I have always been what I could call “a Big Picture Person.” I actually function better when I have a big picture. The development of our church site was quite a challenge. The goal was to max out the available property by developing a master plan. The challenge was in trying to get a grasp on what the church would be down the road. There is only one person that knows that answer to that and it is not me!
It took a while once the property was purchased to submit for our first permit, the Conditional Use Permit. The delay was related to us, as a church, figuring out how to develop the site. I am thankful for our team and for the people that the Lord provided. One key person was Patrick Morgan. Patrick was an architect that whose specialty was designing churches. He came across my path as a result of a conference session that I attended years ago on church development. He was a great blessing to our church in a number of ways.
First, he desired to use his gifts and abilities to help churches. What you do not know is that he has designed churches, large churches, all over the United States. It was an incredible blessing to have a man of God with his experience join our team for developing our Master plan. I remember him telling us that he had never designed a church on such a narrow lot. (The narrow lot was really the only negative with our site.) Yet he was willing to accept the challenge. It was with his help that we developed our Master plan along with the floorplan and the building concept drawings for our permanent building. He was also instrumental in helping us get started on designating the four phases of our project.
Second, he helped our team sort our thoughts to pull together a master plan. I will never forget our only onsite meeting with him on a Saturday afternoon. He sat down with some onion paper, a pencil and eraser and started asking questions. One of the questions I remember him asking us, while looking at me, “So what kind of a church is Living Hope?” I was not sure how to answer. He continued, “What is the focus of your church? Are you a worshipping Church? Or are you a Ministry Church?” It was a great question. Once he clarified we responded that we were a ministry focused church. He then explained why it mattered for the building design. If you are a worshipping church then we would want to put our “Worship Center” in the front. But if we are a ministry church we would then put our ministry building in the front. This is why there is an enclosed play area showcased on the road facing side of our permanent building.
Patrick is not alone in this process. There have been numerous individuals inside and outside the church that the Lord has used to contribute to the process that has brought us to where we are today. I am reminded how the Lord uses us if we will let him. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Proverbs 22:29)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson