In case you’ve missed the telling of our story- how Jesus Christ has led Open Door Church to this new venue- we’ve recorded it here. We are so thankful for His generosity and provision for us.
The last couple of years have seen the church filling our present school hall on occasions. Feeling that we were beginning to be contained we began a long search for a new venue! We looked at numerous venues in the town which were prohibitively expensive, not regularly available, too small or of limited use. Although disappointing it seemed as if God closed each door we tried! In addition to trying to find a larger main hall we had various evening meetings in several places in the town. We needed a home base! We prayed!
Things began to change when returning from holiday Adrian had a sense that God was saying he would lead Open Door through six steps over the coming year; Faith, Giving, Expectancy, Sacrifice, Promise and Provision. Additionally as elders we felt God drawing us to Isaiah 54:
‘Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch your tent curtains wide; lengthen your cords; strengthen your stakes’!
As elders we met and prayerfully considered Open Door’s options. Increasingly we felt that we needed a place that enabled us to have a Sunday venue, offices and smaller rooms together under one roof located in Kettering town centre – a big ask when we had nothing in the bank!
“Last November Adrian stopped outside of a town centre nightclub ‘Rehab’ that had gone into receivership. Along with the Nightclub the sale included a shop that fronted onto the street. The place was on the market for £350,000 having had a recent refit of £1,200,000! As elders we visited and found it had been vacated literally overnight. Furniture and resources had been left as they were! The venue had all the facilities we needed and much more to enable us to develop and grow. We took a month to pray as elders and seek God asking if this was his will for us.”
Imagine my surprise says Adrian, when over Christmas 2011 “I met a friend from another part of the country who had been praying for us”. He asked me “are we looking at an old dance hall with a large glitter ball for our new venue?” This described perfectly one of the bars in Rehab as it has a sizeable glitter ball above a sprung wooden dance floor! Of similar encouragement was a prophetic word given at a regional leader’s event suggesting that our building would have ‘a spring in the basement’. I took this to be a spiritual allegory. , within a month a surveyor visited this vacant nightclub and reported that due to the high water table in the town were we aware of a spring in the basement?!
To cut a long story short we considered our options for purchase. We took advice on acquiring a mortgage with no deposit, (we had been drawing on savings for the past few years. Professional opinion was that we were unlikely to get a mortgage. But as we prayed as a church, Tris and Ali Harris felt God leading them to make an offer to the trustees/elders. They would buy the building and lease it to the church!
Estimating moving costs to be around £40,000 we prepared for an offering and the couple placed an offer on the building. Two days later we heard that another nightclub had made the first serious bid on the building six months after it had come on to the market and it was significantly higher than we could afford! We looked to God, we trusted and felt that we should wait and follow His direction. We took the offering where £42,000 was given and pledged by the church, but for 6 weeks we heard nothing from the estate agents.
Imagine our delight as on the last day that the new owners were about to complete we were informed that they’d pulled out having considered that the town could not support another nightclub!
After much prayer and discussion an offer was made and a final bid of £210,000 was accepted, £140,000 less than the asking price!
Over recent months much has been done to improve the venue. One further act of God’s favour concerned the use of several side rooms to the nightclub. These adjacent and connecting rooms are owned by a third party and had been leased to the nightclub for £8,000 per year.
Upon contacting the owner of these rooms they were initially unwilling to discuss the terms of the previous agreement. However, once we told them our story and what we planned to do with the building God softened their hearts and they offered us the use of these facilities with a 10 year lease for free!
One concern for us was that there was no parking at the building except a council car park (pay and display) 50m away. Again God provided as after a “chance” meeting in a coffee house a local business man gave us free use of his business’s car park (52 spaces) free of charge on a Sunday!
So, God has given us a building in our town centre. It’s of significant size and will seat 300. It’s been of great encouragement to see the church growing in stature as we’ve prayed and seen God answer. We have a clear prophetic call on us to serve our town with the love of Christ and a desire to impact our town and region- we want to start small groups in each of our local towns Wellingborough, Corby and Market Harborough. We’re calling the building ‘Eden Centre’ as Eden means ‘delight’ or ‘pleasure’. We have found much delight in God’s provision. We also pray that the venue will be a place where many find fresh delight and purpose in life through a new relationship with God. We also back onto Eden Street!
Although we want to credit the generosity of the church- many people have given significant amounts of time and money. Our final sentence must be to honour God’s faithfulness in leading us, Christ’s mercy in saving us and God’s Spirit that continues to equip us! God’s plans are far greater than our vision ever was and He has provided abundantly for all He plans to do.