About three years ago, when we were first trying to find a place for our church to meet, we started praying for God to provide a permanent facility for us. In the inner city, church plants often have a hard time gaining traction until they have their own building. Eighteen months ago, we contacted Fairview Baptist Church, a church in our neighborhood, about possibly using their building for office space. They own a basic, no frills church building with close to 11,000 square feet total.
Since they were a declining congregation with around 20 people or so in weekly attendance, they had little use for all the extra classroom space. We claimed a few rooms in their basement, converted them to offices, and started working from there.
Last April, Ctk Executive Pastor Doug Shell and I had lunch with the Senior pastor of Fairview Baptist Church, Glenn Davidson. After a few minutes of chit-chat and catching up, he said something that blew us away: “What would you guys think about Fairview Baptist Church giving you our building?”
We couldn’t believe our ears! He had just offered us a free building, zoned for religious assembly, in our target neighborhood, in inner city Cincinnati. This is every church planter’s dream come true. We took the next year to work out the details and present ideas to our respective congregations. Finally, last month, the members of Fairview Baptist Church voted unanimously to give us their building. On Monday, June 4th, 2012, all the legal paperwork was signed and Christ the King Church officially became building owners.
Fairview Baptist Church is located at 335 Warner Street in Cincinnati’s Uptown neighborhood. The main sanctuary will accommodate around 250 people. There is parking at the building and in an adjacent alley for around 35-40 cars; the rest will be street parking. We are located a few blocks from the University of Cincinnati, and within a mile or two of several of Cincinnati’s most prominent hospitals, the Cincinnati Zoo, and other attractions. To the south of us, we are within a couple of miles of the Central Business District, Over-the-Rhine, and the West End.
We believe we will be centrally and strategically located to have a great impact on the surrounding area. The Uptown neighborhoods alone are home to 32,000 people and the city’s largest employer, the University of Cincinnati. Uptown is the educational and medical heart of the city. Our neighborhood is densely populated with racially, economically, and culturally diverse people.
Now, we have a ton of work to do! Since the building has not been properly maintained for many years, several upgrades need to be performed to get it ready for us to use. Our short term plans are to replace the roof, install air conditioning, upgrade the electrical system, and install a women’s restroom on the main floor.
Long term, we are hoping to be able to fully renovate the entire building, including rooms for children’s ministry, the sanctuary, and our offices. We expect that this building will be able to accommodate 1000 people for weekend worship over multiple services.We’ve prayed for this, God has provided this, and now we expect to see great things happen as we move forward into the future.
We recently spent a few weeks revisiting our vision as a church during the City on a Hill sermon series. Our current plan is to complete renovations in this building and begin conducting our Sunday worship services here beginning in late summer.
It is amazing to think back on the fact that only a little more than two years ago, we were holding our first worship service with a few dozen people in a small room at the Corryville Rec Center. Now our congregation has grown and we have been given a free building and we are preparing to be on mission serving this city for generations.
May God make it so.
We will be posting updates here as the project gets underway. Please visit our Facebook Page for photos of the Fairview Building and more.