News & Events

Disco Ball Dilemna

Downtown Appleton

If you see an abandoned building downtown and wonder what it could become with the right vision and passion, perhaps this will inspire you:

When I first walked into the old grocery store, which had turned into a Senior Center, which had closed its doors and sat empty for years, I was hoping for the first impression that would make me fall in love with this potential new home for our congregation.

Instead I got a disco ball.  And a few years of accumulated dust.  And a parking lot that had unofficially become the spot for local auto repairs (think 1996 Chevy Cavalier up on blocks and missing a wheel).  If non-verbals communicate anything, then anyone who saw my face knew that I was mentally swiping left on 820.

Thankfully, some leaders from our church with visionary minds were by my side.  Like the Property Brothers standing in front of a home with peeling paint but good bones, my friends could see the potential beauty once the dust was cleared and the disco ball taken down.

A year later, when the construction was over, I was converted.  Today, as I sit in the lobby of The CORE, the downtown campus of 922 Ministries, looking out at our community, I thank God for our new building, nestled in the middle of Appleton’s action, with trendy apartments across the street and a bus stop just outside the front doors, a reminder that we are here to bless those of every tax bracket.  As a man who loves the thought of serving others in Jesus’ name, the sight of so many people, all of them precious to God, inspires me and drives me each week as I come to work.

Next Sunday, I will stand in front of people who are searching for forgiveness, purpose, and a source of happiness that can’t be taken away by people or a pandemic.  As I close my eyes and bow my head, we will talk to God together.

Just feet from where the disco ball used to be.

Written by Mike Novotny, campus pastor at The CORE, proving that modern beauty truly can rise from the ashes of a downtown’s past.

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