On Thursday of last week, I went into the office at 9, made a French press, had a couple meetings, met a friend for lunch, purchased a shopping center, then went home for the day. You know, just a typical day in the office.

Someone asked me the other day what our plans were for Riverside Center once we owned it. That’s when I realized that we didn’t have any set plans because we haven’t been sure if it was going to happen or not.

The Purchase

We had been searching for a place to buy for years, and when Riverside Center went on the market, it was way out of our price range. However, as we explored our options, we realized that it may be a possibility. Last May, we submitted an offer to buy the shopping center, based on verbal agreements from our bank and the owner. On Sunday, June 8, I announced to the church that we were under contract to purchase Riverside Center (3 buildings, totaling 32,000 sq ft, on 5 acres). Just 2 days later, the bank unexpectedly denied our loan unless we could come up with an additional $160,000, putting our closing costs over $200,000 (far beyond our reach). We were confident, however, that if this was where God wanted us, He would somehow provide.

And that’s just what He did.

As people from Awaken and around the nation began to give toward the purchase of the shopping center, and as God worked His plan behind the scenes with the bankers and loan agents, we ended up with more than enough to cover our down payment and closing costs.

IMG_0228On Thursday, Nate, my wife and I sat around a table with lawyers, title agents, real estate agents, and bankers, and I signed more papers than I ever have in my life. The whole process took under an hour and we walked out with a large ring of keys and the surreal knowledge that we now own a shopping center. Wait, what?!

God’s Providence

When I think back to September 2009 when our lease fell through on our first building in Clarksville, I remember wondering how God would provide. What we viewed then as tragic, we see now as God’s providence. That loss led us to Riverside Center, where I signed a lease on the hood of our landlord’s car for 2,400 sq ft. There are times where I thought I was praying big, bold prayers of faith, but I admit that it never entered my mind that just 5 years later we would own the entire shopping center! God led us there, took us through a flood, and then gave us undeniable favor and provision to purchase.

One thing we’ve often said at Awaken is that we always want to keep the ministry on a miracle basis. If we can explain what’s happening, God probably isn’t doing it. Written into the code of our church is “The Battle Is Super & Natural: God has promised the victory, but that doesn’t negate our responsibility. We will do everything we can within our natural ability and trust God for the supernatural.”

We’re only 5 years in, and we’re just getting warmed up. I pray that we are living in a day where God stirs such a revival in the hearts of His people that entire shopping centers can’t contain the thousands upon thousands of people who are coming to hear about Jesus! He’s done it before; let’s pray that He’ll do it again in our day!

The Plan

We’ll soon be adding a 5th service, just to create some more space before we begin buildout. We’ll be moving to 2 services at 9:00am, 2 at 10:45am and 1 at 12:30pm.

Phase 1 for the shopping center is cleaning up the outside: repaint, pick up trash, trim shrubs and trees, redo the signage, and a couple other things. We have our first church work day happening Saturday, November 1.

We hope to be working on Phase 1 of expansion some time in 2015. It will be a process, and we will only be able to begin once we are confident in the funding that has come in. Don’t stop giving now that we’ve purchased it! The work has just begun!