As I contemplate our Lewis Rd. campus, I’m reminded of King Solomon’s words, “To everything there is a season …”
King Solomon’s quest to discover whether there is meaning to life apart from God is chronicled in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Therein he contemplates the seasons of life. He pens familiar words, rhythmic in their cadence, words to be read, sung and contemplated:
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace” [Eccl. 3:8].
Solomon observes there is a natural flow to things on earth. Twenty-eight activities of life are highlighted and contrasted. Fourteen appear positive and an equal number appear negative. The cycles tend to show that life (apart from God) is futile or meaningless. The pagan cultures around Solomon, and many today, viewed time as circular, random and purposeless. Cultures in Africa then, and many today, viewed time as unlimited like an ever-flowing river. But Solomon ultimately discovers a Judeo-Christian world-view that time is linear. In essence, the seemingly random purposeless march of time is moving towards something. God’s redemptive plan is unfolding supernaturally in a natural pattern. Solomon’s quest for meaning in life can be summarized: revere God, obey Him, and trust His timing.
A time to open: It was more than eight years ago that our church leaders felt led by God to establish the Lewis Rd. campus. A second campus would allow us to develop more Bible teachers, worship leaders, ministry leaders, volunteers, and disciples of Jesus. We would have the ability to offer a free Christ-centered after-school youth center [The Bridge] to bless our community. In light of the cost and unavailability of property in our community it was a wise solution to the pending problems of space at the Mobil Ave. Campus.
It was sweet! For the first two years, I preached four services on Sunday. I would drive back and forth between the two campuses. During that time I started training prospective teachers. The Bridge opened and teens came, and they became followers of Jesus. And multiple worship teams were developed and grew in their gifts. Then new teachers began to teach on Sunday mornings, and I would alternate between campuses. The new teachers were a blessing to our church community. And people began to identify either the Mobil Ave. or the Lewis Rd. campus as their campus.
It was also bitter. Although we have always been one church, meeting at two locations made us feel less connected. We would gather together outdoors to worship for Resurrection Sunday and Christmas, and for large-scale service projects. There was a sense that the folks at “the other campus” were family, but half the family was under one roof, and the other half was under another.
Thus, it has been bittersweet. Countless people have been impacted for Jesus, and lives have been transformed. We rejoice! And our sense of community and unity has been hindered. We grieve.
A time to close: In 2016 our church leaders earnestly sought to discern God’s will for the Lewis Rd. Campus since our lease was ending in 2017. We realized first and foremost that God has given us a long-term vision to saturate our community with Christ-centered Neighborhood Groups where we learn to love God and neighbors better.
As we prayed and considered all of the dynamics of our multi-site experience and our vision moving forwards we concluded that God was closing the door for us at Lewis Rd.
It is bitter. The Lewis Rd. Campus has been a church home to many at Calvary Nexus, and the idea of closing the doors is grieving. I have tasted that bitterness personally as have other leaders at our church. We empathize, love you, care, and share that pain with you. The Lewis Rd. Campus has been a blessing and has produced much fruit for God’s kingdom. The end of the season of Lewis has some sadness, but let us remember, “To everything there is a season.”
It is also sweet! The transition to one campus at Mobil will help to create more unity and community. The idea of being together is very refreshing to me. In this season, we can gather together at one campus and worship together. Together we will learn to love God and neighbors better as a larger assembly and in our Neighborhood Groups. The consolidation will also simplify life and ministry for our entire church. Ideally, the simplification will help us all to create margin to befriend and build relationships with neighbors where we live, work, study, and play. Also, as stewards of God’s resources we look forward to greater investment in global missions and church planting. And we also plan to make improvements and repairs at the Mobil campus that we simply have been unable to afford.
To everything there is a season. The flavor of the immediate season is bittersweet. Yet, I am confident in Christ that the transition(s) will become sweeter with each passing week and month.