Our Story of Gods Grace
What’s happening now at Church On The Lake is the culmination of an fifteen year adventure. You may know that before I became Pastor there had been a man who swindled the church and created huge financial liabilities which were rolled into the churches mortgage. The scandal was splattered on headlines across the state and devastated the name of the church in the community. When I came in as pastor there were only about 15 people left of a church that once ran in the hundreds. The treasurer told me that the church had 6 months of solvency left based on the financial trend. But God had another plan. He began to show us a vision of a church rising from the ashes. He showed us that shipwrecks can be turned into lighthouses and that Church On The Lakes best days were many to come.
Then He led me to take our greatest step of faith yet. He told me we were to completely forgive the swindler who had destroyed the churches name and finances and release him from all his restitution debt being payed through the legal system.
That was a huge decision but we knew God was telling us that this step of faith would be the door to a new era of financial and spiritual freedom at Church On The Lake.
The board and the church body obeyed the Lords direction and voted unanimously to forgive the debt. We notified the authorities of our decision and they confirmed it in writing. Then I sent all the relevant information to the man who had committed the crime. Some time later he wrote to me and in a tearful letter, he repented and asked forgiveness for all that he had done to hurt the church and it's name. He thanked us for our mercy. As I read his letter aloud to the entire congregation, tremendous healing and freedom began to set in and our past was finally being put behind us and a new day was beginning. We trusted God and saw growth and strength return. God healed the churches name in the sight of the community.
We began to pray and trust God to take care of our debt because we had obeyed him in releasing anothers. We followed the Lord’s direction and launched a campaign known as Erase the Debt. Within months we began to see financial growth and more and more people began to come to church and began to give to help erase the debt.
Then God showed us that we had a new vision to begin to pray about. Once we were financially free he wanted us to build facilities to reach out to the children and teens of our region. We knew that meant another huge step of faith. We felt we had to pay off the previous debt of $265,000 before we could move into the next chapter. Because of God touching the hearts of so many people to join our vision, we were able to burn our debt note on Independence Day 2012.
By that time we had also collected $150,000 towards the construction of the Generations Center for children. We have been in our New Kids Cove building 5 years and paid a $720,000 construction down to zero in January 2020.
With Gods continued faithfulness we will at some point begin plans for a new sanctuary, allowing our exploding teen ministry to inherit the existing church facility to continue to impact teens in the community.
We are truly amazed at how God has been faithful to equip us to fulfill His mission. We have seen so many people blessed by our story of freedom and victory through faith and forgiveness. We have also seen many peoples lives blessed financially and spiritually as they decided to join our vision and give generously towards Gods work at Church On The Lake.
I know that if the Lord so leads you to join us on this journey whether through giving or through praying and serving on our team, many blessings are waiting for you.
God Bless and I’ll see you at Church On The Lake.
Pastor Mark Deckard