Saturday, May 1 sure was a rainy day. We had our typical Saturday night service that night. I taught from Esther 2, then we headed out for coffee afterward. We had no idea that our church building would never be the same after that.
On Monday, May 3, Denver and I waded through water up to our knees as we pulled out as much salvageable stuff as possible and headed for higher ground. That day was a day of overwhelming emotion as we wondered what would happen to the church.
A flood of that proportion could easily wipe a church off the map – especially a 7 1/2-month old church! Not the case with Awaken Church. We bounce back. In fact, as we look back now, it’s apparent that the flood was the best thing that happened to our church (as a building and as a body of people).
Not only does the building itself look better than it did when it was purchased over 40 years ago in the 1970s, but the church family has come together in a way that can only be explained as a work of the Lord. People who were mere acquaintances are now family members as they’ve worked side by side tearing down, building, hammering, painting, and more.
We’re so thankful for His Church, who allowed us to meet rent-free in their building in the Bank of America downtown for the last 2 months. It’s never easy having other people in your space, but we were so thankful that we had somewhere to continue meeting! However, as nice as it was to have a place to meet, being back in our Riverside building felt like home. It was incredible!
I made the announcement on Saturday, June 26, that in 3 weeks, we’d be moving our Saturday night service to a Sunday morning 10am service. People were excited and anticipation was building as we counted down the weeks and days. Just 2 weeks ago, we finally got to get into the church building and begin painting. They lost our carpet order, so the carpet that was supposed to go in by June 30 didn’t go in till July 8 (only 3 days till our opening date). The carpet job isn’t quite finished – the older kids’ classroom and the kids ministry prep room still need carpet, but for the most part, it’s done (it will be finished by Wednesday).
The last week has been a whirlwind. I was interviewed about 10 days ago for an article about the church in the Leaf Chronicle, a local newspaper, that ran last weekend. It was cool to see in print what was about to happen in person. Since then, for about the last 8 or 9 days, we’ve spent almost every night at the church till 9, 10, or 11pm painting, setting up, cleaning, and getting ready for our Sunday service. It was completely exhausting and a bit overwhelming at times. Although it was a bit reminiscent of the original Grand Opening of the church, this time was different – we had a team behind us!
Last night was another late night, but when the alarm went off this morning, I was up and excited. Sunday had finally come! With a French press in hand, I finished my notes, went over my message, and headed out the door. I loved being able to spend some time in prayer in our all-new prayer room at the church. Lots of new people showed up as well as some very familiar faces. We had food and coffee and some great fellowship – I loved seeing people just stand around and talk!
One visitor was the Channel 4 News from Nashville! Somehow they had heard about our Grand Re-Opening and wanted to run a story on it for the evening news. So, right before service began, I was interviewed, and the camera man hung out for service to get some before-, during-, and after- shots (he also got a little dose of the Gospel!). That story will air tonight at 5 or 6pm (we’ll record it and have it up later).
Kids Ministry was rocking too. We implemented some new things over there too, including an exciting time of kids’ worship! They loved it! The classes were pretty full today – we’ll have to get more supplies. That’s a great problem to have!
Over all, it was a FANTASTIC first service back and a huge blessing to be a part of. I’m humbled to be a part of what God is doing here in Clarksville and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
To all those who spent long days and nights, and countless hours helping us tear down, rebuild, paint, and clean, THANK YOU!
To all those who prayed for us, donated items, or gave financially, THANK YOU!
Enjoy some of the pictures below. There are more available at awakenchurch.org!