We invite you to worship with us on any Sunday at our church located at 5586 Covered Bridge Road in Clayton, NC 27527. We moved to this location in December 2015, thanks to God's provision for his church.
Throughout its history Discovery Church worshipped in many places: a small building in downtown Clayton, the gymnasium at Clayton Fitness, a former furniture store. The congregation dreamed of a permanent place from which to worship and reach out. But we had no land, no money, and no immediate likelihood of either, but we formed a Long-range Planning Team to investigate the possibilities.
In early 2014 we learned that a church not far from the strip-mall where we were worshipping needed to sell their building. A group from Discovery toured the church building and immediately felt it could be the home for Discovery Church. We realized that what we were envisioning as a future home was very similar to the church property now for sale. Not too small as to be unable to grow, not too big as to be burdened with uncomfortable debt. It would sit on a similar-sized piece of land – almost 5 acres. And it would be in a very similar location – right in the middle of a family home growth area. If we had to find and buy the land and then design and build the church, the cost could come uncomfortably close to 7 figures, and it would take years to accomplish. The present opportunity to buy this well cared for church building on almost 5 acres of land for much less seemed too good to be true.
First, the Long-range Planning Team discussed it. Then the Session. A congregational meeting was called in February and the congregation discussed the opportunity. The overriding message at the meeting was that if we were going to get this building, then God was going to have to make it happen.
Why? We had no money for a down payment. We had more than two years left on our lease, so we would need someone to assume our lease. Finding this replacement was no small proposition as there was not a shortage of retail space for rent in our area. We also needed the selling church to agree to a price that we could afford, and what we could afford was limited by our ability to raise any down payment. Plus, we needed a bank to lend us mortgage money. So if this purchase were going to happen, God's mighty hand would need to be at work.
Nevertheless, the goal clearly seemed worth pursuing. To have a permanent location that would really fit us like a glove, without going through all the effort of buying land, permitting, building, ....! Moreover, we would be saving money each month by not having to rent expensive retail space.
So the people and friends of Discovery Church began to give to the Building Fund and to pray.
Meanwhile, another church had come to Clayton. Generation Church began in the bowling alley and then moved just up the road from us. Pastor Monte reached out to their pastor to get to know him. As they talked, sharing about their respective churches, Monte shared our hopes of buying the church building that was for sale, knowing that Generation Church might be interested as they were renting as well.
As Monte talked, the other pastor's eyes brightened as he pondered the possibilities. He began asking questions about our building, and it soon became apparent that Generation church was interested in taking over our lease! Their lease would end before 2015 was out, so they had the freedom to move. This dovetail of interest and dates was very promising for both congregations!
The months passed. Our Discovery congregation continued to give to the building fund. We continued to pray, saying, "God, if this is your will, provide what we need and make a way for this to happen. But if it is not your will, close the door, and we will trust that you have our best interest in mind."
During the summer, we investigated the willingness of banks to lend us money, and given our numbers, it was not looking good. Then our denomination came to the rescue. We learned we could qualify for a mortgage through a program called Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP). Not only were we likely to qualify, but PILP also offered an interest rate well below what a bank would be able to offer us. Of course, we also had to get the blessing of our Presbytery before we could proceed with any land or church building purchase.
September came, and it was crunch time. We had raised about $70,000 since February, which was wonderful and inspiring, but we were not yet at the needed $100,000 goal. Generation Church was running out of time as it was approaching 90 days before the end of their lease. At that time, they would have to give notice to leave or renew terms for their current space. If they weren't able to sign a lease on our building for the next year, they had little option but to remain at their current location. Within just a few days, they needed to know from Discovery Church whether we were staying or moving.
So Discovery entered into significant and final negotiations with the selling church. And it turned out that their lowest number and our highest number just overlapped. An agreement was made, and a contract was signed!
We still needed to raise the full $100,000 to close. But by the week before closing in December, the giving to the Building Fund totaled $101,874.52!
But that is not all that God had in store for us. After we had a purchase contract and were working on the loan, we asked PILP about increasing the amount we were borrowing so that we would have money to build a stairway to open up the second floor for much-needed classrooms. The loan officer said we certainly could do that. Or, instead of doing that, we could get a grant to cover building the stairway because we were a new church. Right after closing on our new church home, we received a check for $10,000 to build our stairway!
We packed our church belongings one weekend, and we moved and set up classrooms on a sunny, cold December 19th. We celebrated our first worship service in our new home on December 20, 2015, and then rejoiced during a sanctuary filled Christmas Eve service on December 24th. Now we look forward to offering God his rightful praise in this new home while we seek ways to reach out to our neighbors and embrace our community, and share God’s work.
So many things had to fall into place for this to come to pass. If God had not removed every single obstacle, the purchase would have been impossible. Yet the improbable became reality because God made the way at every single step to bring our congregation to a new home to do his work, where he put us, where we are.
To God alone be the glory!