Posted on January 27th, 2017 by Daniel Patterson | Tags: bettertogether, churchplanting, converge, convergenorthcentral, loan,
Epiphany Station

EPIPHANY STATION

THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN

By Kevin Brown

Located in rural northwest Minnesota, Epiphany Station Church is considered “out-state.” We started in a member’s house in June 2006 with a core group of six families, roughly 16 people, and no lead pastor.

We quickly outgrew the living room where we met and then, for about a year, we rented a local community center on Sunday evenings. As we met, we socked away enough money for a down-payment on our first building – a gas station just a block from the heart of the city. That gas station (Epiphany Station) became home for a church that has grown steadily in reaching outsiders for Christ and impacting their community by living our simple mantra, “Love God. Love People. Period.”/Users/nfldraftnik/Desktop/[e] History/06-06-07ES-003 001.jpg

Connecting the “station” to an adjacent warehouse enabled us to facilitate up to three services as we grew to accommodate the influx of new attendees. We eventually acquired a small bread store and residential home adjacent to the original gas station, temporarily alleviating our space limitations.

Church leaders quickly recognized our growth was being hindered by the lack of capacity our buildings provided. So we began to explore numerous options throughout the Thief River Falls area. The most promising option culminated in the City Council’s rejection. It has since led to a re-zoning of the city’s building code which places future limitations on construction of churches or other non-profit organizations. Epiphany’s leaders felt led to begin plans to erect a new building on our original site. In spring 2016 we launched a capital campaign to drive the vision for a two-story facility. The concept is that the church will occupy as much of a footprint as the four city lots would allow, yet still provide ample parking./Users/nfldraftnik/Desktop/[e] History/08-10-05img 095.jpg

The building design will offer 14,500 square feet of ministry space in the heart of downtown Thief River Falls, Minnesota. It will accommodate a single worship experience with an expanded capacity of 400+ people. There will also be plenty of space to accommodate our vibrant children’s ministry.

Rebuilding on the existing site required a massive leap of faith. Epiphany’s leaders had to commit to demolishing the existing facilities and finding a place for the church to meet while construction takes place. God has done some miraculous wonders during this time of construction and continues to amaze the Epiphany staff. Knowing the church would be without a permanent home was unsettling. We didn’t know how the congregation would react. But to the amazement of everyone, attendance has continued to grow from 240, which maxed out the older building, to 300-315. We settled on meeting in a local movie theater during construction, which provides space for two Sunday services. Pastor Matty Towse leads the church, supported by many empowered staff.

We eagerly anticipate our new, permanent home. This project would not have been possible without Converge Cornerstone Fund’s partnership in financing the construction. Conventional financial means would not have been possible. But we began our building project with an aggressive capital campaign and experienced the radical generosity of the congregation and the local community.

Not bad for a church that has never passed an offering plate.

In a race to beat the harsh winter freeze in rural northern Minnesota, Converge Cornerstone Fund approved financing on a loan that enabled us to begin construction. We demolished the gas station and warehouse which we called home, and the house and bread store on adjacent property we had purchased. As a result of Converge Cornerstone Fund’s quick actions, we had the foundation and initial electrical and plumbing prepared. We hope to start the framing sometime this winter and into the spring.

Attached is an aerial perspective of the construction site, post-demolition. To most it may look like an empty field covered in snow, but to our congregation this is a new blank canvas.

As of late January, the steel beams have been ordered for the initial framing. With the footings in place, we are on schedule to have underground plumbing and electrical installed and the cement slab poured before spring. Once the building is completed, the congregation will transition into this larger, more accommodating facility―which will allow for more efficiency and focus as we continue ministering to newcomers. Due to our central location and the growing popularity of the church, we eagerly expect to draw even more people from surrounding communities.

As Epiphany continues growing, we continue to keep an eye on future expansions. There are two more parcels we are looking to acquire: the remaining properties on the block. We are also in talks about merging with another fellow Converge church in the community, which will serve as a stand-alone Community Youth Center.

Epiphany Station has grown from a small nucleus of laypeople, passionate about sharing God’s love, to a church-planting movement that has impacted Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and other communities in Northwest Minnesota for the glory of God. If you want to stay connected consider following our ministry on Facebook.

To learn more, stream one of our services live, or go to epiphanystation.com to support the mission of Epiphany Station.

 

Epiphany Station article edited by Bob Putman, Converge.