Many of you, of course, have read in the papers about the current situation with the property at 1877 Iris Drive in Conyers. Those of you who are a part of CITN know that this is no new development...that we have been discussing the possibility of this for about five years now. You may also know that this situation is not unique to CITN. Currently, there are in excess of 40 churches in the metropolitan Atlanta area that are in foreclosure (and some sources say it may be as high as 80 or 90). And if you follow the trends of other megachurches in recent years, such as Rick Warren's Saddleback Church and Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral, you already know that this is happening everywhere, and to some of the most successful congregations in the USA.
Before I go on, let me share an excellent letter that Debye sent out for me this week which will explain the whole scenario:
Dear CITN Board and Care Pastors,
As always, thank you so much for your continued support, faith and belief in Bishop and CITN. I am sure you are already aware of the transition and impending foreclosure that will take place on April 5. What we are believing for is that the lender (ECCU) will be the owner after the April 5 date; of course, we will have no way of knowing for sure until that day comes. We do have in writing from ECCU (assuming they will be the owners on April 5) that we may remain on the campus through May 31 (allowing us to host the graduations), with the potential to continue to lease the campus afterwards for an indefinite period of time.
In an effort to better serve the congregation, restore and repair relationships, and use every opportunity to reduce costs, we have decided to move services into the KITN building effective Wednesday, March 30, so…this Sunday will be our last Sunday in the current sanctuary, for now.
Beginning April 3, we will be combining the 9 and 11 AM services into one 10 AM service. On Sunday, April 3, we will have our first service in the new location and will celebrate Bishop’s birthday and our future. We are looking forward to a great service and everyone seeing that there is still a strong, cohesive family that believes in the message of CITN.
Once April 5 comes and goes, we will have direction to plan for the near future. Pastor Avery will be contacting you immediately regarding communion which will be served on April 3.
Regardless of what anything appears to be in the natural, we believe that we are in the center of God’s will and that the best days for CITN, and each of us individually, are ahead.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Please spread the word to others with whom you are connected.
Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and faithfulness.
Well, that's the deal...it is what it is, and we are prepared for whatever is to take place in the near future. You may have also heard rumors of a possible reality show coming up about our ministry and its transition, and that is, in fact, true. We just signed a contract with FreemantleMedia (the company responsible for such programs as American Idol, America's Got Talent, The Price is Right, Family Feud and Let's Make a Deal). They are now in the process of pitching the show to the networks, so there's nothing definite to report at this time...but as you can see from their track record of successful programming, there shouldn't be a problem in getting it on the air. I only bring this up to say that they are aware of our situation, and are planning on being here on April 5 to film whatever happens. We have given them the green light to document everything concerning the ministry, and even our personal lives, because we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear at this point.
Is it going to be hard to lose the building? Well, what do you think? Church In The Now has been my life's work for the last 26 years...my heart and soul (and blood, sweat and tears) are in those 43 acres. But Church In The Now will continue, regardless of its physical location, and I've already done all my crying...now I'm just ready for the future....ready to get on with it...
People write me fairly regularly and say that I should step down from the pulpit because of what I told the church about myself six months ago, and let me just say to that that no one can make that call except God Himself. No one else is qualified. He alone gave me my call and anointing, and He alone can remove it. My life is in His hands...no one else's. And when you consider that we are a multicultural church in Conyers, GA that has survived what some people consider to be major shifts in theology in recent years (inclusion/reconciliation), highly publicized scandals of high-profile family members of mine, and personal revelations about myself that could potentially destroy the average church, it's amazing that we're doing as well as we are. When you take all that into consideration (and I'm not even factoring in the economy), the fact that Church In The Now is still a church of around 1,000 people with a very solid and cohesive staff is quite impressive in my opinion. We may be in transition, but we certainly haven't failed. We are blessed.
So all I can say is, stay tuned. I'm posting this on Saturday night, so tomorrow could possibly be our last Sunday in the main building. I hope many of you will come out for this important service.
God is good.
I love you all.