Up and running.




It was the REFINERY Church — last Saturday morning  — and it was humming. The place was literally swarming with activity.

Walking through the site that morning, I realized that a vision had been realized. Ten years ago we set out to take an under-utilized and physically neglected church and turn it into Google. Google is a place where people can go and do what they need to do — find information, accomplish something, better their lives.

REFINERY Church —  the same. Ten years ago, when we began to cleanup, remodeled, up-date the church, we also decided to functionalize it. And as we improved the site, we also turned it into a platform for our community to come to and do good. We  gave the church away by allowing other non-profits with the same vision — a vision to empower people —  to come here and do their thing.

And now it hums.

Sometimes we now tease that everybody has keys to the church. Who are all these people in all these rooms?  We barely know! Over 20 non-profit groups now use the church. Over six hundred people per week pass thorough the site for some kind of benefit to their lives — recovery groups, mental health groups, foster care groups, family groups, study groups. We offer counseling. We give away food twice each week to hundreds of people. REFINERY is a venue for voting, parties, area school events, worship services and weddings.

Last Saturday reflected this state of affairs.In the sanctuary a band from one of our partnering churches was practicing for Sunday worship.

In the courtyard a team of young church families was digging out an area of sod to create a space for a new, larger play structure for children.

In the Gallery — a midsized meeting room —  a team from an partnering church was huddled around a table planning a holiday meal for homeless friends.

Another team from a partnering church readied the same room for an afternoon baby shower.

In one of the classrooms, Grossmont College was holding a class to train foster parents.

In the Counseling Center a Center For Enriching Relationship’s therapist (CER is a partnering nonprofit Christian counseling group) was meeting with a client.

In the basement a team was prepping to give out food from a fresh rescue program to families who are food challenged.

Out front, along E Street a team — led by the REFINERY gardener — a team of volunteers was trimming lantana and wiring up a new drip irrigation system.

That’s site empowerment, that’s healthy, that’s good, that’s the kind of good God wants for his church.

Good is when we open to teaming with other; good is when we give away what has been given to us; good is when we allow others to have the opportunity to do what they need to do to be empowered.

Good is God reaching out to our community though us.

  1. Violet Opdycke says:

    Very cool. You were exactly what the church needed. You’re gonna be missed.

  2. wendaya61 says:

    Wow, this post rocks, my brother! For your church to embrace sharing your building with all those ministries is wonderful. So often our human nature can cause us to be selfish, unwelcoming and controlling. Even within our churches. There is good stuff going on down in Chula! God is smiling.

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