Building a Church

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of Shelby Crossings’ first worship service in our current location–on Nov. 21, 2004. I remember it well, because it happened to have been the first Sunday my family visited Shelby Crossings. It would be almost five years later before God providentially led that I would be called as the second pastor of this wonderful faith fellowship.

I wrote about the tenth anniversary of our first service in this space five years ago. But for those who don’t know the history, here’a quick refresher. Prior to coming to our present location in Calera, Shelby Crossings met for worship for four years at a school in Pelham. The move down I-65 to Calera was motivated by a couple of things, primarily the growth in this area where so many people were moving and the need for a dynamic new church to reach them. There were plans for building even before the move; land was purchased, architectural drawings were done, and signs were put up on the property announcing that construction would begin soon.

But things changed.

There was a major recession, and some upheaval and struggles within the fellowship. Some people left….okay, lots of people did…and construction got delayed. The dates on the sign for the projected move-in to the new worship center came and went, and there was no building. Eventually, out of necessity (and God’s sovereignty), the land was sold back to its original owners. And we continued to rent. And all these years later, we still do.

People often ask me, as the pastor, “When are y’all going to build a church?” I tell them, just as often, that we are doing that right now. I suspect we will eventually have a building of our own where our church can meet, but even when we do, we must never confuse bricks and mortar with “the church.” And no matter where we gather on Sundays, we continue to seek to be a “diverse community of believers committed to developing passionate followers of Christ to impact the world.” 

By God’s grace we are healthy as a church body and stable financially, and He continues to do great things in the life of our fellowship. We have been actively praying and seeking His will about where He may want to move us, as we continue to get our financial house in order in preparation for when that move comes. I hope you’ll join me and the elders in praying for His leading in that area.

Along the way, we have invested more than $470,000 in missions causes locally and around the world these past ten years, for which we may have to wait till eternity to fully see the return. Closer to home, there have been countless stories of lives changed, of families restored, of people who had given up hope finding it once again. The Lord has been good to us, and I am very grateful.

I am excited to see what God has in store for us in the next fifteen years, whether we are worshiping in a warehouse or a beautifully constructed worship center. Either way, Jesus will continue to build His church (Matt. 16:18), wherever we are.

I’m sure glad we’re in this thing together, and in this season of the year where we focus on giving thanks, I count my blessings daily to be a part of such a great church. I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you again this Sunday. 

–Pastor Ken