Family, friends, ministry partners & readers,
As most of you know, I have the privilege of pastoring a gospel-centered church (Island Community Church) in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The church was planted on Mud Island in 2003 because of the area’s great need for the gospel: thousands of working professionals and families and no church in the community. As far as we know, we are still the only church actively reaching out to the Mud Island community of over 7,000. And, we are one of just a few evangelical churches reaching out to the downtown community of 30,000+ residents.
We are not discouraged by this but excited by what we are seeing. More and more people are coming to know the Lord, follow Him with their life, and get involved in the ministry & mission of His church. God is growing His church. Michelle and I got involved with the church in 2009. It’s been amazing to be a part of this front-line ministry in our city. We are so happy to have the privilege of ministering in our community.
I want to tell you today about an amazing provision from God for our church. Then, I want to ask for your involvement.
First, let’s celebrate God’s amazing provision. Our church was started in a living room (two people the first Sunday – Hoyt & Kim!). Then it moved to a schoolroom. Now, we meet in a ballroom. Each time we’ve outgrown a space, the Lord has provided. We’ve been amazed this last year by the fact that we have again grown to capacity. A great problem to have, right? For those who don’t know us well…. we have never had a building. We never felt we needed one; the church is defined by its people & mission, not a facility. But this last year, we’ve been faced with the tough question: “What do we do from here?” From lots of research and investigation, we know we are in the largest space in proximity to our community that we can afford. Like many downtown areas, real estate & rental fees in our area are through the roof! Yet, we need more room to grow. I told our pastoral & vision team last year: “We need to pray. Let’s keep asking God to provide for us. It’s the only way.”
God answers prayer!: Not long ago, we were approached by a large Memphis organization (one of our community partners) with an incredible offer. When I say incredible, I mean incredible. Now remember – they came to us. Let me replay the conversation for you. Their offer: “We’ve got an 11,000 square foot building that sits one mile from Mud Island on the main road through the area….. would you be interested in making it your home base for ministry for the next ten years?” My response: “Really? Ummm…. yes. That sounds amazing. But candidly, I don’t know that we can afford it. We are paying as much as we can for a 2,600 square foot space one morning a week.” Their response: “Oh – you may have misunderstood. We’re not looking to charge you rent. You just need take ownership of any renovations that are necessary to make it feasible for your purposes.” My response: “Excuse me?” Their response: “Yes, we just want you to be able to make good use of it. Thanks for what you’re doing in the community.” My response: “Are you serious?” Their response: “Yes.” My response: Silence. Awe. Gratitude. Joy. Amazement. Later, tears.
Do you ever pray in faith, asking God for miraculous provision, and then have trouble believing the provision when it comes? This happened to me. All I could do was say thank you – thank you to God & thank you to this offer. For the first time in the history of our church, we will have a home base for ministry downtown. God brought it to us. He is preparing us for the next season of ministry. Praise Him! I am excited and amazed….not because a facility is necessary for our church, but because a facility is a wonderful tool that will equip us to continue to grow & expand our ministry and outreach into the area. I am excited because for then next ten years, we’ll be able to devote even more money to ministry & missions rather than rent. I am excited because through this facility we will have an opportunity to serve our community like never before. God has provided!
Now I want to offer a heartfelt plea for you to get involved. The building God has provided is currently an empty warehouse and needs renovation to get it code compliant & built out for ministry. Total cost anticipated: $350,000-$400,000 (mostly related to infrastructure). As a church, we have agreed to take responsibility for this. We are moving forward in faith, excited & confident this is God’s provision for our church for the next season of ministry. We believe God will provide what is needed.
We also believe His provision is likely to come from a lot of people like you who believe in what God is doing in downtown Memphis and seriously consider joining us in this ministry investment. As a church, we have never had to ask for money/support from anyone to help us in ministry. With this opportunity, we are now asking. We are not asking for money so we can have a nice building; we are asking for money so more people can treasure & follow Jesus in downtown Memphis. While we are actively giving and fundraising within our church and community ($105,000 raised since September), we cannot do this on our own. We need your help. We have a short period of time to take advantage of this offer. If together we can raise this one upfront investment, then ICC and its ministry partners will have a home base for gospel ministry & mission in downtown Memphis for at least the next ten years. Family and friends, if there was ever a time for you to consider supporting our ministry, now is the time. Will you consider this opportunity to give? Every gift helps. You can give online or by mail. Thank you so much. May God bless you as you seek to know Him and make Him known.
P.S. To give, you can go to our website or send checks to Island Community Church, P.O. Box 3173, Memphis, TN 38173 (see below). For more information on this opportunity, please download our detailed Opportunity Prospectus and visit the “Building Project” section of our website. Also, check out our Vision Video online.
P.P.S. Please forward this along to anyone (or any church) who may be interested in giving. Thank you for helping us spread the word!