It was an unimaginable Christmas for Highland Church in Plover, Wisconsin, and its year-old church plant, North Point City Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Just a few days before Christmas, Highland and North Point were gifted a church building valued at more than $250,000, with the only fees being to cover the realtor and closing costs!
But the journey to the gifting of the church is almost just as miraculous.
For several years, Nathan Schroeder [Shray-der], 44, pastor of Highland Church, had been praying and prayer walking concerning planting a church in nearby Stevens Point. His grandfather had pastored an AG church in Stevens Point from 1940 until his death in 1965. Later, in 1987, the church outgrew its building and relocated to Plover — the church that Nathan now pastors.
Chris Mancl [Man-sil] grew up in Rudolph, Wisconsin. He had been an associate pastor for the past four years at Heritage Church in Brainerd, Minnesota, but he and his wife, Tracie, felt God calling them to plant a church in Wisconsin. When Schroeder and Mancl met through the recommendation of a mutual friend in 2016, they quickly knew this was a God-inspired meeting. With agreement from Highland Church, Mancl was chosen to plant the new work in Stevens Point.
After forming a launch team and establishing relationships in Stevens Point, all Mancl needed to do was to find a place to meet. Months passed and the list of rejections grew. Wherever he turned, doors closed.
“We were trying everything that church planters recommend to try and then some,” Mancl says. “We went everywhere — to elementary schools, the YMCA, we looked to rent, we looked to lease, and either we were told no or the cost was way out of our range.”
With few possibilities remaining, Mancl laughs at the memory of suggesting they try funeral homes. “My wife and the launch team weren’t super crazy about that idea,” he admits.
Finally, after months of searching, in an unexpected surprise, the local convent was open to leasing space to them for the new church.
North Point City Church launched on Nov. 5, 2017, and since that time has grown to average about 40 in weekly attendance, though about 70 call the church their home. A significant part of the church’s ministry involves reaching and assisting those in difficult circumstances, including the homeless and poverty-stricken.
Each Sunday, a team member drives around and picks up people who are homeless to attend the morning service. Mancl says that in addition to outreaches, they help those who are homeless find a place to live.
When a local real estate agent, who Mancl had worked with when trying to find a place to lease or rent, called him and told him about a church coming on the market, he humored the realtor and went with some team members to see the property. It would perfectly meet their needs and make it possible for them to have a base to do outreach from, rather than from the back of mini-vans, but the price tag was way out of their reach — $259,000.
“We are a PAC [Parent-Affiliated Church] church, a year old, and I knew there was no way we were doing this,” Mancl says. “It was an amazing piece of property and would really work for us, but I knew it would be three to five years before we could be taking on that kind of debt — it just wasn’t realistic.”
Not long afterwards, the real estate agent came back with a second offer. The pastor of the church [Family Church] really wanted to see the building remain a church, so they reduced the price to $200,000.
Both Schroeder and Mancl again agreed — a great offer, but for the health of the church, it simply wasn’t a good move as all income would have to go toward paying the debt and church costs and nothing could go toward ministry.
“About a week later,” Schroeder recalls, “Pastor Ray [Haas] from Family Church walked in to Highland and asked me, ‘What would you say if you got the church just for Realtor fees and closing costs? What would you say then?’”
The church board met that night. On Sunday, the congregation voted its approval to buy the church for $10,035.
“Nathan texted me the number, and I thought, Did he miss a zero? This has gotta be a typo or something!” Mancl says. “Everyone really prayed about this, we knew that Pastor Ray was a man of prayer as well, and we all really sensed there was too much of the hand of God in all of this to be ignored.”
According to Schroeder, the church comes with a sanctuary to seat about 120, two kitchens, three bathrooms, a full basement, five classrooms, a nursery, a kids ministries area, updated roof, ramp access, and a host of other updates. On Dec. 21 they signed the closing paperwork.
Mancl says the new home of North Point City Church will be undergoing about two months of work, readying it for the needs of the congregation, before having its grand opening around the end of February. He says the new location is closer to the middle of the city and is ideal for reaching those experiencing hardships, such as the homeless.
“We have one young lady, who has been very faithful in coming to church, but has had a hard life, really excited about the move because now she will be able to walk to church,” Mancl says. “Those are the type of testimonies that communicate to me that the Lord really had His hand on this and He’s doing something here.”
Better yet, God is doing something here again. For the new church building is actually the old home of Highland Church — Schroeder’s grandfather’s picture still hangs in the church lobby.
Source: AG News