It is amazing the perspective that time gives us if we will let it. It might have been naïve to think that finding and purchasing property was the hardest step of the process of getting our own site, but God had much to teach us as church. The permitting process has helped us learn to work hard and trust God’s timing.
Little did we realize that the purchase of the property was only the beginning of how God was going to teach us to depend on Him during the process. The permitting process with the different agencies has a way of reminding us that we have very little control.
We knew from a “Feasibility Study” done on the property that there were a number of permits that would need to be obtained before we could build. The first one was a Conditional Use Permit. The CUP, as it is referred to, is a permit that allows churches to be built in residentially zoned areas, like our property. The CUP is to insure that the Church, which is a commercial building, fits in with the residents. I do not remember how much time we estimated for obtaining the CUP but I can tell you is was not the two years that is actually took. We began pursuing the CUP permit in the summer of 2015, shortly after we closed on the property. The first delays were getting into the schedule of an already busy Civil Engineer. It also involved developing a master plan to use the whole site. This is challenging at best and wound up taking almost a year to work out before we could even submit for the permit. The Lord connected us with a Christian architect that helps us put together the site layout that we see today. He was also helpful with pulling together the project phases. All of this had to be done before plans could be drawn up and submitted for the CUP. Our first attempt at submittal was not successful because, as we later learned, we were given the wrong permit application.
It was a great relief when that application was finally submitted. Little did we realize that the process would not go as quickly as we anticipated. The permit submittal in April 2016 would not actually be approved until November 2017. It would be easy to produce a book worth of material on that 1 ½ year process of working through the up and downs, twists and turns of getting it done. But what was important through this and other permits is that the Lord’s timing was perfect. What we did not understand at the time was that certain things had to happen to enable us to take the next step in the process. Yes, the process was frustrating but, and it is a big but, God was faithful.
The CUP process prepared us for what was coming as we moved forward. We have since worked through our second big permit, the Site Development Activity Permit as well as a building permit for the Office Modular. We are working on the current permit for the Worship building. What many may not know is that we only did minor maintenance on the property during this time. The Lord provided that thousands of dollars, the wisdom when it was needed and the strength to keep pressing forward when faced with challenges. Thank you to the Lord, to His people for their gifts financial and the part they played in the process!
I am reminded of the importance of Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) These words are appropriate for a building project and for our lives!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson