This Is Why We Have A Bold Vision For Niagara

Future Forward Campaign

We see a future filled with God’s hope, His power and the opportunity to see the Niagara Region transformed. The vision that He’s given us is massive but we are stepping out in faith to build for that future and we won’t stop, lose heart, or give up!

$8.1M
 Has Been Pledged To Date


Combine That
With The $4M Projected Sale Of Our Current Property And We Have$12.1M

Building estimate for is approximately $20-$24M

Conceptual View

Our vision is to create a space where we can see God powerfully transform thousands of lives.

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You Are Part Of An Incredible Story

For almost 100 years people like us have stood at these crossroads with the same trembling in our hearts. We know now what they knew then, we’re being called to step out in faith.

Whether it was Mabel Cunningham opening her home to begin this church in the early 1920’s (after her daughter was miraculously healed from diphtheria) or that time we purchased our first church on Queenston Street with no money, a looming deadline, and a pastor who was so anxious he couldn’t sleep. We’ve been through this before, moments like the one we’re in today have been a part of our history. The night before the downpayment necessary to get the keys to their new building, Pastor Montgomery was up pacing around the house praying earnestly for God to provide a miracle. They were $100 short and the whole deal would fall through if he didn’t have the money by morning. His wife, rather annoyed by his commotion told him to take his hat and coat and go for a walk. Pastor Montgomery left the house and took a walk toward the church. Along that dark road he was approached by a stranger who stopped to ask him if he was Pastor Montgomery. Upon replying yes, the man gave him an envelope then disappeared into the night. Pastor Montgomery furiously opened the envelope to find ten, crisp $10 bills, enough for the downpayment and the keys to their new church home. Countless people have been impacted since then because of the faith of a group of people who decided to trust God and purchase a building they didn’t have the money for.

Opposite: Elim Tabernacle, the first building we purchased

The Peach Orchard On The Edge Of Town

1967 Was another crossroads year in the story of our church. The land we are on today was a peach orchard without much around it.

After many years in downtown St. Catharines God had another faith test in store for a new generation of people at Central. Like those that had gone before them, the church knew that they were at a crossroads, and they knew that they needed to trust God for their future. Even though God had supernaturally provided their church building in downtown St. Catharines, He was clearly leading them into a new future that required another test of their faith. They took a big risk and purchased a peach orchard out on the edge of town. In the end, our current property cost us between $3.5-4.5M to build and renovate to what you see today.

Opposite: The Peach Orchard We Purchased At 240 Scott St. (Circa 1967)

Thinking Big Has Always Been In Our DNA

This campaign continues our heritage of wanting to boldly follow God’s vision for Central

There have been several defining moments in the history of Central, and we are living in the middle of another one of those seasons today. What happens through this building project will directly effect Central for decades to come, just as the decisions made generations ago proved to do. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s twenty Central busses would hit the road to pick up kids for Sunday school. We had a fleet of buses and volunteers dedicated to sharing Jesus with kids all over Niagara and 30 years later we are still experiencing the effects of that bold vision. Our prayer through this campaign is that thirty years from now another generation of people will experience the effects of our faith.

We’re Standing On The Edge Of Another Defining Moment

Today we find ourselves at another crossroads. On this peach orchard we call home we’ve seen thousands of kids and adults come to faith in Jesus, thousands of people baptized and scores of people have their practical needs met through the church.

We have grown from a single family with a vision to see God change their friends and neighbours to a large family, over 2,000 strong, committed to seeing God change an entire region. God has used us on this peach orchard, but it is time to go boldly in faith again. Just as God called us from downtown St. Catharines to a piece of land surrounded by orchards, we are being called to move again. This time it is our turn to impact the generations to come, it is our turn to exercise bold faith and put our complete trust in God. The leadership, along with over 450 individuals and families have been praying earnestly about this decision for two years. Time and time-again God has confirmed this direction clearly. Now it is up to us to move with the same courage our fore bearers did, it is time to go.

Opposite: Baptism Experience In 2014

It’s Our Turn To Walk In Faith

Like those who have gone before us we are standing on the precipice of something great. We have the same fear they had, but even more than the fear, we have the same faith in the same great God!

Early in 2015 on an average Sunday we had something pretty incredible happen. During prayer time in Warehouse 57 (CentralKids grades 5-7) one Sunday, a young boy asked for prayer after his uncle (living oversees) was killed by Islamic extremists the week before because he was a Christian. The Warehouse leader reminded the kids that, where 2 or more are gathered, Christ is there with them. This opened the door for other kids to share their prayer requests, including one boy who has a friend with leukaemia. At the end of this the kids gathered around each other and prayed for each other! This is only one story of many like it and is why we are stepping out in faith the way we are. The entire leadership of the church and over 540 families and individuals are walking forward in unity, believing whole-heartedly that this is the direction God is calling us to go.

Opposite: Our York Road Property

Answers To Common Questions

Projects of this scope can be overwhelming, we understand. In the tabs below we have done our best to provide you with some answers to commonly asked questions. As we become aware of more important questions we will add to this list.

How Much Will This Cost?

We have created 3 Cost Analysis Models

These figures represent the options based on pledge amounts raised. On May 2 we will make a final decision on which option we will start with.

 

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Who Has Contributed?

900+ families or individuals have contributed to the Capital Campaign to date.

Our Campaign team has met personally with the vast majority of these contributors to answer questions, provide project context and pray with them. Meeting with a Campaign team member is the best way to understand the scope of the project raise questions of your own and get the vital information you need. Schedule A Visit 

How Do You Know If We Will Grow?

We don’t, but we are looking back at the last 13 years as a reference point for the future. In the last few years we’ve seen more people give their lives to Jesus for the first-time, get baptized, or recommit their lives back to Christ than we ever have. We know this because we’ve invested a tremendous amount of energy and intentionality with how we monitor discipleship at Central. We’ve grown by 13% year-over-year for the last two years, and by 10% a year for the eight years previous to that. With growth like that over the last ten years we’ve knocked down, built up, changed and modified our building to gain every ounce of space we can, but there is no more, and our ministries are now being limited by our building.

Have We Explored Every Option, Or Are We Rushing This?

The journey that has led us to the decision to buy land on York Rd and build a new building has been going on for more than 3 years. Over that time we’ve explored every conceivable option from renovating our current facility to buying existing buildings or land in different parts of St. Catharines.

We Knew We Needed A Plan

Several years ago, under the direction of Pastor Bill a team of volunteers was formed to begin the process of mapping out the next steps of our church as it related to our physical space. Our church has been on a consistent growth curve for more than a decade and we knew that we needed to begin to plan for the next stage in the life of our church.

Looking For Property

We began by looking for property anywhere within the St. Catharines region. Initially we thought that we had found a great piece of land in Thorold (close to Brock) but upon further review discovered that it was not serviced or zoned for our needs, a cost that was exorbitant and didn’t make financial sense. After more searching and not being able to find reasonably priced property an opportunity came to purchase 310 Scott Street. We began the work of meeting with an architect to assess our building and expansion options. After several months of work a plan was presented to the church and an opportunity to visit the site and give feedback was provided. Through this process we realized that the property was too small and would not meet our needs.

Renovating Our Current Building

From here we began a feasibility study for renovating our current property. After this study was complete it was clear that the cost of renovating our current property to meet our needs was much more expensive than buying land and building from scratch.

Looking For Land Again And Finding Our New Property

It was in the spring of 2013 that we found a piece of land on York Rd in Niagara On The Lake. Through negotiation we were able to secure the purchase of 22 acres for significantly less than the asking price. We believe that God was active in leading us to purchase this land for only $3M.

Is Our Building Really That Full?

The limitations of our space are real. They are felt by almost every ministry of the church and impact their ability to grow and fulfill the mandate of our vision to produce passionate followers of Jesus.

Parking Complications

It is not uncommon for our parking crew to watch multiple cars pull into the parking lot only to drive around without finding a space, and leave. We hate to think about the possibility of that being a person or family who is searching for truth and meaning in their lives, only to turn around and leave because there is no room for them. Before you even enter the building on an average Sunday morning you will experience a major need for more space. In order to free things up we’ve added a third service and a parking shuttle. These measures have helped but cannot fully compensate for our lack of extra property. Our lobby is a key connection area where we have an opportunity to interact with people, meet our new guests and allow people the space they need to connect in a meaningful way. We’ve expanded our lobby as much as we can without major renovation but its limitations are clear every Sunday morning as people fight for every square inch of space. This congestion effects how easily parents can get to the kids space to pick up and drop off their kids as well as effecting how easily people can get in and out of the building, not to mention the traffic jams in our CentralConnect, CentralKids and Cafe spaces.

CentralKids Space

Our kids ministry is growing because they have a strong vision for evangelism and engaging kids with the truth of God’s word in a dynamic way. An essential component to CentralKids is our Plan To Protect policy which safeguards kids from potential danger and a significant part of that safety policy hinges on the building having restricted access for the protection of kids. Our current facility does not allow further development of secured zones which increases our exposure to risk and forces us to put a lot of time and energy into monitoring the building instead of investing that time into the discipleship of kids. Our building must work for us in this area and unfortunately our current facility fails to accomplish this.

GroupNight, Discipleship & Care

Our current limitations are not only felt on Sunday morning. We have hundreds of people that take advantage of small group discipleship tracks throughout the year and we currently have much more demand for discipleship than our space will allow. Our rooms are overflowing and we regularly have to turn people away because of space.

How Do You Know What We Need In A New Building?

This is a very important question and one that will highlight our commitment to a vigorous process. Once a decision that moving from our current property was a necessity (see; have we explored every option) we began phase one of our campaign. Phase 1 was all about gathering information and in September of 2013 we held nearly 30 focus group sessions with over 400 people to discuss in detail the needs of our new building. Over the course of a month we gathered a tremendous amount of information, feedback and insight from our leaders, key volunteers, staff and attenders of the church. From that point we began to meet with architects to begin the design process, one that will continue until the late fall of 2015.

Where Can I See The Plans?

These plans are CONCEPTUAL ideas of our vision for York Rd.

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You Are Invited To Play A Part In The Story God Is Writing In The Niagara Region

We Take The Financial Integrity Of This Project Very Seriously

Your generosity is being treated with the utmost respect and care. Our highest priority is to protect your financial contribution by exercising wise and prudent planning as well as minimizing our exposure to debt in the overall scope of our project.

What Happens to your donations to the Capital Campaign? Every donation that we receive is placed into a separate bank account that has been created specifically to manage to funding of the Capital Campaign. At no time will your Campaign contribution be placed into the general operating budget of the church. Although we have received around $1M we are not providing real-time updates on the balance of the account for the simple reason that we are already incurring planning and development costs and the transactions in the account mean that the balance is fluctuating. We will provide an up-to-date amount that has come in at our Annual Business Meeting.

The church will make its own contribution on two significant levels. The first being the purchase of the land. Upon approval to purchase the land on York Road at the Annual Business Meeting in May of 2013 the church took out a (roughly) $3,000,000 mortgage to cover the costs of the land. The church carries the mortgage payments from its annual operating budget. This means that your contribution goes directly toward building costs. The second investment that the church is making in the project is the sale of 240 Scott St. The land value has been appraised at roughly $4,000,000 and will be put directly toward the York Road building project. In total the church will have invested roughly $7,000,000 toward the York Road building and land.

It is the strong desire of the leadership at Central to incur as little debt as possible. This is why we have been so diligent to steward the fundraising portion of the Capital Campaign so carefully. We have met with hundreds of people personally to walk them through the project details and answer any questions they have as well as secure donations that are prayerfully thought through by the donors themselves. While we cannot say definitively that we will not take a loan out, our heart is to raise the maximum amount of capital possible so as not to saddle the next generations at Central with debt. At present time, with the commitments that have been already made, and the pending sale of our Scott Street location we will have covered at least 75% of the construction costs. We are taking every step possible to ensure prudent planning, patient progress and financial stability.