Turkey and Stuffing in July

This past Sunday afternoon our church family celebrated the groundbreaking of Faith West, a ministry and counseling center for students, staff, and faculty at Purdue University and our neighbors in West Lafayette, IN.  I realize that many persons were unable to join us for this historic day.  Here’s one point I tried to make to those 450 people who gathered that I believe bears repeating for everyone interested in Faith’s ministry.

While our menu for the evening featured Culver’s Ice Cream, Kona Ice Snow-cones and plenty of cold beverages, it just as easily could have included roast turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  That is because we were gathering at 1920 Northwestern Avenue as men and women who were profoundly thankful.  It really was like Thanksgiving Day in July.

Here are several classes of people for which we should be especially thankful.

1. Our government leaders

We should be thankful for Mayor John Dennis and the members of the West Lafayette City Council.  Mayor Dennis and many council members have been very supportive of our project.

County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh represented the Area Plan Commission who also treated our development request very favorably.

We should praise the Lord for a country, state, and city that promotes the development of faith based ministries.  Many people around our world do not enjoy such freedoms.

2. Our civil servants

Members of the Area Plan Commission and West Lafayette City planning staffs spent countless hours helping us refine our plans.  Many of these men and women are seasoned professionals who sincerely care about the kind of development that occurs in our community.  They sincerely wanted this project to be the best it could possibly be.

3. Our design professionals

The Lord allowed us to assemble a marvelous design team including Kelly Good of KJG Architecture, Tim Balensiefer of T-Bird Engineering and Steve Marsh of Titan Engineering.  Each of these men and their faithful staffs worked countless hours to help us draw and re-draw our construction documents.  We have been blessed with men who put their hearts and souls in this project.

4. Our planning team

Joe Blake, Mike King, Brent Aucoin, and Josh Griener led a team of volunteers from our church who spent many evenings reviewing and modifying our plans.  Our church family owes each of these dear servants a tremendous debt of gratitude.

5. Our bank

These have been difficult days to work in the banking industry as scandal after scandal is reported in the media.  But there are many people like Steve Loy of Chase Bank who took a personal interest in Faith West and became a strong advocate for our case as we worked to issue our tax exempt bonds for the project.

6. Our neighbors

One of the most satisfying aspects of this process for me personally was the joy of making new friends of those who live right around 1920 NW Ave.  Several of them attended the groundbreaking celebration.  It was great to have neighbors speak at the ceremony and join us on the shovel line.  It was truly a collaborative effort with our neighbors.

7. Our director of development

Arvid Olson has played a key role in leading our capital campaign and doing an excellent job of planning the groundbreaking ceremony.  God only made one Arvid (can I get an amen on that?), and we’re glad we have him.

8. Our restaurant owner

We publicly announced for the first time the owner of the restaurant at Faith West, John Christos.  John and his wife are planning to open Literato, a neighborhood restaurant that will be entirely unique to our community.  We believe it will become a hub for our friends, neighbors, and residents of Faith West.

9. Members of Faith Church

It was marvelous to see so many men and women from Faith Church in attendance at the celebration.  Humanly speaking this project would not be possible without their visionary planning and sacrificial giving.  The Faith West groundbreaking was a win for the entire Faith team.  What a great church family.

10. Our great and merciful God

Our course our greatest thanks is reserved for our magnificent God who loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross on our behalf.  The message that the tomb is empty gives testimony to the marvelous fact that God has the power to change lives for all eternity.

The coming days will be filled with work and toil as we continue to bring this dream to fruition together.  But let us all pause and reflect on all the reasons we have to be thankful today.  And please pass another slice of pumpkin pie.

Steve Viars
Dr. Viars has served as a pastor and counselor at Faith since 1987. He is an author, national speaker, and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Biblical Counseling Coalition.