New Building

Building Update

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It's always good to start with the Word of God so first of all a reminder of the foundational word that God has given us from Isaiah 54:1-2 to enlarge the place of our tent and to strengthen the stakes, a word not simply to patch up the old and make do but to enlarge and to prepare for growth.

Our text for this new year from Isaiah 43:19 also reminds us that God wants to do 'a new thing' and His desire isn't for us to stand still but to move forward and plan for the future. We're a landlocked building but we mustn't be a spiritually landlocked church without a vision. And God has called us like Abraham to step out in faith and to go and enter the land He's prepared and provided for us.

Where have we come from?

Well with God's help we have come a long way, in fact a very long way and we want to celebrate the miracles God has done to get us where we are. With a church of about 180 adults God has enabled us to raise over £560,000, which is an amazing achievement. That's not a small or ordinary thing. God has done miracles to make that happen and it's something to celebrate and to really thank God for, for His faithfulness to us.

What have we done so far?

Well we have prayed and searched and considered, believing that God would show us the right place to go - our promised land. And the miracle is that God has provided for us to stay on Sunbridge Road, right in the area where God has called us to serve. God knew all along what He was doing when he was moving Provident to a new location, so that we could move onto their land. It's interesting that in order for the children of Israel to move into their Promised land, God had to displace people. And that's just what He's done for us as well.

And then we had to look at what the 'tent' - the building - would look like on the new plot of land, to envisage its dimensions and to see how it could be built, bearing in mind that our guiding principle has been to enlarge the place of our tent and not just to build the same building across the road.

Consultation process

All along we have been counting on the fact that God is a God of detail. When He gave the command to Moses to build the Tabernacle, He gave very careful instructions about every minute aspect of the design. And God is a God who cares about our new building and its exact specifications and the craftsmanship involved in it all.

So with that in mind we went through a process of consulting with the church. We asked you what you would like to have in the new building, if it were possible, in order to fulfill your vision for the ministries you're involved with. And then we had to assess and look with wisdom at what came back. If we were to build everything that you asked for, the cost would be five million pounds to bring it to completion, including furnishings and fittings. That's the stark reality.

Realistic assessment

After much prayer and discussion, we have decided as a leadership that that is far too much for us to aim at. We've been convinced all along that we should not plunge the church into massive debt that would hang over successive generations. And apart from everything else, £5m would have involved an enormous mortgage for our size of church.

So our task has been to take into account our vision and the views that have been expressed, to assess what our assets are worth, to judge what is our potential to raise funds through giving and through grants and also what would be a more manageable mortgage, And then we've added in our faith and the wisdom that God has given us - after all, no man builds a house without first calculating its cost And after much prayer and consideration we believe that God is calling us to something in the region of two million pounds, a more realistic faith target.

sunbridge rd missionThe foundation stone of the Mission Hall was laid at 4.30pm,
Monday 18 March of 1889

We have now discussed this with the architect who believes that it is possible to come up with a design for this overall cost that would meet our requirements. One of the key elements to achieving this will be to make much greater use of the main meeting space, especially throughout the week, and also by making provision for extending the building in future years. So at this stage we are waiting for the architect's revised plans, which we will then need to review to make sure that they still fit our brief and our vision.

How much faith do we need for this? 

Now for many of us two million pounds sounds a great deal of money - and it certainly is! But to build something that is bigger and bolder, that enlarges the place of our tent and is able to fulfil our vision, will take that amount of money. 

And what I would say to you as your Pastor is that God is a big God and if He wants us to enlarge the place of our tent, then we can trust Him to guide us and provide for us. And if we believe that taking out a mortgage is a crucial part of God's plan for us, as indeed most would do when buying a house, then we know that we can trust Him for that as well, to give us the wisdom to know what realistic amount that should be for our size of church, but also for a future growing church - and that is where the faith element comes in.

I do believe that God through this whole process wants to enlarge our capacity for faith. He wants to enlarge your trust and my trust in Him. God's design for us isn't just for a bigger church, but for a people with a bigger faith, equipped to handle the greater things He has in store for us as a church and as individuals. 

In all of this, we want you to know that we are seeking to walk with wisdom and humility. We are consulting with others who are outside of the leadership team because we value their opinions. We also want to update you as best as we can along the way and where we have failed to do that as we should, we ask for your forgiveness - we're not perfect and we need grace. But we do always strive to do our best for the church, and seek to learn and to get better where we fail. 

Where has some of the money gone? 

  • The cost of the land - £296,000 
  • The cost to bring the project to where we are now - £96,964 
  • The amount tithed from the Building Fund to go to other gospel-centred building projects - £46,500 
  • The amount left in the Building Fund - £127,255 

Some other details to mention are that we are in the process of agreeing with a company called Flaming Fires Ud (on Thornton Rd) for them to use the Old Sports Hall on part of our land, for storage for 12 months, in return for them repairing the building and securing it. We have also decided not to actively pursue the bottom part of the Provident land adjacent to Thornton Rd, which is still up for sale but is too expensive. 

How do we proceed from here? 

When we get the next phase of the plans back, we'll make sure that we're happy they fit our vision. Then we'll ensure that everyone can look at the plans for themselves to see what we are believing God for and for there to be opportunity for feedback. 

We also need to get on with our fundraising plan, which is why I'm very excited to announce that we're working with a Fundraising Consultant called Andrew Evans - our meeting with him at just the right time has been another of those God-incidences. He used to be a Pastor and church planter, but now specializes in helping churches to raise funds for projects and ministries. And he's going to help us to draw up a fundraising plan and also to research grant-making bodies and make applications to them. 

So there's a great deal to be excited about as we see God working out His plans. We are confident that it's not our vision that we're pursuing but God's vision and that He is more than able to do far more than we can ever dream or imagine. We are looking forward to the great things that God has in store for us and you are all an important part of that. And I for one, am so glad that we are in a place where we are wholly cast on God and have to rely totally on Him and that He is building faith in us, for all that He wants to do in and through us. 

With our love and prayers 

Pastor Phil on behalf of the Elders and Trustees

About Sunbridge

Based in the heart of Bradford, we are an independent evangelical church made up of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds who share a simple faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Our aim is to worship God and to reach out to others with His amazing love in Jesus. Sunbridge Road Mission: Gaynor Street, Bradford, BD1 2LF. Tel: 01274 735344

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