Grace Point Church – A Phoenix Risen from the Ashes
Father’s Day evening 2016, Grace Point Church, 9650 Huebner Road, caught on fire. A spark from one of the nearly 30-year-old air conditioning units ultimately consumed the worship center, adjoining offices and children’s area and rendered their contents unusable. The destruction produced a scene eerily similar to that experienced across Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey a year later.
Despite the destruction, the staff and congregation vowed, ”We Won’t Back Down,”’ and began a 15-month journey of rebuilding that culminated in the grand opening of the new worship center Sunday, Oct. 10.
Senior Pastor Jeff Harris and Executive Pastor Jamye Cappadonna share lessons of hope learned from Grace Point’s recovery and restoration.
Trust God with the big and little things
People are looking for hope in tragedy and a way to hold on when circumstances are bad and out of control, Harris said.
“You get to a place of numbness where you realize you cannot do one more thing in your own power and strength to move things along,” he added. “That’s where we have to trust God has a purpose for whatever he allows, and that he is enough.
“Without hope, I don’t know how you’d get through.”
Actively look for God’s blessings
“Space is nice; it is not a necessity,” Harris said, describing the office structure of the old building as a maze.
“We joked the building was held together by duct tape and baling wire. The new building includes an open concept office space to provide room for collaboration; new children’s rooms; and upgraded technology and sound systems.
Harris tells of God’s provision of a Christian contractor, Pat McGrath of Belfor Construction, who not only coordinated rebuilding, but partnered with the church in prayer. On Oct. 3, the company presented Grace Point Church with a personal donation of several thousands of dollars to help outfit the new facility, Harris said.
“They wanted to give back to our church because the restoration project had been such a blessing to them,” Harris said. “From our perspective, they are the blessing.”
Join with others in the body of Christ
Harris credits many in the community for their substantive, tangible help.
“We were overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from churches and other organizations that generously gave or loaned what we needed to continue our ministry,” he added.
Innumerable financial gifts, large and small, poured in from all over. With them came encouraging notes, prayers, and Bible verses to bolster their faith.
“It is very humbling when you see friends investing in your community. It reminds you it isn’t about individual local churches, it is about the body of Christ,” Harris said.
Grace Point recently used their experience to pay it forward, offering assistance to Grace Community Baptist Church of Fannett, a small community outside of Beaumont. More than a quarter of the community was affected by Hurricane Harvey, Cappadonna said, and Grace and Grace Point jumped in to help.
“They’d bring people evacuated from their homes to Grace. We’re feeding, housing, and helping them rebuild. The church still is housing people in their children’s building,” she said. A silver lining, the church’s reputation in the community has blossomed.
“People know if they need help, call Grace; they’ll help you,” she added. “That’s a great way for the church to be known.”
Cappadonna was able to encourage others with Grace Point’s story. “You just have trust that God’s got this. He’s working on our behalf in ways we can’t see,” she said.
“I love to tell the story of God’s goodness in all of this despite the headaches,” Harris echoed. “He’s whispered to us all along the way: He’s got this, and He’s good. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Words of hope despite devastation.
Contributions from the Body of Christ
The Grace Point staff, elders, and congregation are immensely grateful for every act of kindness and generosity that sustained us on the long road to rebuild. The following is an excerpt of a list published in Grace Point Church’s recent newsletter.
Concordia Lutheran Church allowed us office space on their campus, loaned and set up AV production equipment.
Oak Hills Church loaned 11 laptop computers.
Castle Hills Church helped navigate the reconstruction process, sharing from their own experience, and donated baby equipment.
Mission Church loaned a portable children’s classroom.
Providence Place offered the use of their gym.
Dance Elan Studio offered the use of meeting space.
Daily Bread Ministries provided storage space for our cleaned building contents.
Life Point Church hosted Global Leadership Summit team meetings.
The San Antonio Area Foundation gave an emergency grant for a portable office building.
A Church in Colorado donated 600 new chairs for our Worship Center.
Crossbridge Community Church, Cibolo Creek and First Baptist Boerne all offered tangible help.