Destination Becomes Trinity Church
Confluence January 17, 2019
Chicago has recently entered into what is considered a “typical” winter here, with all the frigid temps, snow, and ice that come along with it. While the time of year can be challenging for many, we’ve had many reasons to celebrate with our own season of change at Trinity Church. We’ve recently embraced both a new name and a new location, which are pretty big-ticket items!
Our previous name, Destination, has served us well for the past nine years, but we believe we’ve outgrown it. Over a two-year period, we talked and prayed about a new name that could help us better reach and relate to people in our context. Considering who we are, as well as Chicago’s religious influences, we strove for a name with a “new traditional” feel. We officially became Trinity Church at the end of October and hope the new name will project a sense of being established and rooted, as well as draw in more generations and walks of life.
We felt the timing was right for the name change, as we knew our Sunday service location was changing around the first of the year, as well. The difficulty was, we didn’t know where we were moving! In the summer of 2018, the principal of the elementary school we’d been meeting in for the past seven years informed us they wouldn’t be renewing our contract for 2019. We had to be completely out of the building by December 31, with no possibility for extension.
God used the dire circumstances to draw us into a tangible sense of faith and expectation, pretty much unlike anything we’ve experienced to date. Our prayer gatherings were full of bold prayers for new meeting spaces and great confidence God would give us a new home in the short timeframe we were given. And in typical fashion, he provided beyond our expectations.
Through a Trinity member who works in commercial real estate, we got a lead on an old church building for lease in the Edgewater neighborhood, only a few train stops north of our current location in Wrigleyville. The Bethany Lutheran Evangelical Church, which owned the building, had dwindled to only a few members and decided to sell. The location was ideally situated, right in the middle of a few neighborhoods where many of our church members currently live, and was even closer to the train than the elementary school.
Through the process, we also witnessed God’s authority over the governing bodies of our city. The new building owners wanted to flip the church into condos. However, the Edgewater Alderman denied their request and insisted the building remain a house of worship. The owners had no choice but to seek a religious tenant. Fortunately for us, Kyle, one of our elders, had gone to school with one of the new owners of the Bethany building. This not only helped us establish a good rapport with our future landlords, but also showed us God’s hand in the details.
After several months of negotiations, we officially signed a 10-year lease on the building with first rights to purchase, two weeks before the move-out date. Thankfully, during this time the building had undergone renovations, giving us an updated and modernized space just in time for our first service on January 6. Renovations are ongoing (including installation of AC!), but we have full use of the space and have had a successful few services to start the year.
But again, God exceeded our expectations. We didn’t merely get our own worship venue. The church building includes office, conference, kitchen, and multipurpose space – even an attached full-size gym, parsonage, and four-room schoolhouse! The latter currently houses the Chicago Friends (Quaker) School, which we believe fulfills a prophetic word given to us by Sam Poe. Speaking at a prophecy seminar he conducted with us several years ago, Sam gave a word about us having favor with a school at some point in the future. Since we had just started meeting in the elementary school at the time, we felt the word was for something else. As we’ve now established a good relationship with the Friends School and are sharing a few rooms with them, we believe Sam’s word is beginning to be fulfilled.
It’s been incredible to see God meet us in both the prophetic and providential realms of our church over this season. He brought us into great need and met us powerfully just when it looked like time was running out. Our new name and new location feel like a new wineskin that will allow us growth in numbers, discipleship, and influence in our city. And not only that, we now have the immense satisfaction of our own set of keys and enormous potential to expand our ministry and see God’s kingdom advance in Chicago.