A God Story
Acquiring the Land at 2340 Pump Road
The journey to Community West owning and stewarding the 19 acres of land at 2340 Pump Road is filled with miraculous moments of God’s provision and leading. The story is truly a God story.
In 2008, leaders of Third Church, the mother church of Community West, first got interested in the land, when Third envisioned a second site of Third Church “further west” than its existing site. At the time, the land was owned by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s service organization. We heard that at least twice, the Knights had put the land on the market but then pulled back. In 2008, we were at the right time at the right place, when they seemed resolved to sell. From this point on, there were multiple signs of God’s providence and miraculous activity resulting in our now having the land. Here are a few significant moments in our God story of acquiring the land.
- During negotiations for a potential sale of the land, the Knights reported to us that 21 real estate developers expressed interest in purchasing the land, many of whom were willing to pay considerably more per acre than the limited liability company (an “LLC”) assembled by members and friends from Third Church would be paying. There were also three not-for-profit suiters of which we were one. Because the land was zonedagricultural (which permits churches without rezoning), we had an early “in.” It also felt providential that our Lead Pastor and the Knights real estate agent were personal friends from high school. In the end the Knights of Columbus chose us over all of the other bidders to negotiate a potential purchase of the land.
- Also, we encountered another miracle from God when along the way, we met an apparent deal-breaker when we learned there was a certain minimum road frontage for churches required by an Henrico Countyzoning ordinance, and this property didn’t meet that minimum frontage. Imagine our surprise when we learned that Grace Community Baptist Church, our next door neighbor to the north, owned a little piece of land, contiguous to our property, and across Burnside Drive from their own. Imagine our even greater surprise when we learned the amount of their operating budget shortfall for that year equaled the market value for that small tract of land, leaving them motivated to sell! Grace Community Baptist Church formed a committee to negotiate a deal with our team, and we learned that the head of their committee and a member of our team had been in a men’s Bible study together 20 years earlier. Again, that detail felt like God’s provision. We soon struck a deal that seemed to benefit both churches. The entire development felt unmistakably from the hand of God.
- After buying the land from the Knights, the LLC leased it to Third Church with an option to purchase it, so that the “second site” could worship there and with the plan eventually to buy the land from the LLC for what it paid for it. But by 2014, Third Church decided it did not want to keep leasing the land anymore and offered it to Community West Church. Still at a fledgling new church stage, Community West’s elders prayed and expressed bold faith in taking on a $212,000 annual lease payment, for 20 months until we were in a position to buy the landfrom the LLC. Miraculously, God had provided a $100,000 out of area gift, which was vital to us carrying the payments. Also, miraculously, at one Stated Session meeting in early 2016, we learned we were $35,000 short on lease payments. Our Elders prayed and discerned we would go to the congregation for these funds, but start with our Elders. After praying again, the Elders passed a hat where each of the seven Elders put in on a slip of paper an amount they were willing personally to give to help offset the need. When we counted up the amounts, we learned the seven amounts, confidentially submitted by each Elder added up to a few dollars more than the entire $35,000 we needed.
- When it came to Community West purchasing the land itself, for the $2.6million purchase price, our story felt like the miracle of God’s provision. Community West had been launched as an independent church from Third Church in April, 2014. Nonetheless, Third Church honored a capital campaign pledge to supply Community West with $800,000 for the purchase. Selling the rights to the cell tower (which was up for renewal at that time), plus the generous gifts of the Community West congregation along with friends of the church, and a small seller-financed loan from the Knights of Columbus, enabled us to assemble the funds needed for the purchase! On March 3, 2016, Community West purchased the 19 acres of land. Since then, and because of the generous gifts of our congregation, the remaining balance on the purchase money loan from the Knights of Columbus is only $240,000.
These are a few high moments of the God story which is our land story at Community West. Thank you for being part of the story God continues to write.
To God be the Glory!