Email from me: My name is Dylan Dodson and I am leading a new church starting in the area in 2017 (newcityrdu.com). I saw on your guys’ website that you are moving to a new space, and was wondering what was going to happen to your space on Creedmoor road? We are looking around for potential places to meet in starting in January. Thanks!
Response: Hi Dylan. The space is still open and all set a for a church … stage, sound booth, power, and snake [sound cable] in the ceiling.
Could this finally be it? Probably not, we’ve struck out on eight places so far for New City to meet, and that is only counting the places I have had conversations with (and not all the places that might could work but we didn’t hear back from). This is Raleigh we are talking about, why can’t we find someplace to meet on a Sunday morning?!
I remember over a year ago reading a blog about church planting from someone who planted a church in the Chicago area. One of the things it said was this, “finding worship space is an uphill spiritual battle; start praying.”
My honest reaction was that of course that is good advice, but it wouldn’t be that hard to find a space in my context. I live in Raleigh, and we have churches everywhere, so I’ll definitely have things higher on my prayer list than this.
Boy was I wrong.
About two years ago now, at the very beginning of this church planting journey. On the advice of another church planter I had talked to, I went and bought a map of Raleigh and some stickers in order to map out where churches already were in Raleigh. I was told that I would probably be surprised to find the gaps in our area of where they might not be many churches.
I put stickers down of all the churches that I knew that we would probably be similar to in some way. Be that theologically/doctrinally, or that are reaching the same type of people that we were likely to reach. For the churches that were multi-site, I also put a sticker down for each of their locations. And I found something interesting.
In the North Raleigh area, between Leesville Road and Six Forks Road, and between I-540 and I-440 (two interstates in Raleigh), there were zero churches that I knew of that met that criteria. Not saying there wasn’t a single one- just none that I knew of. Which speaks to the need of more churches in this area. So from the beginning, this is where I knew we needed to be. This was our target area.
For those not familiar with Raleigh, this area is about a 3 mile radius in North Raleigh. It is a highly residential area of Raleigh with over 100,000 people living in it. Which is why I came to see that there weren’t many newer churches in the area because there isn’t a lot of space for new developments.
Fast forward to this past summer. We had begun to build a team and fundraise for New City Church, and had starting looking for a space to meet for us to launch in January. We found that the middle and high schools in or near our target area weren’t available. So we looked at at the 3 elementary schools that had adequate parking.
And here is the long story short of how trying to find a space went down:
After talking with 2 of the schools, we came to find out they do not have a janitorial staff person available to be at the facility every Sunday, which meant we couldn’t use those spaces. Even after us offering to pay the janitorial person extra for coming on Sundays, they still declined our offer. The 3rd school’s principle told me that he did not have a good experience with the previous church who used their facility, so he did not want to go through that again.
Which means all 3 were out.
We also looked at a movie theater in our area, however, the theater had updated all of their theaters with reclining seats, which drastically cuts down the number of seats in the theater, and simply doesn’t work well for a church service.
I then looked at a couple of community centers. One of them really wasn’t a good space for the type of environment we would want to create, so that one was out. Another one I had gone to, looked at, and spoke with the person in charge of renting out the space.
The space was available, and we discussed us starting to use it in January (this was in early October). We hadn’t actually signed anything yet for us to starting meeting there on Sunday’s in January, but I was told there would be no problems.
Except a few weeks later, when emailing the manager of the space with a question, I was told another church had come in and signed for the space and would be using it starting in January. This of course caught me off guard, and no hard feelings to whoever is going to be using it, but I was surprised he never mentioned someone else came and was interesting in using the community center (as I would have signed for it then had I known).
Onto the third community center which had a few big rooms and would have worked well for us to start in. So I called this community center, explained what we were looking to do, and was told the space was available and that no one was using it on Sunday mornings.
Now, as soon as the person on the other line said this, I just knew the was a “but” coming, and I was right!
“But unfortunately, we will be closed for at least four months starting in December for renovations.”
Are you kidding me…
However, right after I got off the phone, I remembered this church sign that I saw every weekend near where Christina and I live.
So, out of curiosity, I checked out this church’s website to see what their meeting space was like and what they were about. Well after reading their website I find out that they are moving in January. Which lead to the email I began with at the top of this post.
That was on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Now, it is the new home of New City Church. Which is hard to believe.
That same week we looked at the space, and began the process of figuring out if this thing could even work. At this point, we had also begun praying every day at 12:22 with our New City team that God would provide a space for us. You could say I was finally taking the advice I read on that blog over a year before seriously.
Thankfully, we were able to negotiate and get most everything we asked for (including permission to take down a wall in the facility), which was pretty amazing. On top of that, all of rent and utilities costs are cheaper than renting a school just on Sunday mornings. And, this is our own facility, which means it is ours to use 24/7.
But even after agreeing to terms, we still weren’t done. Because New City Church is a new entity, we had to have guarantors co-sign onto our lease in order to make this happen. Thankfully, God provided that as well, as we were able to get group of people who believe in New City enough to sign onto the lease and get this deal done.
Finally, after a lot of prayer from our New City team, and from many of you, everything checked out and the lease has been signed.
Here’s what is interesting. The whole process of trying to find a space was frustrating and hard. And yet, had we not had so many closed doors, there is no way we would have pursued this facility. As you can imagine, there are certain risks for a brand new church to take a on a lease, and I don’t think we would have pursued this had we first not gotten a “no” for various reasons at all the places we looked at.
In fact, our new facility was also our only option if we were to stay in our target area. And yet, it was also our best option of all the places we looked at.
So I am thankful, really thankful. Not that this process of finding a space was in any way enjoyable, but it is in the difficulties that God often teaches us the most. So in the end, this is not only a huge win for New City Church, but it’s been a big win for me personally as well.
God is faithful, New City Church has a home, and we can’t wait for our launch.
So if you are looking for a church home in Raleigh, now is a great time to join our team as we get ready for what’s ahead. We move in to our facility March 1st, and there is a lot to get ready before our launch Sunday, which will be April 2 (put it on your calendars!).
The only thing better than seeing God do amazing things, is being a part of the amazing things he is doing. If you live in Raleigh, you have this opportunity!
To stay up to date on all we have going on, you can go here. We hope to see all of you at our next team gathering, our next public event, or on our launch Sunday.
New City Church is coming! And we will be at 8015 Creedmoor Road, Suite 101, Raleigh.