By Carl Stagner
For as long as they can remember, their church put up with cracking, crumbling concrete. Like many churches, the fellowship hall was located in the basement, and hosted many a church potluck and reception. In 1957, the current church building was constructed, and almost since the beginning, parishioners had to tread carefully among the visible results of shifting and settling. Springfield Church of God in Springfield, Colorado, desperately needed a new basement floor, but like many churches, simply didn’t have the available funds for the job. But when a sizeable donation came in from an anonymous source, the church knew it was time to use their God-given facility for more than potlucks and traditional church functions.
Pastor Earl Heath describes the deteriorating situation downstairs as “really bad, with several places heaving upward like a fault line in the earth.” The hazard wasn’t just a threat to seniors in the church, but also to those trying to pull their chair out from a table. The problem had gotten so bad that the only real solution was simply cost-prohibitive.
Down on their knees, the church continually sought the Lord for answers. God had moved among the leadership of the church for several years that a vision for the basement had to include the surrounding community. “To be sure,” Earl explains, “those who now call this their church home would benefit from a new floor, as it would be much safer. However, the leadership and the congregation-at-large are really on board with the idea—no, the necessity—of using this space to help people, both in the church and in the community, connect with God. I am pastorally proud to say that our leadership ‘gets it’—that this gift was not just given for us. In fact, we’re quite good with the idea that it was mostly given to us for the community.”
Prayer changes things because God hears our prayers. After decades of waiting on God, the church rejoices today in nothing short of a miracle. An anonymous donor recently gave more than enough to totally renovate the basement, including the fellowship area and kitchen. The gift was enough to install a brand-new, much-needed sound system, too.
The new basement will host what will be called “Community Connection” events. These new events will demonstrate good stewardship of the church property God has entrusted to the congregation. “What we envision with these events is simply making friends with the community,” Earl explains. “We’re not at odds at all with the community, it’s just that, to Springfield, we’re just the church on the corner of 9th and Tipton. It’s all about connections, and the hope is that, as we connect with folks, we can be intentional about helping them connect with God.”
The first Community Connection event will bring in a local EMT director to speak about dealing well with diabetes. Future events may include forums on parenting, coping with loss, gardening, health, and addiction recovery. Beyond these events, the church will be better positioned to serve as an emergency shelter, an official status already given to the church in times of hazardous weather—from blizzards to blowing dust. Not far from the heart of Dust Bowl country, Springfield Church of God will be more ready than ever to offer its newly renovated facility to stranded travelers and emergency workers when necessary.
The church looks forward to opening up their new space to the community by the holidays.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.