When people ask me about the church I lead I usually tell them, “We are a community center”. When Impact! Church made the move from a portable meeting space at a suburban school to a permanent building in downtown Lakeland we never fully left behind the portable mentality. Leasing a building meant that we could leave chairs set up, build a permanent stage and put a nail in the wall. However, we never truly embraced a permanent mentality because we wanted the building that God blessed Impact! Church with to be used 24/7/365 for His glory. We wanted Impact! Church to be a community center more than a church building. With that in mind we have a permanent building, but kept our portable mindset.
We never truly embraced a permanent mentality because we wanted the building that God blessed Impact! Church with to be used 24/7/365 for His glory.
On any given day or night we have groups and organizations from all over Lakeland using the building. We have several addiction recovery groups that meet multiple nights of the week. There are several businesses that use our facilities as a conference room. Local bands use the stage, lighting and sound system to rehearse for concerts or conduct jam sessions. Other local ministries and civic groups use Impact Church as a staging ground to work with people in need. In the next few weeks a local university will begin using some of our classrooms for ongoing adult education and literacy programs. On top of all of this we have worship services, small groups and staff meetings throughout the building each week. We also maintain an open office for our volunteer staff, house about a dozen homeless people each night, take in and distribute clothes, food and water and the city uses us as a secondary shelter in times of climate weather. One other thing – we never charge a dime for people to use our building. God has blessed Impact! Church with a permanent location so we could bless others.
We never charge a dime for people to use our building. God has blessed Impact! Church with a permanent location so we could bless others.
The only way that Impact! Church can be a community center is to keep a portable church mindset. All of our rooms have been designed to be flexible, sparse and multi-purpose. We hang very few things on the walls. Almost all of the rooms in our building serve multiple purposes. The furniture is minimal and all of the chairs and tables are portable. Most of the audio-visual equipment is mounted on rolling stands so they can be moved from room to room. Even our office is designed for multiple people to share the desks. A typical day at Impact! Church means there is a group of business men discussing corporate finances in one room while an addiction recovery group is meeting in another. At the same time there is an Impact! Group Bible study meeting while our volunteer staff is working at their open-office desks. In our cafe area sits several homeless people trying to stay out of the rain while a single mother with 3 kids is getting free food from our resource pantry. It can get a little chaotic at times, but it is an amazing way for us to serve the community. Our building – and portable mindset – is just one of the ways that Impact! Church loves God, loves people and makes an impact.