Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
Proverbs 24:27 (NIV)
I spent 2 years of my life traveling and interviewing the top churches in the country about what kind of building we should build. We finally designed it, had an architect draw it, and created our master plan for all of our property. The only thing was, I never felt a peace about building this thing.
My wife and I planted Coastal Church in Daphne, Alabama 4 years earlier and it had taken off like a rocket. We had three Sunday services running over 1000 people every weekend, and looking to add a fourth service to handle the growth. Everything in my head said that a building was the next thing, but I just couldn’t get it in my heart. I prayed and fasted for 2 years for direction, but I had no clear direction from the Holy Spirit to proceed.
Then one day, while sitting in my recliner, a thought entered my mind: “What if we built all of our toys first?” What if we build something that celebrates the beautiful Gulf Coast and invites the community to come and do life together with us? When I said that, the direction from God that I sought for 2 years came and creativity began to flow. My wife loved the idea (always ask your wife — she will tell you if your idea is idiotic). Our trustees loved it, and our lenders actually said to me, “Chad, if you guys do this, it will change the way people build churches everywhere.”
As Pastors, we are taught in seminary and Bible college to build our sanctuary first. It went against all of my training to build a mile-long walking trail, a baseball field, 2 basketball courts, 2 playgrounds, a 5,800 square foot coffee house, and a splash pad first! Before I presented this to everyone, I asked for a scripture that I could stand on and God, who is rich in mercy, provided.
“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). Upon reading this, I laughed and whispered through my tears, “Yes sir, Jesus!”
Not only were we able to build all of this by God’s grace, we now have 5 campuses with over 2,000 people attending each weekend. We are still packed and adding services again very soon, but the same God who led us here will show us the next step to take, and the next seed to sow for our future. In the meantime, we are having the time of our lives!