Sharing the vision

By Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer May 25, 2011 04:00 am

It may happen in the distant future, but a vision of a community center at Brookings Church of the Nazarene may become a reality if everyone comes together to do their part.

The building would be constructed on property owned by the church. The property is between the church and Parkview Drive. The building would include a gymnasium with bleachers, recreation rooms, s kitchen and 10 classrooms.

Pastor Rick Green discussed those plans during a special service Sunday inside a large tent erected on the building site.

“I’m looking forward to a meal in a building right here on this spot,” Green said. He said he envisioned the room to be bigger than the tent, and he hoped to see a potluck bigger than the community has ever seen.

Green preached his sermon based on the story of Jesus Christ feeding at least 5,000 people using a boy’s five loaves of bread and two fish.

“God starts with what we’ve got and uses it,” Green said.

Although the building may belong to the local Nazarene church, the vision is for it to be used by all of the community.

For starters, Brookings-Harbor Christian School (BHCS) will be relocating all of its classes to the Nazarene church in the fall. The school has been spread out between the Nazarene church and Calvary Assembly of God.

“I believe the school is going to grow, and we don’t have the room for it to grow,” Green said.

Green introduced Kari Schultz, principal at BHCS, who talked about the school and presented Green with a donation for the building. This showed support from other churches as well:  Schultz is the wife of Jim Schultz, pastor of Lighthouse Assembly of God.

Green’s sermon continued about the miracle of Jesus feeding all those people.

“This building is going to be a miracle,” Green said. “It will be used to feed a crowd of hungry people.”

Green added that in the scripture, Jesus tested his disciples and asked them to feed the people – or to find a solution to the problem.

“We can’t push problems on someone else,” Green said. “We have a responsibility to the community.”

Josh Bruce, a member of the church and building contractor, was asked to come forward. Bruce said that some people may think that a 17,300-square-foot structure is too much building. But for God, it’s not about the building, it’s a tool to reach out to the community.

A goal to raise $700,000 to construct the building has been set. Bruce said he has been thinking of ways to cut the cost of construction. He encouraged people to realize their talents, whether it be doing the construction work, hauling the building material or cleaning up around the site.

“Ask, where can I help?” Bruce said. “There are so many ways each of you can help.”

Green continued by announcing that the Nazarene youth have pledged $3,000, but added that anything helps.

John Graves, 5, and his sister Allison, 8, were asked to come forward. As Green held the boy, he told the congregation that, after the boy recently lost his tooth and received his $2 from the “Tooth Fairy,” he said he chose to give the gift to the building fund. After Allison heard that, she decided to give her allowance – $5.

A prayer dedicating the site ended the service, which was followed by a catered chicken dinner with potluck side dishes.

Although there was much talk about food, and plenty of food to go around, the vision for the building began following Green’s decision to lose weight.

“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Green told the Pilot for a story in January.

He said it wasn’t losing the weight that was crazy, but the fact that he announced it in a sermon in July 2010. He said it was definitely a strange sermon topic, especially from a man who’d never shown an interest in diet or exercise.

“I was sitting eating my brownie and milk when I heard an announcement on the television about a ‘biggest loser’ competition to donate $10,000 to a charity. The thought popped into to my mind, ‘Why don’t I do that?’ I believe it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me.”

Green said his weight-loss vision included using the money raised for construction of a large community center.

When Green preached his “crazy” sermon, he was surprised by the congregation’s response. Members pledged from 25 cents to $20 for each pound lost.

Beginning on July 12, Green began his diet and in six months he lost 51 pounds.

This brought the total amount pledged in January to more than $12,000.

Anyone in the community who shares Green’s vision and would be interested in helping may contact the Brookings Church of the Nazarene at 541-469-2571.