Premises pledges smash target in days
An Edinburgh church plant is praising God after an appeal to raise around £70k to move into a new building was exceeded within days. University student and plant member John Douglas explains how this answer to prayer has strengthened his own faith.
On arrival as a student in Edinburgh last Autumn, I’d been anxious about finding a loving church family that held to the authority of Scripture.
By God’s grace, on my first day at university, I was invited by a fellow student to attend Hope City Church. He explained that it was a plant that met weekly in a hotel. I was intrigued, and decided to visit.
During my first and subsequent visits, congregation members exuded warmth and compassion towards me and to one another. Over time, I learned that Hope City’s main focus was on missional living. This excited me, so I decided to make the church my ‘home’.
As I continued to attend, I watched the congregation begin to outgrow the space that we were renting in a hotel conference centre.
Within months, space became tight. It was also a challenge to keep setting-up and taking-down our equipment in the hired venue.
Sometimes we had to change location due to other bookings at the conference centre. It began to feel like we were modern versions of the nomadic Israelites wandering in the wilderness. The only difference was that our tabernacle was stored and transported in our pastor’s van!
So, less than a year after the plant had launched to the public, we began to look for a new venue.
Incredibly, within a short time of beginning the search, a suitable place – an office building we could lease for up to ten years – was identified. However, there were many obstacles to overcome.
We had to get all the necessary paperwork in place, and we learnt that it’s not easy to get permission to change the use of a building from an office to a church. Oh, and there was the matter of raising around £70k to refurbish the space!
Finding funding for the essential works required to turn the space into a church seemed hugely daunting. Besides the initial £70k, we were hoping for a little extra in order to take the space beyond a basic fit-out.
Our elders approached the church with the ambitious budget, and asked members to prayerfully consider contributing. During the appeal, I remember feeling personal doubt that we would reach the target.
However, I continued to believe in the church’s vision, and I trusted that others did too. Amazingly, by the end of our first day of pledging, the church had raised £50k. And, by the end of the second day, the figure had exceeded £60k.
Astonishingly, at the end of our pledging period a few days later, we had raised £84k for the refurbishment of our new church building!
I was stunned by the generosity of my church, and by the freeness with which people had pledged their offerings to God’s Kingdom. As a church, we had smashed our goal. We were all so thankful.
For me personally, I had learnt to never doubt God’s ability to bring people together to achieve his will.
Now, as we begin to prayerfully plan our move from the hotel into our new premises, we are also praying about an intern programme that we launched last year. Part of our church’s vision is to see if we can multiply what’s going on here, so we have had two full-time interns working with us.
Our elders are looking at welcoming some summer interns in the coming weeks, and perhaps some more full-timers joining us from the Autumn.
Please pray for us as we seek to continue to grow and multiply.