What happens if you’re Renovation Church in Blaine, Minnesota, about to begin constructing your first permanent facility and the COVID-19 pandemic hits? That was one of the many faith tests the church experienced this year.
According to lead pastor David Sorn, Renovation’s mission is “to be a people changed by God to change the world.” The church is fitly named because it has been doing this one life at a time since its beginning in 2010. They believe God is in the life renovation business. And they envision their first church building as a tool to amplify what God is already doing — blessing the church with steady growth.
Renovation’s vision for its own building began in 2014, when they were on their way to outgrowing the elementary school gym where they meet. They began raising money to buy land. And God provided. Three years later, in 2017, they began collecting additional funds for a down payment on a building mortgage with the Converge Cornerstone Fund.
People continued to give for the building. But as it turned out, Renovation needed more land for the second phase of parking. They also needed to increase their equity to qualify for a loan.
“We weren’t sure we had enough for the mortgage down payment,” Sorn recalls. Not to mention needing funds for more land.
An empty lot owned by a non-church member adjoined Renovation’s land. But the church was tapped out on money and could not afford to purchase it.
“We took a risk,” Sorn confides. The church fasted and prayed. Together they simply asked God for what they needed. Sorn then met with the landowner, told him of the church’s need and asked him to donate the lot to the church.
The owner agreed if its appraisal came in high enough. The final appraisal valued the land at $400,000. As a result, Renovation got the land free, providing the needed equity for the loan and giving them the additional parking space.
Originally, they had planned to start construction in April 2020 and be in the building in December. Then the virus hit in March. How do you build a church building in the middle of a pandemic when people cannot even meet in a church? When will things be back to normal? Will people even come back to church?
Sorn recalls, “We went back and forth. Do we keep going? Do we stop? What do we do? But we trusted in the Lord’s timing and that he is going to use Renovation. In the six-year process to begin to build, God moved and showed himself faithful so many times. We are not going to doubt him now.”
Renovation broke ground for its church building April 11, 2020 — three weeks into the coronavirus shutdown. In all the uncertainty and chaos of the crisis, they decided they would trust God.
“Many times along the way it looked as if we were at a dead end,” Sorn says. “And yet, you got to just keep walking in faith. And the Lord provided. Building a building in the middle of a pandemic feels like another dead end. But we are just walking forward, trusting the Lord to bring us through. He has done this over and over again.”
Renovation plans to be in its new building by December 2020. Reflecting on its partnership with the Cornerstone Fund to make all this happen, pastor Sorn says, “We are so immensely grateful to the Cornerstone Fund for helping us fund this facility. We know God is going to do absolutely amazing things there once it is finished!”