WHEN THE people of Westbrook Community Church in Chaska, Minnesota, think of church, they don’t see a building. They see the faces of all the people their church touches.
As a matter of fact, they haven’t had a building since the church began nine years ago. As a “setup church,” Westbrook meets in Chaska High School. In order to reach more people, though, they decided they needed a building. They already had raised money and purchased property. Now it was time to build their first permanent campus.
Westbrook dreamed of a building that would give them a ministry platform to continue to grow their vision. They envisioned creating a caring community where “all can belong, become like Christ and be a blessing to the world.”
Believing God could do even bigger things than he had already done at Westbrook, their leadership came before God, asking for his guidance and provision. At the church’s executive retreat last January, they prayerfully developed a plan to build a church facility with the partnership of the Converge Cornerstone Fund.
They planned to get congregational approval, raise $200,000 for the mortgage down payment by early 2020 and begin building in May. The plan was realistic and doable. But as Westbrook’s pastor Kevin Sharpe explained, “One thing we didn’t plan for was the coronavirus.”
He continued, “Sunday, March 15, was the day we were going to ask for additional pledges. And that was the exact day churches were shut down and prevented from meeting live.” He remembered painfully, “That, of course, stopped all our plans in their tracks.”
How do you trust God for a $2,424,000 church building project when a global pandemic hits?
Sharpe confessed, “At this point, raising the money we needed or even thinking we would have our own building looked pretty bleak to us.”
But God answered. “Although it looked bad from our perspective, God was working. And he has been so faithful to continue to do his work amid a worldwide pandemic.”
But the church is not a building; it’s people. And God can move his people with his vision, no matter what the circumstances.
The people of God at Westbrook responded to God’s vision.
“Much to my surprise,” Sharpe recounted, “during the quarantine, we raised more than the $200,000 we needed.”