Barring some very unexpected delay, tomorrow will be our final service at Madison High School. Our new building is ready. Only some carpet and a few plumbing fixtures remain to be finished. Walls are painted. Trim is in place. Tile is done. Most inspections are passed. We’re there. Finally. A new chapter in the ministry of Tri-County Bible Church is about to open, even as an old chapter closes.
Since October 4, 1998, Tri-County Bible Church has met every Sunday morning in the MHS Lecture Hall. Over 600 Sunday morning services have been held there, not to mention scores of Sunday School classes and midweek services. Tomorrow that all comes to an end. As you can imagine, we’re excited. Thrilled. Amazingly, we’re moving from being homeless directly into a $2 million facility. No more moving desks aside to make room for a still filthy nursery. No more third-world sound system. No more lugging in boxes of hymnals and toddler toys. No more graffiti on the backs of chairs and the walls of restrooms. No more bathroom stalls without doors. No more children pulling gum from who-knows-where off of auditorium chairs and popping it in their mouths. (Well, maybe a bit of that.) No more near anonymity. What a huge relief. You can’t imagine. And yet…
The Lord has built His church using that high school. It’s been the only “church building” my children have known. It’s been almost the only church building I’ve known as a pastor. More importantly, the Word has been preached there, week after week. People have been saved there. Christians have grown there. Lifelong friendships have been made there. Lives have been changed there. Some 2000-3000 songs of praise have been sung there. Thousands and thousands of prayers have been said there. God has shown His power there and has been glorified there.
So as relieved and grateful as I am about our new building, tomorrow will be a bit of a bittersweet day. God has been good to provide such an adequate facility and accommodating school district for this little flock. I’m thankful. I’m actually in awe of what He has done, not in the building of a structure on Burns Road, but in the building of His church in Madison, Ohio. And as I think about loading up, turning off the lights, and closing the doors one more Sunday afternoon, I actually get weepy. Weird, I guess, but there it is.
God willing, only our facilities will change next week. Hopefully we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing for twelve-plus years at Madison High School for many years to come—exalting the Lord, evangelizing the lost, and edifying the body, all for God’s glory (Psalm 115:1). And hopefully we’ll remember these years of humble beginnings with wonder and praise.
Grace. Great, great grace.