And Reaching The One
We hope you will engage with this chapter and follow whatever the Lord lays on your heart to do.
It’s truly such an exciting time to be a church and bring so much hope into this moment in history! We thank you in advance for your heart to keep reaching people and to keep proclaiming our Lord Jesus Christ together until He comes!
As you’ve probably noticed, we need more space for our growing church! In April of this year, our landlord at Echo Bridge Office Park offered us a new office space within 381 Elliot Street that has become available before going to the public market. This is a rare 7,200 sq. foot space directly adjacent to our current space that we have the opportunity to secure with a five-year lease. Acquiring this new space will allow us to double our current seating sanctuary to 150 chairs. The back walls of our current sanctuary will be taken down, and our current StoryHeights KIDS and Anomaly ministries will be moved into the new 7,200 sq. feet, doubling the space our kids and teens have now, allowing for a better delineation of ages and room to grow healthy ministries.
As you probably know, rent in our area is not cheap. This additional space will cost the church an additional $16,000 per month on top of the $10,532 per month we pay in rent now. In addition, our expected contribution to the construction costs and furnishings is estimated at $210,000. This is not money our current budget can support, but in order to eventually support that level, we need to grow in attendance. If our current attendance and giving data continues and follows the historical trends, our current budget has the potential to grow by 50% or more in the next five years.
We are working with our bank to secure the capital needed for the tenant improvements, and our current budget will be able to pay this note monthly. However, in order to offset the $16,000 raise in monthly rent in the interim while our budget and attendance grows to meet the margin, as well as to be good stewards of this space and not just let our buildings sit empty, our boards and staff have prayerfully asked the Lord for Heavenly wisdom and His plans to pay for it.
Monday-Friday, StoryHeights will “flip” the new kids and youth wing and rent it out as coworking space and creative studios open to the general public by creating a new business called “ShiftChange Studios” (a play on shift-changes at work and also effectively “shifting” change in our communities). Current studies show that with the new work-from-home culture in a post-Covid world, coworking spaces are more marketable and successful than ever! ShiftChange Studios will be the first-to-this-market, non-profit co-working offices for professionals and studios for artists. Along with meeting the church’s needs, ShiftChange will also meet the needs of our community as the Newton Chamber of Commerce has expressed there is a need for artists to have space to create in our city. We will use our built-in cameras, instruments, beautiful spaces, and created studios to meet this need. The business plans show that this business in this location has the potential to pay not only this additional rent but also do wonderful work in our region in the way of financial literacy courses, job training, and continuing education.
Given the volatile nature of starting new small businesses, we want to ensure that we are able to financially cover the runway that a new business needs to meet the financial needs. So that we can ethically and wisely sign the lease so that work can begin on the expansion, we want to make sure we can cover at least 50% (or $8,000/month) of the new additional monthly rent cost for this extra square footage until July 2023.
By October 22nd, 2021, we would like to have 25 individuals or families to pledge to give $350/month or 30% more over and above their current monthly giving from January 2022 until July 2023. If you cannot afford either of the aforementioned options, we invite you to contribute what you can.
If we get the $8000 in pledged contributions by the 22nd of October, we will sign the lease and secure the capital by the end of this month to begin the work by the end of this year! The timeline is 90-120 days from the time permits are secured so that hopefully our new business is in full swing by January and our new sanctuary space is opened by Easter.
Listen, we know there are cheaper cities to build a church in, and we know we could just be content with the 150 people that call StoryHeights Church home now, but that’s just not authentic to Heaven’s mandate to be about Jesus’ mission of leaving the 99 to go after the one!
Newton is a very expensive city to build an influential legacy for Jesus in, but we know God would not have called StoryHeights to Newton, MA if He didn’t have a plan! We believe with all of our hearts, God wants a Jesus-centered, Bible-believing, Holy Spirit empowered and Resurrection Life proclaiming church in Newton. We believe this is our next God-sized opportunity to continue to reach our city, and we will lead the charge in partnering with you and the Lord to build a church that you and I and our future generations can know the Lord in!
In addition, there are other short and long-term benefits to consider:
We will be able to stay at one service to keep the volunteer need light as people slowly come back from the COVID break.
More room will give everyone the ability to practice greater social distancing within our sanctuary and classrooms.
More room will allow more fellowship and small group spaces.
More room will allow more room for nursing mothers and parents to bring children.
More room will give teens a fun and safe environment to hang out with friends and be around other Christians.
More space allows more people to attend so the worship team can pool from more talent and deepen our bench so we can prepare to open a second site in strength.
We can grow this location to 300-500 people between 2-3 services, allowing us to eventually accomplish Vision26, encircling the city of Boston with a life-giving community of StoryHeights Church, by dividing this attendance in half so we can plant new campuses in greater number and speed.
Starting a business allows us to bring the church to the marketplace and perhaps lead people to Christ in the process!