We know you have questions.
Check out these FAQ’s
Rise Up is a three-year generosity initiative leading us to rise to new heights in making disciples of Jesus Christ who have a heart for God, heart for each other and heart for our world. Through Rise Up, God is calling us to partner with Him by investing ourselves and our resources in greater levels of commitment that will impact Wilson and the surrounding area of Eastern North Carolina today, and for years to come.
Our goal is that 100% of our church family will fully engage the Rise Up journey. We want everyone praying and participating. We will trust God for the results, and move forward in the timetable that makes the most sense. We will be financially responsible. If everyone at WCC commits to going on this spiritual journey together, and then responds as God directs, we believe extraordinary things will happen. It really is about allowing God to do the impossible inside each of us, so that he can do the impossible through us!
There is a time for everything. Our church was portable for 19 years, meeting in homes and rented facilities for our gatherings. In 2010, it was time for God to miraculously make it possible for us to purchase the former Regal Cinema. We spent the next few months remodeling as much of it as we could afford, launching our first worship service at our new property on May 1, 2011. We paid a contractor to remodel two of the six theaters spaces and the lobby, so we could have a space for our kids, offices and a small coffee/kitchen. We used one of the larger theater rooms for our adult worship space, putting up a portable stage, adding some audio and light equipment, and cleaned up the old theater seats for congregational seating. We didn’t have the money to work on the remaining three theater rooms at that time. Within a year, our attendance doubled.
In 2012, we started a Spanish speaking service and challenged the congregation to raise the money to remodel one of the three unused theaters for the Spanish services and also for our youth ministry. The members enthusiastically gave not only the money, but also the sweat equity to remodel what we currently call the Dub Hub. We also had a Haitian church that met in one of our conference rooms on Sundays during this time. The sounds of English, Spanish and French were heard in word and song every Sunday. Our Spanish members left to start their own church after 5 years with us and our Haitian members finally found homes in the Mount Olive area. We always told the Lord that if He entrusted us a building of our own, we would use it seven days a week to help people in our community. He was taking us at our word!
In 2013, the Lord continued to trust us with more people who needed help. A small school for special needs children came looking for a place to meet. So, we started renting some of our classroom space to them. In 2014, we heard about an African American church that lost its home, so we rented the unused theater room to them. They rented from us for two years before finding a place of their own. In 2015, we launched a new campus in Rocky Mount that we call Eastgate Community Church. In 2017, we began renting a permanent space. We sent some of our best leaders to launch and grow this new outreach.
Within five years the special needs school had grown from 6 to 60 students. The growth of the school and the growth of our own children’s ministry moved us to hire a contractor and remodel another one of our unused theater spaces. So, in August of 2018, we opened up a new children’s educational wing and built a beautiful new playground outside. We did this asking, “What is God blessing?” The answer was easy to see. God was trusting us with young families with lots of kids. So, we decided to put kids first in the first phase of our building expansion. We also noticed that God was trusting us with special needs kids, so we trained new volunteers and began advertising to the parents of these under-served children and families.
Now, it is time to look to the future. We asked a consultant to tell us how many people we could potentially reach were we to maximize the usage of our current property. So, he drew up a multi-phased master plan that fully utilizes our current building, adds an additional building and a refurbished parking lot. He concluded that we could easily reach up to 2,000 people if we fully used what God had given us. With the completion of the first phase, the children’s educational wing, it’s time to prepare for phase two. It’s time to begin utilizing our last unused theater for an additional adult worship venue, to relocate our offices and enlarge our nursery, to improve our lobby and build new larger bathrooms and improve the curb appeal of our parking lot and building entrance. Healthy things grow. Now, is the time to prepare for phase two, so we can make room for the growth that God continues to give us.
The church is the family of God. And healthy families grow. Every time a family grows it requires an adjustment. The single person has to adjust to married life. The young couple has to adjust to having a baby and becoming parents. The firstborn child has to adjust to a younger sibling, and so on.
Our church family is the same. Just as parents sometimes may wish that their children wouldn’t grow so fast, so we may cling to a similar sentiment for our church. Yet, the truth is, no parent would truly wish their children not to grow. The would be unhealthy and selfish. Neither should we wish that our church family wouldn’t grow.
Besides, the Lord Jesus has commanded us to make disciples of all nations. As we are obedient to Christ’s command, we will grow. As a result, we will need to make space for them at our Wilson campus, at our Rocky Mount campus, and at future locations in Eastern North Carolina and throughout the world as the Lord leads us. Every family should have a home with room for every member.
Available seating at our optimal inviting times is a challenge. We have discovered that service times outside the Sunday morning window of 9-11AM aren’t as effective. So we need to increase our seating for adult worship by offering a new worship venue during the sweet spot hours people want to attend church.
Also, guests have expectations that regular church goers might not see as important. We’ve gotten used to our church home. We know where it is, how it looks and smells, we like it just fine. But many in our community still don’t know we exist. Guests have trouble finding us, they pull into the rundown parking lot, walk into the overcrowded lobby, and have trouble finding a seat for their family of five. First impressions matter.
We must improve our curb appeal and make our lobby more welcoming for people to hang out and experience a loving community like they’ve never encountered before. We must continue to provide a compelling and safe place for children. We’ve expanded our classroom space for K-5th grade. Now we must enlarge and enhance our nursery. With our plan to repurpose the theater room – we not only get additional worship space, we expand ministry opportunities for students, for fellowship, and for outreach events.
No, not if our church continues to follow the paradigm given in the 1st century church to grow big and small at the same time. Remember what the Scripture says, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah” (Acts 5:42). As we grow in Sunday attendance, we will need to launch new community groups that meet in homes. We will continue to follow the rhythm of the 1st century church–– meeting in the “temple courts and from house to house.”
Sundays are like big family reunions with grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. We won’t know them all as well as we do our immediate family, but we know we are all members of the same tribe. However, our community groups that meet in homes are more like immediate family. We know them like parents and brothers and sisters.
As our church grows, you won’t get lost in the crowd. you’ll always have your community group family and you’ll have the small service teams that you serve on with others in the church.
We hope to raise $1 million over the next three years above our normal tithes and offerings. We know that this will take much sacrifice and faith on our parts, but we believe that God is calling us to fully utilize the property He has entrusted to us to reach more people with the Gospel. We also believe that the God who calls us to this great work, is also the God who will enable us to do it.
We have always been a church family that lives within its means. After all, we met in homes and rented facilities for 19 years, persevering until the Lord enabled us to purchase a church home. We support dozens of local, domestic, and international ministries. We spends thousands of dollars annually in benevolence and missions. When someone in our community expresses a need, we don’t just give them money, we get to know them, offering to pray and share the gospel with them. We are the church.
But we aren’t trying to be the only ministry in town. If we see that another ministry in town is offering a food pantry, we do a food drive to support them. If there is a local homeless shelter, we support it. If there is a home for recovering addicts, we support it. If there is a pregnancy center helping women with an unplanned pregnancy, we not only support them financially, but we offer to volunteer as counselors and teachers. In all of this, we look for like-minded partnerships that we can support, rather than duplicate.
So no, we don’t think this money could be spent better anywhere else. Our church handles all of its finances with integrity and multiple layers of accountability. We live within our means. Besides this, the church is God’s plan for reaching the world with the Gospel. He doesn’t have a plan B. The church is a better investment than the government, better than any other non-profit, or NGO.
God has entrusted this property to our church family. Shouldn’t we be willing to give sacrificially so that it is used to its fullest potential? We want to make room for reaching more people, inviting them to come just as they are and be forever changed by the love of Jesus.
Because it would be both impractical and financially unwise. It’s impractical because we’d have no place to meet while it was being demolished and rebuilt. It’s financially unwise because it is actually less expensive to build a new building than to reengineer the support, redo the roof, and rebuild the interior of the existing structure. We actually looked into this when we first purchased the building in 2010.
Because we have been advised that it is neither financially feasible nor practically advisable to do the worship center phase next. It will be the most costly phase and we want to grow in attendance and giving within our current building’s footprint before beginning the final phase. This will put us in a better financial position to begin the worship center phase. Also, the lobby, offices, nursery and bathrooms really need to be completed before doing the final worship center phase, so that we are moving towards it in a practical and logical way.
Yes eventually, but only as we can afford it. We plan to continue raising up lay staff and building volunteer ministry teams to help carry the increased ministry load in the meantime. Plus, by launching new community groups, we will be able to expand our span of care in order to offer pastoral support to everyone.
Because our goal is 100% engagement in taking the spiritual journey together, not in raising $1 million. We will be preaching through the book of Nehemiah and asking our church family to respond as the people of Nehemiah’s day did, by saying, “Let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:18). We believe that how we handle the time, talent and treasure that God gives us is a spiritual matter. So, we will be challenging everyone to prayerfully trust God by growing in their personal investment into His kingdom. Not everyone will be able to give the same, but everyone should be willing to prayerfully consider giving more.
Radical generosity is our goal for everyone. We want to move people up the generosity ladder to experience the freedom and joy of being a generous giver and investor in God’s kingdom. If everyone fully engages in the spiritual journey together, then whatever we raise, we will be thankful. Yet, we are trusting that our people will Rise Up and give above their tithes and offerings enough to build phase two.
We will add it to our new member classes, we will do regular status updates, we will offer updates on our website and other media. We are also exploring other ways to keep it before everyone for the whole three years. We want every member of the church family to be involved in this. This includes the children and youth. We will be offering special training and teaching to our kids and youth during the Rise Up campaign and even reminders afterwards. We’ve learned that generous children grow up to be generous adults.
Also, we’re welcome to your ideas on how we can keep the Rise Up initiative before our church family. Let us know what your ideas are!
We love this question. It reveals a servant’s heart of unity and willingness. What can you do? Engage fully in the Rise Up journey. Let us be like the returning Jewish exiles who were challenged to rise up and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem by the vision God had given to Nehemiah. Accept the challenge to own this vision and calling of God. We must walk this out in unity as a church.
Start by praying for people in your life yet to be reached. Pray for what God would want to do in and through you to reach them. Stop asking what the church should do to reach them, as if the church we some institution. The church is God’s family. The church is us, so let’s be the church!
Ask God to speak to your heart and simply respond to his leading when the time comes in the spring of 2019. Take the time to go through the materials we will provide to prepare us to hear from God. Be diligent to participate in all aspects of the Rise Up Campaign in 2019. Remember, our goal is 100% of our church family participating in prayer and sacrificial generosity when the time comes, so that together, we accomplish what God desires from us and for us.
Ask them. Let us know and we’ll add them to future versions of our FAQs and do our best to answer them. It’s important to us that everyone’s questions are given careful consideration. At the end of the day, we want to be united in vision and direction. We may not all agree on every detail (as is true in any family), but we want to always march together in unison towards God’s will for us.
Still have questions? Talk to your community group leader, or shoot us an email.