Leap of Faith is a Success for Brownsburg Congregation

Leap of Faith is a Success for Brownsburg Congregation

Church is the people within, not the building - members of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg were reminded of this in a big way as they worked through the challenges of building, relocating and ministering without a facility for more than a year.

Part of the Brownsburg community for 180 years, the congregation took a leap of faith and sold its building while going through the process of constructing a new facility two miles north.

"We learned that the church is people, not building," said pastor Todd Outcalt. "We learned that we could set up chairs and staging and tear it apart again every week!  That was a big challenge, since we worshipped in a gymnasium."  Calvary's school, The Learning Academy, met in a nearby church; the congregation offices were located in a warehouse; and members opened up their homes for small groups and Bible study.

After a year-and-a-half of cooperating, communicating and keeping the vision at the forefront, the congregation moved into its new facility in 2006. They are now in the process of designing a space for the youth.

"Our mission, our ministry is a lot stronger," he said. New families have flocked to Calvary since relocating. Because their new building is in a more heavily traveled area of town, they see a steady stream of visitors and new members.

During the planning process for building projects, Outcalt and members appreciated input from Center staffers, who recommended they visit other congregations which had experience with building projects. Outcalt said this was a helpful piece of the planning process, and Calvary members have been able to reciprocate since moving into their completed facility. Calvary has hosted tours and conversation with others who are beginning building projects.

"We were able to share our experience and some of the resources we were using. We really love doing that. It means a lot," Outcoult explained.

Calvary received resource grants from the Center to help with the architectural fees for the new facility and the youth space and an acoustics consultant for the new building and production of a DVD for its capital campaign.  Leaders have also enjoyed resource recommendations, including their visits to other area congregations.

"The Center gave us some great resources," Outcalt stated. His recommendation to other congregations: "Certainly the Center for Congregations is going to be able to recommend some good resources and to point people in the right direction."