Meridian Idaho Church Celebrates New Church and 30 Years

"How will we ever raise enough money to build a sanctuary?" It was February 2004 and the Meridian Church had just burned their mortgage. In 1988, they had purchased a corner lot and had built a multipurpose room and classrooms, which they began using in 1997. Through a lot of hard work, they paid the loan in just over seven years. But now they needed at least $300,000 more to build a sanctuary. For a 100-member congregation, that number looked formidable.

God already had a plan. When they purchased the land for $25,000, He knew that it would become extremely valuable in just 15 years. He knew that a developer would want the land. And He knew just the person to lead the church through the process.

Carla Mace was not an Adventist in 1998. She began attending the Meridian Church in January 2000. At the close of Russell Burrill’s meetings in 2001 she was baptized. In March of 2002 she was chosen to chair the building committee. About this same time a developer contacted then pastor Tim Gray and told him he had a client who would like to purchase the corner where the church was located. Would the church consider selling? The price mentioned was $1.4 million. The pastor said no, more than once, but eventually took the proposal to the church. The church was skeptical as well.

As they thought about the offer, the church members began thinking of all the work involved in purchasing another piece of property, getting permits, etc. The thought of starting all over again was daunting. Mace told the developer, "We don’t have the money, expertise or people to build a new church at this time."

The developer suggested that maybe his company could build a new facility for the congregation. Later the developer made a proposal: In exchange for the corner lot, they would replicate their existing facility with the addition of a sanctuary on five acres, at the developer’s cost.

After much discussion and negotiation, documents were signed and work began on the new building. One key provision was that the church had the option of selling their current building. God blessed, and the Meridian Friends Church purchased and moved the building. The Meridian Church wanted to expand their fellowship hall and add more classroom space. This $80,000 sale meant that they would need a mortgage of only $50,000 to finish the project.

On Sept. 16, the Meridian Church, under the direction of their pastor, Garey Gantz, held an open house to give the community the opportunity to see the new miracle building and to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

God knew. He knew that purchasing that corner lot would be a good investment. He knew that a developer would want the property. He knew that Mace wanted to join the church and use her expertise to His glory. And He knew that the church would have a facility valued at $2.5 million to enhance their witness to their community, with a total net cash cost (including the cost of the previous facility) of under $450,000. Now that’s a miracle return on investment!

December 01, 2006 / Idaho Conference
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