Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. –Hebrews 11:1
A small church sees tremendous growth with the help of Armstrong Steel
Many people have a strong idea on exactly what a ‘church’ is or is not. Is it a gathering of like-minded people with the same thoughts on a particular brand of faith? Must it be in a building, or can it be out in the open? Can people gather in a strip mall or small storefront and call it a church? Of course they can, because that’s exactly how The Bridge Church started.
Like many churches, the goal is to bring people of different backgrounds and talents and provide them with training and opportunities for God’s work. The Bridge Church, a non-denominational gathering in Kennett, Missouri was no different. Through diverse ministries, the church slowly began to grow, and soon, it became increasingly obvious the congregation needed much more space.
“We were blowing the walls out,” laughed Donnie D., lead member of The Bridge Church building committee. “We needed a bigger area to fit all the people.”
The small storefront with a little bit of hall space wasn’t working any longer and more and more members of the congregation started attending service. Soon, the Bridge Church was ‘standing room only.’ An expansion became more and more obvious.
Time to Expand
The choice of a steel building isn’t always obvious for everyone, but the Bridge Church needed a wide-open space to worship, without any intrusive columns running down the middle of their building. Donnie knew he needed a strong, versatile clear span structure for the church’s worshipers.
“I got online and did a lot of research, and I really liked how Armstrong presented its product. I could see other projects the company was involved in, and I made the easy decision to go with them. So I got on the phone and actually spoke to (Executive Vice President) Eric Beavers. I told him what I was looking for,” said Donnie.
In about 10 minutes, Eric presented Donnie with a solution.
“He actually gave me the exact building I wanted, size and height - everything. Price was substantially less from what I got from other companies. I took the fax, ran out the office door, and went right to the pastor,” exclaimed Donnie. “We looked over our spec sheet. He was excited, we called our council together, and we pursued it. Eric and Armstrong came through with the building and everything was there, all the parts and everything. It just was perfect. They did everything they said we were going to do, and there were no difficulties at all.”
"Donnie explained that he was told by General Steel, a steel building broker who re-sells buildings from other manufacturers, that Armstrong was just after his deposit and would not actually deliver the building. Those guys resort to desperate tactics like that all the time so we're used to it. It's what they do when they can't compete with Armstrong." said Eric Beavers, Armstrong Executive Vice President.
“That didn't sit well with me. Every customer is important to us, and I wanted to jump headfirst into this particular project because I saw how we could help a particular community of faith," said Eric. "Pre-engineered religious projects are usually pretty special because of the total impact they have on the community. We had to come through for this congregation.”
“Eric took me as far as he could, and I was turned over to other staff and took care of payments and got everything scheduled for delivery,” said Donnie. “The staff was great. The owner of the company, Ethan Chumley, even followed up with us and Eric still constantly checked in and wanted to make sure we were being taken care of. They really came through. Armstrong took care of all of our needs.”
“It isn’t just about the building,” said Eric. “It’s about the people who are going to use it.”
Still Going Strong
Every year, about 1,000 new churches open their doors to the public, inviting new members of the community to come and hear the message that aligns with their own particular brand of faith. Five years later, The Bridge Church is still going strong in the community, impressing the public with its facilities and its message.
“We get a lot of people who come in and 'ooh and ahh.' We’re a small church, but people want to hear the story about how we got here. We’re really growing now, and that can’t be said of all churches. We’ve even added a bilingual service! We have had fantastic results,” said Donnie.
Now, this once small gathering has multiplied to give residents of the boot heel of Missouri a safe and comfortable place to spread the gospel.
Find The Fit
“We draw people from 60 miles around, from different churches and beliefs. Regardless of what church they were going to before, they can find a new home with us. We say that we’re nondenominational, because they find ‘the fit’ with us,” said Donnie.
It turned out to be the perfect fit for Armstrong, too.