Kids need space to run, jump and dance. This Large-Group space will be used for games, Kidz ROC worship, and as a classroom. It will have a large opening with a sliding barn-door to enable that space to be connected to the Fellowship/Coffee area for larger gatherings or the Family Meal.
The kitchen will have a wall bumped out and new appliances to make the space more functional and efficient. New doors in the adjoining hallway will enclose a much needed pantry space.
The current offices will be renovated into a much needed adult classroom/conference room space that will also house our Library.
The Making Space for Change building campaign represents the most significant financial project in the history of GREFC. The projected cost of our project is $1.4M.
We are working toward a Victory Goal of $700,000 in financial commitments from our church family over the next three years. Our Miracle Goal is $1.4 M, the entire amount of the project.
We are asking everyone to follow the principle of "Not Equal Gifts - Equal Sacrifice." Seek God and consider what he is asking you to give. God is not concerned about the size of your gift as much as He is the sacrifice of your gift.
Reaching our Challenge Goal will enable us to have a mortgage payment of $4,000/month, the amount that the Elders have determined is a do-able monthly payment. Going above this amount will limit our ability to provide funds for ministries and staffing in the future.
Any giving above our Challenge Goal amount will reduce our monthly mortgage payment and overall debt load.
Making Your Commitment
We understand that it can seem like a challenge to come up with extra money. If you're struggling with how to come up with a pledge amount, consider these options:
It All Adds Up!
No. Our church constitution states that large endeavors such as this require a majority approval vote of the membership to go forward. After all commitments are made and our plans are finalized, the entire project will be put forth for a vote. This vote will take place on Tuesday, November 14.
Yes, to a point. We are zeroing in on our design and need to finalize it in the near future to ensure we can have an accurate financial picture. We have sought input on the design throughout the entire process. We welcome input from everyone but, chances are, if you see something that isn't on the plan, there's a reason. Ask us. We'll be happy to let you know how we got to our final design.
We are in the process of doing preliminary design of structures, sound, and many other areas. When all these preliminary designs are finalized we'll be able to put together an estimated cost for the new build and reconstruction. We will put forth this estimated cost before we ask for financial commitments which will be October 29, 2017. While this estimate is quite close to the final cost, we won't know the true final cost until we accept bids for all elements of the project.
We are planning to do some initial earthwork to deal with our current parking challenges in the fall of 2017. Stumps in front of the church will be removed which will allow for more efficient parking which should increase the number of cars that can fit in our current parking lot. If the vote is approved to proceed, the building plan calls for additional parking spaces to be added to the East as well as paving of part of the lot.
Once the membership has voted to proceed, the timeline will look something like this:
The commitment card that you turn in will be recorded to track how we are proceeding to our goal. If the vote is approved, there will be an opportunity to give a first fruits pledge in December 2017. Your three-year pledge payments will begin in January 2018. You can make your pledges like you would make your offering: by putting it in the offering basket (make sure to mark what is going toward your regular giving and what is going toward your pledge), by paying online each week, month, or year, or setting up automatic withdrawals.
Yes! If you find that you have increased income, you can increase your pledge payment. You can complete your pledge at any time within those three years. You can even fulfill your entire pledge in a one-time payment if you like.
Yes! Before we can break ground, a financial institution will likely require us to have a certain % down payment on hand. If we do not have some cash up front, we cannot break ground until we meet the requirements, which in turn will delay our entire project schedule. Delayed schedules lead to cost over-runs and possible increases in interest rates and construction materials costs.
No. While this space will be a great worship space, it is designed to be a multi-purpose room. In addition to Sunday morning services we plan to use the space for children's, student, and college/young adult ministries. We also anticipate the space being available for weddings, funerals, and community events like concerts and seminars.
While we'd love to have unlimited space for fellowship, the reality is that we need that space for Children's, Student, and Young Adult ministries. Additionally, most weddings no longer use churches for their reception venues. For other large functions, we'd likely use the new auditorium space. Finally, we have designed our space for how we will regularly use it, not for one-time-use exceptions.