I’m taking a blogging break throughout the month of July. In the meantime I’m re-posting some of the top posts from the year so far. I wrote this post the week after our first service in South Bay’s new facility. The official grand opening was held yesterday, so this post is timely for today (& one of the top 10!).
Three and a half years ago, we moved from Charleston, SC to San Jose, California. We came with vision and passion to see the Bay area transformed with the Gospel.
I’ve said this many times before, but the idea of church planting team wasn’t always exciting for me. It was one of the those things I asked God to never make me do- along with never having to raise our own salary to live on. Well, God clearly has a sense of humor considering that He put us right in the middle of both of those things at the same time. The day Andy invited us to join him and Stacie in starting South Bay, I knew it was the Holy Spirit speaking through him.
When we gave Andy a “yes, we are with you” answer in September of 07, we jumped in with both feet. Early on, it was clear, we were in the middle of something bigger than ourselves.
When we moved to California on Sept. 1st, 2008 we had no idea where South Bay Church would meet. Within those first few weeks we began looking at a nearby elementary school to hold our monthly preview services. We were told a public school wouldn’t likely allow a church to meet in it, but we knew that God was bigger than a public school.
If He wanted us there, He would open the doors, and He did.
For more than three years, with the exception of Christmas Eve, every service was held in that very school.
Last Sunday we transitioned from being portable to permanent.
Our team had anticipated this day for a long time. It’s not easy being portable. The set-up team started every Sunday at 6:45am transforming a school gym into a worship experience for adults and a library, classrooms, and hallways into our Baykids area. When it was all over it all went back into a U-haul and two trailers until the next week. It was worth it, it was part of the process, but getting a more permanent facility was exciting for everyone involved.
The road to permanent wasn’t easy. Every step of the way required a miracle from God.
Raising funds was a miracle.
Finding a building was a miracle.
Getting permits to get inside the building was a miracle.
Renovating the building was a miracle.
Getting the fire inspection was a miracle.
I guess God wanted us to remember that we couldn’t have gotten there without Him.
I think we all got that message loud and clear.
Sunday was incredible.
Many of our staff and volunteers were up until well after midnight every day last week getting everything ready and working. Pastor Archie and about nine others in the production crew were among them. Many of our volunteers worked their regular jobs during the day and came to work in our building all night.
The Baykids team also did a phenomenal job. Considering the flooring in these pictures wasn’t installed 24 hours before the first service began gives you a little clue into the craziness that preceded opening day.
Pulling it off took incredible sacrifice and significant work, but God even used the process to transform hearts and lives.
Several weeks ago we held a work day at the building. Filipe met a guy there who came with his fiance to help out. Her life had been radically changed just a month prior when she began attending; he had yet to come to a service. He told Filipe he was 100% committed to South Bay because of the change he saw in her. (Filipe wanted to hear him say that again after he had at least come once.) Last week he was helping Filipe again in the building and Filipe asked how he was liking it. Turned out he surrendered his life to Jesus, signed up for baptism, and was serving his heart out. Wow.
Pastor Andy preached a great message on the favor of God. It resonated with all who had been a part of South Bay in the past and inspired those who were just finding us giving vision for the future.
Between services Stacie had the opportunity to pray with a woman to receive Christ. We realized later that she was the mom of the guy that Filipe talked to. That’s what it’s all about.
My small contribution was developing the resource center. Filipe oversees all of our first impressions areas and that’s one of them. About two weeks before move-in day I saw how swamped he was and realized he didn’t have much time to spend on resources. It took me about two seconds to realize I needed to help him with it. Considering books are one of my passions, it was an easy yes. I had a lot of fun working on it and am looking forward to being more involved in the team.
I spent all day Saturday organizing this area (while my mother-in-law took care of my kids) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I’m an organizing nerd, and I’m okay with that.
While I was organizing books, I listened to Archie and the band do a run through of the service. I was holding back tears just listening to video and the music. Everything going on in that building that day (& week & month) was an act of worship to God. People were scrubbing bathrooms, painting walls, hanging banners, and each part came together and allowed people to experience God for the very first time.
That’s why it matters.
That’s why we’re here.