Great question! LOTS.
If you haven’t heard, we’ve secured all the land now. The giant rectangle of land (13+ acres) now belongs to CLC! We do, however, have Ms. Matthews in her house still as we wanted to honor her desire to stay put. We have an agreement to have her there for 2 years as of closing March 14. She’s a WONDERFUL neighbor and we are so blessed to have her there, to learn the rich history of the old dairy farm land, and to share life with such a wonderful lady.
We’ve got 6 total buildings there, three houses and three outbuildings. House #1 (The Barn House) is closest to Rea Rd and building #1 (The Little Barn) as well. Then House #2 (The Lodge) and building #2 (The Maintenance Shed) are the next further back. House #3 is where Ms. Matthews lives and she has some of her stuff in building #3. We’ve already started using the front 4 buildings for ministry activities thanks to a great and VERY successful clean-up day! We worked hard to clean up vegetation, leftover junk, and trash on the property. We are all set to begin some activities out there!
Every Monday, Christ South spends time in staff meeting there. The Christ South band rehearses there too, and I have meetings with people there as we share coffee and life. We even had a council meeting there last night! We’re using the land regularly for small meetings as we get ready for what will happen there for years to come.
COOL. What’s next?
This is HOLY GROUND (Exodus 3). We are walking on dirt that will touch little feet and lives, blessing generations to come. It’s full of life (and fire ants… which we are evicting J) and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
GOOD FRIDAY - This Friday, 6pm we’ll have our first official worship gathering on the land. Pastor Melody and I have developed family friendly stations of the cross set to roll at 6pm Friday. It’s going to be a powerful, spiritual, family experience. Dinner and set up for the Easter Egg Hunt will follow.
Easter Egg Hunt - This Saturday, 2pm begins the craziness. We’re already outpacing our advertising response from last year… This year is going to be NUTS. Bring a friend, a smile and come volunteer to help at 12pm (305 Reid Dairy Rd).
Land Blessing - MAY 4th, 2pm - Come pray over the land and eat s’mores. It’ll be quite a special moment as we share prayer, singing, and walking the land. Stay for s’mores or even the South campout after!!
What’s GOING to be there?
Ok, here’s the REALLY fun part. We are NOT trying to build a mega-church out on the land. Charlotte has lots of those already. That model is set up to build big buildings and programs to get more people “in” and rely on the Sunday morning as the major touch point. The problem is, we’re finding that more and more it’s not a sustainable church model. Plus, there’s lots more to church and a life of faith than Sunday morning. We want to meet people throughout the week!
So we’re going to try a new paradigm. One that lifts up people over program. Community over attractional marketing (not to say we won’t have great marketing, but looking slick and smooth will come second to the development of spiritual, loving community). We want to figure out how to get the church “out” rather than people just “in”. We want the church to return to the center of the community. The best way to do that is to create lots of portals of entry and go OUT to meet the community where they already are. We’re going to experiment and try some new ideas. What you’ll see on the new land will look pretty different than what we’ve done before (like, really different, but trust the Lord is up to something HUGE). Prep yourself now to carry an open heart and mind as we explore how God is stretching the church. We are prepping creative plans and ideas that will create a new kind of sustainability for the church of the future. The amount of prayer, devotion, Holy Spirit movement in all we’re doing with the Discernment Team, Church Council and the Land Vision Team would blow your mind. I am so proud to work with such faithful, creative, emboldened people. This congregation is so amazing! You will begin to see much of this begin to take shape over the next months.
I thought we weren’t going to do ANYTHING for 2 years?
We did say we wouldn’t be building the larger community building for at least two years as Ms. Matthews’ home is right where we’d likely put it. We are certainly a ways away from building that larger structure, but we want to begin a presence in the community as soon as we can. So, we’re going to try and get started as soon as we can. Now that we have the land and some space, let’s get to work!
We’ve recently formed a partnership with the Town of Weddington Mayor and her team. Instead of us just coming in and saying, “here’s what we’re going to do for you” we’re asking the question, “what do you need us to do to help build this community together?” The mayor and her team are VERY excited about how we can make community space available to the Town of Weddington and beyond. There are SO many people here that we can serve, and we want to begin that right away. There are early conversations about movie nights on the lawn, fairs, farmer’s markets, festivals and other fun community gatherings!
Additionally, we want to be ready with some mission partners to care for and build up the community around the land. To do that well, we’ll need to be pretty agile and figure out how we can speak the language of the people rather than expect them to just come to church and fall in love with it. Luther would be proud of the kind of reformational language and spirit that is alive and well in these conversations!
What will I see on the land?
Hopefully lots of folks running and playing in the field! Hopefully new ministry ideas coming to the surface! Hopefully great partnerships as we venture as a church in a new age of meeting people where they are in life. Certainly some very fun all-campus gatherings, some space for us to do events with our mission partners, and most of all Jesus!!! We want to create a place where people can BE. BELONG. BECOME. who God is calling them to be. It’ll look different than what we’ve done before, so get ready!
Keep an eye out for Friday Night Family Night. This will be a community builder for our South families as well as the community around us. If you’re down in that area, keep a lookout for May 17th which will be our first one. We’ll gather, share fellowship, some food, conversation, and life. It’ll be informal and fun, with lots of room to let the kiddos run around and let families relax after a long work week.
AWESOME! I am excited! (we sure are, and hope you are TOO!)
This land belongs to YOU! Come out, walk the land, pray over it, and hold it close to your heart. (Careful to not disturb Ms. Matthews who lives in the house furthest from Rea Rd.)
Remember that this is Holy Ground. It’s a place that will serve the people in that area for decades. It’s the beginning of a new model for how we can be a church, sustainably. Thank you for being a bold, courageous and loving congregation pushing us to try something new, listen to the Holy Spirit and create something that the rest of the church can try as we seek how to make church sustainable in the future.
Get ready for a very new and exciting part of the ministry at Christ Lutheran Church. It’s going to look and feel different. It might even surprise you! This is a new approach to church, and it’s going to be a way that CLC can help the larger church for years to come!
God made this possible through YOU! You are singing a new song to the Lord! Thank you!