Tokai Community Church celebrated the “official” opening of our new and renovated facilities by Bishop Des Inglesby on Saturday, 11 May 2013. The primary objectives in the whole building project was to increase the size of the main auditorium (by about a third to 400 seats); to improve our children’s ministry and administrative facilities; and to upgrade our facilities that were looking a bit frail. It saw the culmination of nearly nine years of collaboration and planning and nearly fifteen months of builders on site. The decision to upgrade, renovate and build was not taken lightly or quickly. In fact, it took several years and plenty of prayer before the final go ahead was given, and then only after starting an extra morning service and planting another church first. In the end, the motivation to extend was driven by three major factors:

• the residential density within our immediate area has so increased that nearly double the amount of people are now living in our community compared to when we started. Just to continue reaching our neighbours meant that we needed more seating and facilities;

• the church plant taught us that if we were going to make church planting a regular feature in our growth, it would be more sustainable if we had a bigger base from which to do that (hence, we want a “critical mass” so as to not negatively affect our ministries every time we plant in the future); and

• the desire to grow the support base to fund our partnerships into previously disadvantage communities. These have dramatically increased over the years, with still more needs to be filled, and we can only stretch the existing funds so far. but if we have more people, we have a bigger support base for these partnerships.

After a lengthy approval and design process; with half the funds in the bank; and pledges to service a bond for two years for the other half, the builders moved onto site in march 2012. They commenced work on the new Sunday school classes and offices as Stage 1. This was completed towards the end of 2012 and we moved in. In stage 2, we extended the auditorium into the existing Sunday school classes and offices. During Stage 2 we had to find temporary accommodation for our Sunday gatherings. So, we went “old style revival” and pitched a very large marquee on the church grounds. Sunday services were held in the tent (which had to endure the storms and winds of the cape Town winter) and Sunday school took place in a few renovated shipping containers brought onto site for that purpose.

The dynamic of Sunday services for that time was interesting, to say the least. In God’s goodness, however, we did not experience any significant drop in attendance at our services. If anything, our times together were marked by a warm excitement and anticipation that bound the church closer together. The children thought it particularly ‘cool’ that they did children’s bible club in a tent – some even used this as a draw card to invite their friends.

We really pulled together as one family and worked together in this goal of expanding our facilities so that more people can hear the good news of Jesus. The building changes have already given us a better visible presence within the community – many of our members have been asked by their neighbours what’s happening and are able to share both what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. In the first few months in the new facilities we have already seen an increase in attendance at our morning congregations… to the point that we’re already talking about the next church plant.

We are very grateful for God’s provision so that we could embark on this project and we pray that our new facilities will serve to help TCC know Christ better and to make Him more known in our community.

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