As you know, we patiently prayed for over a decade for God to lead us to the right facility for City Church. The vision of City Church has never been dependent on a permanent location and yet over the past several years we became more and more aware that our future growth, city impact, next generation ministries, and sending capacity was being limited in our space at the Tulsa Ballet.
In 2019, we received word the Virginia College building at 5124 S. Peoria Ave. (1/2 mile down the road) was being put up for sale and the owner was entertaining offers well below its market value. After several meetings with our Overseers and Trustees, we made an offer that was accepted by the owner for $2.5M (it had previously been listed for $9M and $7M). Just days before closing on our new facility, we discovered the building owner's bank would foreclose on the property before allowing the building to be sold to City Church. We reached out to the acquiring bank, waited for the legal process to play out over several months, and renegotiated a purchase price of the property at $2.55M with the bank. We officially closed on the new building in February 2020.
After closing, our plan was to finish our design phase and start renovations in the summer of 2020. Obviously, we did not anticipate that a global pandemic would shut down the world and halt all our plans for the building. We immediately put the building project on pause and focused our attention on helping our church navigate a tumultuous time.
In October 2020, we also discovered three individuals had broken into the new building through the roof hatch, bypassed the security system, and spent over 20 hours stripping as much copper from the building as possible, including 18 of the 20 rooftop HVAC units. These thieves would end up hitting the building numerous times over the next several months, somehow alluding the police or escaping into the nearby neighborhood. We eventually brought in a private security team who caught them trying to break into the building. We were able to apprehend one of the thieves and learn the identity of all three individuals. (A special shoutout to Pastor Jim who practically lived at the new building for several weeks during this time). The total damages done by these thieves were somewhere between $350-400K, some of which was recovered by our insurance. (Picture: Pastor Jim and I stopped, forced a smile, and took this picture because we knew one day it would make a great story).
You are a small handful of people who are receiving this letter. I want to say thank you for your continued faithfulness and support of City Church and I hope you will take a few minutes to read through the following story and update.
Every great story has a great backstory, right? Well, it's safe to say we have a great story. If we have learned anything as a church over the last twelve years it's that every significant kingdom advancement has significant spiritual opposition. Significant steps of faith always require a greater level of perseverance and resolve than we initially anticipate. Even in the midst of all these challenges, we have seen God move in extraordinary ways and we are more excited than ever about our next step as a church. We know the wait and all the challenges will eventually result in significant kingdom advancement - changed lives and families - continued transformation in the city of Tulsa - more churches being planted - more children in the welfare system finding homes - more disciples being made in our city.
There is no denying the events of 2020-2021 have created a new world for everyone and a different dynamic to what churches and church leaders are navigating in a post-COVID world. These new dynamics surrounding the pandemic have created one last hurdle we must cross before this vision becomes a reality. Due to several factors, including the rising construction prices across the country in a post-COVID world, we now have a financial gap that must be closed. As your pastor, I'm asking that you would partner with us to help us cross the finish line together.Through the generosity of people at City Church over the years and the ONE Campaign in 2017-2018, we have already raised almost 70% of the funds needed for the new facility. That is incredible!In order to start the renovations, we must secure an additional $300,000 in funding. We hope to start renovations in February of 2022 and are believing for these funds to be raised so construction can begin as scheduled. In 2022, we will be launching the For Our City Fund and believing God for an additional $1,000,000 over the next year to complete our building renovation fund.
Here are a few ways you can begin to prepare:
Consider fasting and praying one meal each week as we believe God for the needed funds.
Make an end-of-the-year gift to City Church. Any gift will go towards the $300,000 needed to begin the renovations (estimated to begin February 2022), unless you designate it elsewhere. (You can use the QR code to give)
Make a 1-year commitment to the For Our City Fund in January, 2022 to help us cross the finish line.
Join us for our first ever gathering in our new facility on Sunday night, January 9th. It will be an unforgettable night as we pray, worship, and dedicate the new facility before the renovations begin. Invitations will be sent soon!
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel and for helping us cross the finish line!