Amazing Space
by Todd Willard

Camps, winter weekends and mission trips have long been a vital part of our ministry at First Church. In the work we do with children and teenagers, they play a pivotal role. I can’t even begin to describe the multitude of ways that God worked in the hearts of our kids this summer at Workcamp, VBC, and summer camp.

These experiences take us out of the ordinary patterns of our lives and thrust us into a new community—a community that reflects the intended qualities of the people of God. It’s not simply about a far-off location, it’s about a new pattern of living together. (The photo below is from one of our True Beauty girls’ retreats.)


As we’ve been working through the Marsh Building project, it has become even clearer that God has blessed us with a special property—a home that, when we gather there together, reminds us of our true home, the one that Jesus went ahead to prepare for us. It is a property worth caring for. It is a place where we can continue to enter into new ways of living together as the people of God.


Last winter, we tried something new. For our youth winter weekend we stayed here in our church. It became our winter retreat center. Classrooms became cabins. High School guys camped out in the Wells fellowship hall. We merged with the Men’s Prayer Breakfast for one of the most amazing breakfasts I’ve had all year. It was awesome. We utilized the space God had given us in a really special way, and God moved in our lives!

In a season of life when family budgets are tight, it is a blessing to have a place where we can create a meaningful weekend experience that is financially accessible to all. I can see a freshly renovated Keith Jones Hall filled with brothers and sisters of all ages sitting down together at the breakfast table. I can hear the voices praising God together.


What an awesome opportunity we have. Our task is so much more than upkeep. We’re building a home together. We’re building a place of refuge where people of all ages can come and encounter our savior Jesus!

Todd Willard is Associate Pastor of Family Ministry.