The leadership at Stony Creek Church in Utica, MI, first began praying about a larger facility in 2016, after being in their building since 2002. In the intervening years, the congregation had more than doubled—but the building hadn’t changed. Their main auditorium was consistently full, their walkways and common areas were crowded, and their children’s classrooms were bursting at the seams. All this diminished the warm, family atmosphere Stony Creek Church is known for. And aside from the experience of their congregation, the leadership was concerned that the space wasn’t welcoming to visitors. They feared the lack of parking and cramped, overwhelming spaces could deter new people from coming and staying to hear the Gospel.
The church, particularly the burgeoning children’s ministry, desperately needed more space. As they sought God’s direction, however, the leadership felt led to renovate their current space rather than move to a new one.
This would be a major undertaking! To adequately meet the need, the renovation would add over five thousand square feet of space to the existing building—including a new second floor just for children’s ministry. The leadership reached out to Church Investors Fund early on and sought our advice throughout the process, desiring to be sure the project would remain feasible and fiscally sound. Chris Bordeau, the executive pastor, says Church Investors Fund “was more interested in the advance of God’s kingdom than making money…Their counsel was wise, responsible, and caring all the way.”
In addition to the financing through Church Investors Fund, the congregation has given sacrificially and abundantly. Just shy of halfway through their fundraising campaign, the church has almost 90% of their goal pledged and nearly 60% fulfilled. One family decided to give up buying a new car, while another delayed their own home renovation so they could give to the building fund. The congregation has also given more than just financially. Chris says that their need of people to serve grew throughout the process, but “God has moved in his people to provide for our needs all along the way. More people have been stepping up to serve during the renovations, while we were a mobile church, and now that ministry is expanding. People are filling the needs.”
After spending several months as a “mobile campus” while their building underwent the massive reconstruction, Stony Creek returned to their like-new building at the beginning of 2019. Already, Chris says they have seen “a huge spike” in the children’s ministry “with the infusion of more young families—which was a huge part of the renovation’s design.” They have been able to hire a full-time children’s ministry director who is “a wonderful influence on an entire generation at Stony Creek Church.” They also transitioned from a Sunday School/main service model to having two identical services on Sunday, with deeper Bible teaching on Wednesday nights. This will alleviate their parking problem and help them maintain their church’s “intimate family service style” as they continue to grow.
Throughout the entire process, Chris is excited to report that “a number of people have come to Christ, been connected with Christian living, are committing to the church body, and going on to coach others [through discipleship].” Praise God! Looking to the future, Stony Creek plans to utilize their new facility to reach out more to the community. They eagerly anticipate the way the extra space will allow them to continue to offer the strong Bible teaching, welcoming family atmosphere, and simple discipleship process they’re known for to more and more people, helping them fulfill their mission “to make more and better followers of Jesus in our community and beyond.”