As of November 30, First Curve giving has reached $192,980. We’re at 77% of the $250,000 goal and need to finish strong by the end of 2016. If you’re new to the First Curve concept, you’ll want to read the overview of this campaign (portagechapel.com/first-curve). In a nutshell, we set a goal to raise $250,000 for three ministry purposes: missions giving, helping victims of human trafficking, and helping the homeless.
Right now, we’re pursuing not just the giving portion of the third ministry goal, but also the practical side - finding the piece of land suitable to use for homeless ministry. During the summer, we met and prayed at the property on SR 59 across from Walmart (the former Campbell Furniture building), seeking God’s direction whether this was the right place to start a homeless drop-in shelter. The property price is well over the $50,000 we pledged to raise but it could be used sooner than we all had anticipated. Everyone prayed and the congregation voted to go ahead and pursue purchasing the property. Since then, we’ve been looking into all the physical and practical aspects of the property in detail to ensure it will be suitable and working on a purchase agreement with the owners.
What have we learned? The building and property were formerly used for retail sales and the township zoning board would have to grant us a conditional use under the current zoning classification before we could use it for ministry. Part of this discussion with the county and township are what changes we need to make to the building’s interior. In order to begin the process for conditional use, Ravenna township zoning is requiring us to submit blueprints of our proposed changes and a comprehensive usage description with detailed plans about the activities and ministries that will be taking place and how we plan to use the property. Once we give the township the blueprints and usage description, they can start to assess whether they can grant a conditional usage. We’ve been given a 4-6 month timeline estimate until this process is complete.
Utilities, both water and sewer, are also being considered. Right now, there is no city water and sewer at the property so we’ve been talking to county resources about possible ways to make water accessible. The property has a well and septic system which won’t carry the load needed by a homeless shelter. Water and sewer can be accessed across the road by Walmart but it’s a question of who will be paying to drill under SR 59 to bring it across and down the road to the property. This part of the planning takes a lot of time, what may seem excessive to some, but what we’re doing are the necessary steps to ensure that we are allowed to use this property for a homeless ministry before we sign on the dotted line to purchase.
Although it may seem that this First Curve goal to help the homeless could be stalled in bureaucracy for the moment, what we're really waiting on right now is God's timing and answer as to the specifics of WHERE we help the homeless. The goal in front of us is to finish First Curve strong and give the entire $250,000; $50,000 of which is for homeless ministry. As we wait on the answers about the property, we know that God continues to work out His plan for homeless ministry as others have come alongside to say they’ll help. Riverwood Chapel is willing to contribute and a local business has expressed an interest in helping financially. We know that God has asked PCC to help provide for the homeless. Whether it’s at this property yet isn’t certain, so continue to pray. We need to have faith in God’s leading and be patient in the process. Whether he clears the way or closes the door on the Campbell property, we do know that He will provide what we need for the ministry and in His timing.
First Curve is all about moving ahead in faith, trusting God is leading, and listening to His voice. We’re three-fourths of the way through the curve, traveling by faith and trusting God, even though we’re not able to see everything He’s doing. So while we wait for answers, continue to give to First Curve beyond your regular tithe, thank God that you get to be part of his work, and be ready to move and help in this ministry when the answers are clear and the waiting is over.