After three and a half years of meeting in two homes and in multiple services, the time has come for all of us to worship together in one location and at the same time. After considering and rejecting the Kale Farms rental, we have located a meeting place that will serve our needs exceptionally well. That location is Weddle Elementary School. Weddle is a relatively new school, six years old, and located right across the street from Claggett Creek Middle School, just off the Salem Parkway. The school has a very nice cafeteria where we will be holding our worship services. We will also be using classrooms for our nursery and kids classes. Rental costs are very affordable. This is a huge change for us as a church body and one that we believe will open the doors for growth in discipleship and community. We are so excited to see what God is going to do. Our first meeting at the new location will be on September 13.
Pasted in below is the statement from the elders that was prepared in response to our initial discussions on moving to the Kale Farms building. While that option did not ultimately come to pass, the same basic questions need to be addressed as we look at moving to Weddle and combining our two services. Here is an excerpt from that statement that will serve as a reminder of our commitment to be obedient to the Great Commission and why we believe we need to move out of our homes and into a larger facility.
When we planted the church, we all understood that we must be obedient to the command to make disciples of all peoples. We understood that the church, in general, was not doing a very good job of reaching the lost here in Salem. Our primary mission field is the City of Salem and we believed the most effective means of reaching the city would be through planting multiple, connected house churches, with each church having elder level leadership and a common philosophy of ministry. We believed that we could quickly and effectively multiply through using homes as our base of operation. We used the term “missional” to describe our philosophy of ministry because we felt that term best described our desire to be an outwardly focused church, rich in community and focused on proclaiming, discipling and sending those who God brought to us.
Early in our ministry (remember that oneTreasure is a very young church even today) we came to the realization that our idea of planting multiple house churches was not sustainable, at least in the way we had conceived. We realized that long term, we could not identify, train and send enough qualified leaders to make the model workable. We also realized that the multiple church model was far too leadership intensive, especially for those who are already balancing the demands of jobs, family and ministry. We found that even with just three services, we were exhausting our leaders and actually hindering the development of community, which consequently slowed our outreach and our efforts to disciple. That is the main reason we chose to discontinue our Monday night service. That move led to growth, both in community and in numbers, in the Sunday morning service and helped us refocus our understanding of how we believe God is leading us into the future.
While we remain absolutely committed to home based ministry that is built on community, we no longer believe that the best way to do that is by planting multiple self-sustaining home churches. We are now revising that approach and moving to develop smaller home based groups that will function as fellowship, caring and ministry outreach groups, while our Sunday services will be times to gather together for the experience of corporate worship. Consequently, we have not considered a new church plant as an alternative to finding a larger space for the Sunday morning service.
With that said, it has been apparent since last Fall that we needed more space for our Sunday morning service and in December the issue became really urgent. We have been getting by since the first of the year, but there is literally no room for guests or new people. So, we have been praying together as a congregation, since December, that God would bring us a solution. Since we do not have any homes that can accommodate a larger group and have space for a nursery and a kid’s learning area, we started considering other options and went out looking at various possibilities for new space. We believe that God has led us to Weddle Elementary in response to our prayers and patience to wait for His provision.