Buildings, Bad Dates, & Big Wisdom From A Little Human

Yesterday I woke up with a heavy heart.
I knew the Navy had to make a choice.
Grant us the ability to use a fantastic building…
Or, say they don’t feel it’s within a compatible use.
We’ve searched over a year for a building.
And a couple months ago this building came onto our radar.

I went through my normal routine.
Got to work and pressed in.
Cranked out a TON of work.
And then, the email *ding*
Opened up a forward from our lawyer.
The Navy had made a decision.
They need more time to decide?
I didn’t want to open it.
Months of searching, praying, and asking God to show up.
And… through all the legalese-
The Navy denied our request.

At this point, it would be easy to over-spiritualize this and spin it to one extreme and say things like, “When one door closes, another door opens.” Or “Since that building isn’t it, God has BIGGER things in store!” Now, I believe those things to be true to a certain extent, but my first gut reaction?


The leaders, staff, and I put a TON of work, prayer, energy, and passion into pursuing that property. We dreamed of weddings, baptisms, lives changed, stories, kids roaming the lime green halls (yeah, we picked paint colors), recovery groups, and more. We were living one of our core values, being “God-sized Dreamers!”

It would be easy to sit and just be bummed.
And, that was kind of what I wanted to do.
But, Roxy, our 3 year old had different plans.
“Daddy, we go on a date to the mall?”
I’m a sucker for those crystal clear, big blue eyes.
“Sure baby. Let’s go.”

We got pretzels, ate, and went to the play area.
I was a hero in her eyes.
But, I was totally disconnected.
An awful date.
I kept thinking about the building.
“What if we pressed a little harder?”
“Who could we call to get this overturned? They can’t do this!”
“What does this mean for the church?”
“If we can’t find a building does this mean I’m a failure?”

In the corner of the mall play area a grown man was balling.
I’m sure parents were grabbing their children.
I would if I saw a creepy bearded man weaping in the kid’s area.
This whole time, I hadn’t paid one bit of attention to my little girl.
I was focused solely on the “what ifs”
She ran up-
“Daddy, why you crying?”
“Oh nothing baby. Just big people stuff.”
“You’re the best, Daddy! You’re awesome. I love you!!!”

I just grabbed her and held her.
She had no clue I was a bad date.
She didn’t understand we’d just lost a great opportunity as a church.
She didn’t have to get it.
She got something I didn’t…
I’m a good dad to her because I pour into her.
Not because the date.
Not because the pretzel.
Not because the play area.
I’m the best Daddy because I love her.
She’s the best kid because she receives it and loves me back.
Everything else we have, well, it doesn’t matter.

When I look at the beauty that is Forefront Church,
We’re a great church because God loves us and sustains us.
Because people are being changed and healed.
Because we had a TON of new people & had more kids than adults last Sunday.
Because more people are getting baptized almost every week!
Including 3 MORE THIS SUNDAY!!!
Not because of cool signs in the lobby.
Not because funny videos.
Not because of the possibility of a building.
We’re a great church because we’re People Helping People, Find & Follow Jesus.
We’re a great church because God uses us meet the needs of our community.
We’re a great church because we’re having to talk about 2 services again because we’re growing at a crazy pace in kid’s ministry.
We’re a great church because God made us and He doesn’t make junk!

And, we’ll continue to pray over and work with every property that is placed before us and see what God has in store. But, the tools we use from lights, sounds, signs, to even a building… they are simply tools.

The thing that makes us great is God.
And we’ll keep sharing Him with the world, using whatever tools we have.
When he’s ready, a facility will come.
But we’re not going to rush it.

Thanks for being amazing, faithful, sacrificing, and praying for every opportunity we’ve had in this journey. Thank you for being a church where I can share that I’m excited about what God is doing through our church, while also being honest about my bummed’ness. But, my bummed’ness isn’t leading me to think we’re failing. Because, Forefront isn’t failing. It’s reminding me that God is doing great things in our church.

We need to be a good date.
See the beauty around us and relish it.
God will take care of the rest.

Time to shake the dust and journey together.
Let’s do this!