Monday, December 12, 2005

Otter Creek Church of Christ Has a New Home

Yesterday, the elders announced that Otter Creek has purchased an existing church building that will become our new church home on February 26th, 2006. This building previously belonged to Brentwood Baptist Church and is currently owned by the Living Word Community Church. I am extremely happy about this from several perspectives.

  1. Financial - My understanding is that for us to build a new building on the corner of Franklin Road and Concord Lane in Brentwood, TN would cost us several million dollars. To build phase one (with a 800 seat auditorium and not much classroom space) would have been about $-- million. For around two thirds of that number, we're purchasing an existing building in a nice location with a 1400 seat auditorium, tons of classroom space, a gym, and many other accoutrements. We'll sell the land we bought, we'll eventually sell our current space, and we will go into this building almost debt free. Financially, this makes the most sense.

  2. Church Clutter - In the area of Franklin and Concord, there are four existing churches and one existing pseduo-church. Our two immediate neighbor churches are, for lack of a better term, megachurches. Huge edifices, huge populations. My feeling has always been that that area doesn't need another big church (which Otter Creek seems to aspire to become), not because megachurches are inherently evil or wrong. I worry about the message that that can send to people who don't go to church. So it makes me very happy that we're buying a current building and not adding to the church clutter at that corner.

  3. Future Church Plant? - While there have been informal talks within some groups at Otter Creek about planting a church, nothing firm has come to fruition. I have this hope that buying this building will allow some of those talks to gain some traction and allow the people who have those dreams to put them into action.
I know that Otter Creek in her current configuration cannot stay at our present location. But I will say that I will miss where we are now. For one thing, the new building will add about 5-7 minutes to our commute. "Big deal," you might say, but 5-7 minutes can be crucial if I'm trying to set things up for the service. For another, that building is where I grew up. I'm the fourth generation of my family at that building. My great-grandfather was the first preacher at our current building in 1950. I got baptized there, I got married there, Kinsey was dedicated there... I'll miss the history that I feel every time I walk in that building.

But I am excited. I am looking forward to a new place with the same people. I think that this is a good move for the church and a much more palatable one than building a brand new place that always felt like it would be a monument to us, whether that was the intention or not. I don't think God cares where we are and where our building is. What I do think He wants is for us to be about bringing His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. Will this building allow us to do that better? No. It's only a place. The Kingdom is truly in our hearts and in our actions.


Jana said...

Phil - I just now came to an understanding of your "shake the dust off your feet" comment on my blog. So THAT's what you meant. I really should be a LITTLE more familiar with my Bible.

Speaking of "familiar", my husband said you were getting fresh with him at church on Sunday morn...

Phil said...

The Bible? Oh, I just made that up.

As far as Brandon goes, well, he and Sheryl look so much alike...

Amanda said...

I am so thrilled that Otter made this decision. Even if we had chosen to build on the land, that wouldn't have been a "wrong" decision, but this one is so much smarter and I think will be better for our church family.

I heard some projections by some people at our mentor life group last night. Some were saying that we'll be back to 2 services in 5 years........

It's entirely possible, but even the thought of us growing that fast is difficult for me to wrap my brain around.

Guess that's just part of the adventure....we'll just have to wait and see.

Tony Arnold said...

Amanda, the plan is to be back at two services. The church leadership wants this to be clearly conveyed up front. I can say this via my MCC duties.


Phil said...

And what after that, Tony? Three services? Or has there been any talk of thinking toward a plant?

Tony Arnold said...

The point is the leadership knows how difficult it is to move from one service to two having done it before. So they want everyone to realize going into one service that the plan is to return to two services.

I can also share that from a study of Churches of Christ throughout the United States, very few (probably less than 5) are bigger than our new facilities will support. It is not likely nor really desired to outgrow that facility. It would be a mega-church and just too big.

Any speculation on what Otter Creek will do in the way of a Church plant, or other action, based on its membership in 5-7 years would be just that, speculation. It has no validity at this point.

Unfortunately for all us very long term members, we are forced to abandon our physical home. That building, for a congregation of any size, has outlived its usefulness. It is needs much done and is costly to maintain. Any improves or rebuilding is even more economically restrictive, not to mention the City of Forest Hills won't approve any new building, even if it is a direct replacement for what is there and does not expand the facility.

I hate leaving, but as you have said this is a great option. And OC is us, not the building. If it isn't the same after we move, then the membership will have failed to maintain the climate.

If we trust in God and seeks His will, OC will be fine in the long run.


Ribki said...

Thanks for the news about Otter Creek's building. I know that's very emotional for many--and difficult for the leadership. Our little church in Kyiv has only been meeting in its meeting place for about 5 years and there is already a strong emotional attachment. But maybe changes like this remind us that we are the temple, not the bricks and mortar. Easier said than lived, though.

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