Steps of faith leads Cape First Assembly church in new direction
Nov. 23-24: Celebration of heritage; last services at Mount Auburn Road.
Dec. 1: First service in the new building at Silver Springs Road
By Laura Johnston ~ Southeast Missourian
Pastor Gary Brothers wanted to help his congregation prepare for its future building projects, growth and ministry programs so he developed a series of sermons on daring to dream big.
People can dream big because God is a big God, he explained. The sermons were a challenge for people to consider what God has in store for their lives, and to step out in faith. That's exactly what the congregation at Cape First Assembly has done over the past several years as it expanded ministries, missions and its membership.
When a growth spurt put parking spaces and classrooms at capacity, the church began looking at new options. Relocation became the obvious choice but finding just the right place also was important.
The church purchased 53 acres of land off Hopper Road and Interstate 55, but it would take as much as a year just to prepare the ground before construction could begin. And neighbors in the area raised several complaints about the scope of the project. After receiving approval for the day-care permits from the Cape Girardeau City Council, the church withdrew its request in August 2001 since there was no legal need for special approval from the council.
But everything worked out according to God's plan, church members say.
The church halted its plans for construction and tried to find a quicker solution, which turned out to be a former grocery store off Silver Springs Road.
The church purchased the former Mr. K's building in March and plans to move into its new space by December.
"The timing has been fantastic," said Kim Tanskley, administrative assistant at the church.
The church will worship in its new location Dec. 1. Part of the change is a new logo and name recognition as Cape First Church, "where everyone is family." Though it isn't a name change, according to the pastor, Cape First Church drops the denomination link and focuses on the family aspect.Brothers says the name on the new sign does not mean the church is diminishing its connections with the Assemblies of God.
But that's partly because Brothers wants people who worship together to realize they are family. He greets the members with "Good morning family" at the start of each service.
Worship celebrations are planned for Nov. 23 and 24 at the Mount Auburn Road location to commemorate the heritage and faithfulness of the congregation.
The congregation's building campaign is Steps of Faith, and highlights the foundation laid by former generations.
"It took the hard work of all those people for us to get to where we are today as a church family," said Jennifer Johnson-Smith, media director. "It's not a building, but people, and the building is just a tool."
The new building has some great advantages over the current location: more parking is one. Others include more education space and an expanded area for a day-care center. The sanctuary that will seat 1,200, which means that the three Sunday morning services will be consolidated into two.
People have been gracious to make room but they will be glad to be together as one family again, Johnson-Smith said.
Brothers said the church family has been excited about the project from the start. The church is full of faithful and willing people ready to serve, he said. Many are volunteering to help move items to the new building.
In preparation for the new location, church members have prayed about the site and the sale of the old building. The church held a special service in the new building before carpet was laid and members wrote messages, prayers and Scripture on the floor.
That service, and other events from video presentations to sermons, have helped prepare the congregation to move. "Pastor keeps telling us that ministry is the main thing," Tanksley said. "That doesn't slow down because we are moving to a new building. We are building the kingdom of God, not just a building,"
335-6611, extension 126