“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Lord, Your faithful love endures forever; do not abandon the work of Your hands.” – Psalm 138:8
“10 Things I Learned from 10 Days in NYC, Part 6”
#8 – Famous New York City hot dogs taste like…regular hot dogs. I’m not even sure why I had the impression that New York City hot dogs were famous…or particularly tasty. Maybe it was scenes from movies and tv shows where characters order hot dogs from a street vendor, or maybe I overheard someone talking about how much greater NYC hot dogs are. Wherever my high expectations came from…they were lowered in a hurry. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my hot dogs! They were the cheapest meal I had during my stay, and the hot dog cart outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art came with the greatest surprise and delight of all. He sold Dr. Pepper! After a week of no Dr. Pepper anywhere, that Dr. Pepper with a hot dog outside of the Met was delicious! Nothing like the taste of home to brighten a day!
#9 –Space matters. It is easy to take for granted space when you have it and when it is readily available. Interacting with ministry leaders in NYC reminded me not to take either for granted. The average price per square foot in Manhattan decreased to $2,152 from 2020 to 2021.
By way of comparison, the median price per square foot in Waco, Tx is $142. If a person moves from Waco to Manhattan, they can expect a 1,415% increase in the cost of housing. As you can imagine, the cost increases for churches not just for individuals. Consequently, it is quite common for churches to share space with other churches.
For example, Connect Church in Astoria meets in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church. As I approached Trinity Lutheran, the first thing I noticed beyond the beautiful architecture and carefully manicured grass was the half dozen or more church signs attached to the fence that encircled the church property. Trinity Lutheran Church is home to far more than just Lutherans. Different congregations meet on different nights of the week…for a price.
It wasn’t just the church plants that demonstrated why space matters. It was also the well-established and notable churches as well. Brooklyn Tabernacle is world-renowned for its music and known in our own church for its prayer ministry. I was able to make their Tuesday evening prayer service. The older building houses an expansive theatre that before the end of the night was about 2/3 full. As we were dismissed and filed out, I noticed that many, like me, were headed to the subway. Two subway stations are within two blocks of the church. What is more, a public parking garage is positioned right across the street. Of the churches I visited in NYC, Brooklyn Tabernacle was by far the easiest to access. Space matters in relationship to transportation as much as it does to the cost of having that space.
But space also matters in terms of navigating within a building. While visiting Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, I followed signage indicating that the restrooms were down a set of stairs. When I reached the bottom, there were no more signs, but there was a long hallway of unmarked doors. I hesitantly walked down the hall hoping for some indication of where to go. Fortunately, a door opened, and a man walked out of what I recognized quickly to be a restroom. Disaster averted! Lesson learned! Space matters in a building too…especially if you’ve never been there before.
Columbus Avenue Impact:
1. The location of our campus, as well as the size of our existing buildings, gives us options that most in our town would love to have. The revitalization of downtown Waco continues to work its way toward us, and we can fully expect that the value and visibility of our property will continue to increase. We need to continue looking at our campus with fresh eyes and vision.
2. The utilization of our campus must continue to be evaluated not only for use on Sundays but every day. Ministry and relationships are happening seven days a week, and we must steward our facilities accordingly. It is a great opportunity to continue to bring good to Waco through partnerships with organizations like Middleman Skate Ministry, Meals on Wheels, Brazos Valley Homeschool Coop, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and others whom we host on our campus. It is an opportunity to launch new ministries to young adults, different language groups, or other specialized ministries such as Grief Share or recovery ministry. These are strategic opportunities to expand Christ’s kingdom influence.
3. As we consider the future of our campus, we will need to move beyond modernizing HVAC and plan for multiple uses and ease of movement across our campus.
Space matters, and we are up for the challenge to make our space everything it needs to be to move forward!
For the glory of God and the good of others,