Visioneering enjoys developing long-term relationships with organizations. It is a blessing to partner with churches like Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, California and watches how they grow and change and move in new directions. We worked with their minister, Gene Appel, before he moved to California when he was planting churches in Las Vegas. Then we got to be part of the process of helping him and the leaders of Eastside envision a move from Fullerton to a former Boeing site in Anaheim. We enjoyed the challenge of transforming this defense building into a ministry center that will unleash compassion to the entire world.
In these structures huge scientific developments were achieved: The navigation system for Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, was built by Boeing here. Boeing was also a contractor for the Apollo Program, and work on space initiatives was conducted here. The main building is a 6-story office tower. There are also two 90,000-square-foot buildings that were research labs.
Visioneering’s first walk through felt like a Twilight Zone episode. There were abandoned signs saying Must Wear Protective Eyewear, Lasers in Use. On this property, one of the towers would shoot off lasers to the other tower to test them. There were pipes and levers and gears and vaults. Who knows what kinds of crazy stuff they were working on?
We kept some of those crazy things we found as props in the kid’s building—gears, levers, knobs. Eastside is pouring in messages of the kingdom of God into these young lives, and kids are seeing all these visually interesting things that reinforce how they can spread the kingdom of God on adventures anywhere—from under the seas to outer space.
But our big question was: how do we build a 2700-seat space inside this two-story defense building? We decided to cut a hole in the main floor, almost like a U shape. We added 40 tons of steel, popping up the roof by about 8 feet, and created a very focused teaching space. Every seat is directly pointing toward the speaker’s position. You won’t see too many places like this. Eastside also has a huge LED panel that flies off its main stage. It’s super vivid, with no front or rear projection. They have catwalks for amazing Christmas shows and public events. Underneath waffle slab ceilings were years and years of T-bar and dropped ceiling. Now there are polished concrete, 30-foot concourses.
The courtyard between the 6-story tower and the 2-story worship and educational buildings was blighted with razor wire, mechanical equipment, and truck docks. Visioneering turned that into a village green. Eastside has now had quite a few high profile Christian bands and speakers in this courtyard. They’re in an industrial park, so they can turn up the music, gather 5,000 people, and make all the noise they want!
A terrific summary of the body of believers at Eastside and their move into this new stage of ministry are the three statements graphically overlaid on their renovated campus: pursue God, build community, unleash compassion.
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